Originally Posted by SDW2001
There will be plenty of time for analysis about the "why" of last night's election. Clearly, I was wrong...as were several pundits I have come to respect for their expertise. Say what you will, Karl Rove and Dick Morris know their jobs and have always delivered accurate results. But I'm sure we will discuss the reason for the outcome later.
What I don't understand is the "how." How is that we reelected a President who has failed in almost all measures of his job? How is that we reelected a former community organizer with a radical past? How is it that people voted against an experienced governor and business leader with a sterling personal background, and voted for the guy that ran a small, angry and divisive campaign? How is it that for the first time since FDR, we re-elected a President with more than 7.3% unemployment? How is it that the American people ignored Benghazi? How did we reelect the President when the top concern of voter was the economy and only 4 in 10 said we were on the right track with it? How were the final national polls off by at least 5%? How was the anecdotal evidence so wrong?
I honestly don't recognize the country that voted for this man. I don't recognize a country that voted for pessimism instead of optimism. I don't recognize a country that voted for More Free Crap™, trillion dollar deficits, and higher taxes. I don't recognize a country that voted for a man who went overseas and apologized for America...a man who was caught on an open mic essentially telling Vladimir Putin he'd give away the store on missile defense after his last election. I don't recognize a country that reelected a man who promised skyrocketing energy prices and bankrupt coal companies...and delivered on his promise. In the America I grew up in, this election wouldn't even have been close. We had better judgement. We demanded more of our leaders than "it could have been worse." We didn't hate business, the rich and oil companies. We didn't essentially take over auto companies and give them to the unions. We wouldn't tolerate a President who called his opponent a "bullshitter" and whose campaign all but called his opponent a murderer.
I don't know where this leaves us. I do know that unlike Michelle Obama, this is the first time I'm not proud of my country.
I'll start with the last first: So, you were proud of your country when it re-elected George W. Bush? Because I sure felt I had reason to hang my head in shame on that fateful day… and by the end of that second term, I knew it without question.
Which brings us to the rest...
How, you ask? Well first, you make a lot of statements that are delivered as if they are unquestionably and factually correct. When people called you on some of them, you asked "how is it not true?" by pointing out two things that on their own are indeed uncontested; Obama was a community organizer, and we have had trillion dollar deficits. Without your original context, those seem pretty innocuous, and incontestable. That isn't true for your entire post, however.
Even how those two things were 'framed' or 'spun', moved them into what I will call "disingenuous' or even 'false narrative' territory...
Community Organizing: how has that come to be demonized as a bad thing? Churches and their bake sales, clean-up drives (where communities turn out and clean the trash up from the streets and parks, etc.), the energy that brought us our Neighborhood Watch program, Girl Scout Cookies… all "community organizing" activities, of one form or another. Social programs too, food banks, soup kitchens… the list is long, and much good has come from it. Hooray for community organizers!!
But, you applied the term "radical" as context in your presentation of Obama's participation in community organizing. Threw it in there based on some distant narrative someone created back in the last campaign… spun it. What we're questioning isn't whether it's true that Obama was a community organizer, it's how you represent him as "a former community organizer with a radical past". And instantly, from those words alone, what the rest of us hear is not you, but the chatter of the Breitbarts and Limbaughs, and the daily spin machine of Fox 'news' being repeated yet again, here… because that is highly specific rhetoric that emanates from a very singular, and extremely biased source.
We can see that. Can you? What that (and pretty much the rest of your missive) says to us is, you depend on that very singular source for most of your information and perspective. You embrace narratives CREATED by the likes of Fox 'news', and drape them out here as a litany of reasons to ask "how is it possible"?
Well, my friend, most of what I read in your post was derived from, and is a pretty good summary of, an ongoing, well-maintained false narrative about this President, and it's one I doubt you are willing to part with even if presented you with enough solid evidence showing it to be mostly false…..
I will try, however. I'll do just a little bit of presenting, and see how you respond to it. If it seems you are even somewhat open-minded or the least bit objective, I'll happily present more. What I'm not going to do is enter into a long-winded, "partisanship driven" debate with you. I'm only presenting a perspective...
A few factual corrections to start with:
- "the first time since FDR, we re-elected a President with more than 7.3% unemployment"… Very few Presidents have been elected twice since FDR. Many have lost re-election with far lower unemployment than 7.3%. It isn't necessarily a direct correlation. You're wrong about the statistic too: Ronald Reagan was re-elected with a 7.5% unemployment rate, so even Republicans can ignore this particular measure in an election.
- "How were the final national polls off by at least 5%?" : Are you implying some kind of conspiracy at work? As for the final polls being 5% off, they weren't, actually. There were literally TWO outlier polls out of a dozen tracking polls that gave Romney any kind of serious lead. You mentioned both: Rasmussen and Gallup. First, Rasmussen is notoriously Republican leaning. Most aggregators adjust weightings from that poll by a couple of percent. Second, historically whenever Gallup results have moved into outlier territory as they did here, they have a poor record of accuracy. And lastly, any National polls giving Romney a 5% lead were not the final ones at all, but were at least a week out from election day. The FINAL polls from Rasmussen showed it either dead even, or at most 1% in Romney's favor. Gallup had pulled back to a tie. At that point however, it's foolish to depend more on national polling than on state polling, which give a far more accurate picture of what expectations should be.
- "a country that voted for More Free Crap™" : This is one of those false narratives that is heavily promoted by the aforementioned talking heads… first of all, it's a pretty insulting assertion that THIS is the reason anyone voted for Obama. I challenge you to present a single "Free Crap" item that people 'voted for'? And which of those that might be spun as "free crap" are actually not meaningful or worthy of us as a society, and instead are worthy of this campaign to divide us into two camps over? Are we saying, "food assistance" is part of that? We shouldn't assist people who fall into poverty for whatever reason (and believe me, most of those people really REALLY don't want to be there, and would love a way out of that hole), and just let them starve, or…? Are you aware that food assistance is just that, "assistance" and BARELY enough to subsist on…? I hear about this "More Free Crap" meme, but no one gives me enough specifics to embrace… it's a generalized concept with little context in real and tangible terms. Like, what is this "Free Crap" we are 'giving away' exactly? And why? And what will we save dollar-wise if we stop, and what harm comes of not helping where we can?
When I ask "How?" I ask how is it possible that anyone can honestly conclude that Obama was re-elected because "our country voted for More Free Crap".
- Trillion dollar deficits: Yep. It's true. Beginning with the one Obama was handed. Bush's last budget tripled the deficit to $1.2 trillion, and along with that, he handed over an economy in free fall, with unemployment skyrocketing (7.3%, and losing 850k jobs/month… it bottomed out 10 months later at 10%), a GDP running at MINUS 9% growth, and financial and housing sectors on the verge of meltdown. Most important to all this: due to the full-on recession and the Bush tax cuts, our tax revenues collected were down to only 14% of GDP (but the new budget was well over 20% of GDP).
That's a necessary start-point snapshot. Why? Because it speaks to the other narratives which imply or state directly that Obama is somehow responsible for creating these trillion dollar deficits and "has failed in almost all measures of his job."
I'll begin with a couple of chart-rich PDFs to refer you to, to establish a picture of our economic progress over the past four years:
I will not argue this point: We have a LOT of work left to do to recover from this mess. But to say this President has failed in all measures of his job (economy being one of those), when it is clear he presided over and has helped to turn around one of the most serious train wrecks of a crisis in our history, is simply ignoring the facts.
It is commonly accepted now that what we experienced in 2008 was a systemic crisis, not a 'simple recession'. That means we cannot expect a one-term recovery, and we can't even expect rapid recovery from this point. What we've gotten however, is actually better than we could have normally expected, and that's in part due to good stewardship. No President could have achieved more than ours did, given the circumstances.
The snapshot in late 2012 shows an economy moving on the path of recovery. A stock market that doubled its value during Obama's first term. All the fundamentals moving into positive territory. Challenges abound still, but ignoring this and calling him a failure is disingenuous at best. DIshonest at worst.
I also present this list, to counterbalance the "abject failure" meme:
Yes, those both lean toward praising this President, as opposed to leaning toward criticizing him, but it helps to see a fuller picture using both sides of the argument.
The last thing I'll touch on is this question: "How is it that the American people ignored Benghazi?"
The truth is, friend, most of us didn't ignore it… really, COULDN'T ignore Benghazi. Most of us arrived at a rational conclusion, based on the information at hand. We just didn't accept the conclusions or the cries of conspiracy emanating from "Fox 'news' and the same scandal-creating voices that advance all the other memes and narratives that are threaded throughout your post.
It's troubling that so many, for whatever reason, are so easily led down that path of division, fear and disillusionment. Following the cries of Scandal! and 'More Free Stuff"! And "half of us give and other half TAKE", constantly dividing, and forever conquering.
Well, I don't live on anyone else's dime. And I only want better for the poor and disenfranchised. As do most of them! It's a shame that the likes of Fox always dig up the worst exceptions and examples of our society (and yes, there are some of those, no doubt!), and then parade them around as the "norm", when it really isn't so… but it divides us further. SOmetimes, I think that's their entire agenda. To keep us divided and at odds with each other.
Anyway, I hope something here gives you pause, offers an alternative view. I'm not saying that I'm 100% right and you're 100% wrong… just showing what I know… all the best, and peace to you.