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."
I waited a bit to think about this post before responding. Feelings are obviously running high after the election, and there is understandably a lot of disappointment on the Republican side. My own political views are too centrist to be much offended by left- or right-wing governments, although for now the right fringe scares me more than the left. I don't know which outcome would have been better for the country long term, and we will probably never know, but while I have no doubt that the confusion that you write about is real, I'm surprised by the depth of it. It also seems to me to lack objectivity and to unreasonably pigeonhole half of the voting population as freeloaders, so, as someone who ended up voting Democrat even though I strongly suspect that a Romney administration would have benefitted me financially (at least short term), I thought I would suggest some counterpoints to your thinking.
How is that we reelected a President who has failed in almost all measures of his job?
Which measures (do you mean metrics?) are you referring to? He obviously did not achieve all that he or the rest of the country wanted, but, for example, if you consider the economy and employment, it is not at all clear that different policies would have been better. Lots of opinion and hypothesizing, and lots of disagreement. He did achieve other things though, and even if you don't like all of them, he was voted in on a platform to do them.
How is that we reelected a former community organizer with a radical past?
That's not remotely objective. Do you have something against community organizers? Radical how, exactly, and by whose standards?
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?
That seems like a false comparison. Even if one were to accept as accurate your description of Romney, to many observers it was he who ran the more 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?
Perhaps because that is only one factor, was regarded by many as being due to pressures beyond our control at this time, and was outweighed by other factors on this occasion? Individual statistics like that are largely meaningless.
How is it that the American people ignored Benghazi?
I'm not sure that they did ignore it. But I don't think that many people viewed it in the absolutely damning light that you and some others do. It was a tragic event, but I don't think most people saw the malfeasance that you are convinced lay behind it and its aftermath.
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?
Even accepting that as an accurate estimate, the question is imprecise, the answer open to interpretation, and even as the top concern it can be outweighed by many lower ranked concerns. For example, rising debt may well define our economy as being on the wrong track for some people, but does not necessarily imply that they blame the current administration for the effect.
How were the final national polls off by at least 5%?
They really were not off unless you bought into the flawed theories about skewed polls. All that noise about needing to correct for oversampling Democrats in a random poll was mathematically unsupportable. You can only correct samples for known distributions (such as age, gender and ethnicity), not for the unknown that you are trying to measure. Besides voting intention, the only true additional unknown was turnout, and the arguments that the Republicans were motivated while the Democrats were not was a strange assumption, and underestimated how scared many moderates now are of the Republican party's right-wing fringe.
How was the anecdotal evidence so wrong?
It was not wrong - it was anecdotal and open to just the selective interpretation that it received to support the prejudices of the commentators that you trust.
I don't recognize a country that voted for pessimism instead of optimism.
Your pessimism is other people's optimism. You must realize that Democratic supporters probably feel exactly the same way.
I don't recognize a country that voted for More Free Crap™, trillion dollar deficits, and higher taxes.
You are projecting your opinion that that is what they voted for. That's not what they think they voted for, and is a gross oversimplification of the choices facing the country.
I don't recognize a country that voted for a man who went overseas and apologized for America...
No - this is just partisan sophistry - you don't recognize a diplomatic initiative that was intended (whatever its outcome) to try to reduce the negative image of the US in many parts of the world and, consequentially, reduce the support base for terrorist organizations.
...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
While the open microphone was unfortunate, his comments to Medvedev that there would be more flexibility to deal with this issue after the election are not remotely telling anything of the sort to the Russians.
I don't recognize a country that reelected a man who promised skyrocketing energy prices and bankrupt coal companies...and delivered on his promise.
A convenient target, but energy prices are not really within the control of the US government, because domestic production is expensive. Coal has suffered somewhat due to environmental regulation, but also heavily due to competition from natural gas production.
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.
You have a short memory perhaps, and unrealistic expectations. We are in a time of economic damage limitation. Perhaps McCain could have done better, but where is the evidence. Perhaps Romney would do better, but he did not make the case well enough.
We didn't hate business, the rich and oil companies.
Now you are descending into silly political slogans. Do you really believe that stuff? On another thread Obama is being labelled as one of the rich.
We didn't essentially take over auto companies and give them to the unions.
Or save them from bankruptcy, which is the alternative view of what happened.
We wouldn't tolerate a President who called his opponent a "bullshitter" and whose campaign all but called his opponent a murderer.
Do you really believe that Romney's campaign was more honest or less aggressive than Obama's? I have to say that was not remotely my impression. Obama is widely regarded as a murderer by the right wing for his pro-choice stance, for example. You would tolerate a President who himself referred to half the population as moochers though? See how easy it is to twist things?
The bottom line is that there are perfectly reasonable and defensible opinions on both sides. There is also plenty of partisan bullshit on both sides, but it is a mistake to focus on that. It's also a mistake to assume that everyone who doesn't share your political views is either morally bankrupt or an idiot. I can assure you that is not the case.
Edited by muppetry - 11/8/12 at 8:12pm