Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Early-Morning Thoughts On Election Night ...

Thoughts on a few things, specifically.

I don't have to tell you that I'm overjoyed that President Obama won.

I know a lot of people don't share my glee.

But as I tweeted during the president's speech, "Truly, I can't imagine anyone listening to this speech — really listening to it — and insisting that our President is an evil man."

I wrote that sometime after I had written this: "In all seriousness, FOX News viewers, what you're feeling tonight is a result of FOX News lying to you for four years. Join us in reality."

I didn't watch FOX News tonight. I never watch FOX News. But my Twitter feed was abuzz with comments about what sounded like an epic meltdown by Karl Rove.

I wish – oh, how I wish – that with the president's re-election tonight, FOX News would have simply ceased to be, screens everywhere suddenly black, the clock run out on our nation's propaganda machine.

Yes, that's what it is. Roger Ailes worked for Richard Nixon. It is not a news organization, it is an agenda, plain and clear. Karl Rove ran the most prominent organization that fundraised to defeat Obama – now there's hundreds of millions of dollars wasted – while he was on FOX News as an analyst.

Fair and balanced?

Nope. Agenda.

And tonight, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell released a statement about Obama's decisive win.

It was, I wrote at the time, in a word, dickish.

Here's the meat of what he had to say:

“The American people did two things: they gave President Obama a second chance to fix the problems that even he admits he failed to solve during his first four years in office, and they preserved Republican control of the House of Representatives.

“The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president’s first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.

“Now it’s time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office.

“To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way.

Obama has been governing from the political center.

It was Mitch McConnell who said that it was his party's priority to ensure that Obama was a one-term president.

Not helping to heal the country in a time of crisis.

No, McConnell and the GOP leadership decided to lock arms and oppose everything the president tried to accomplish.

Despite their rigid opposition, the president accomplished a rather staggering amount of good for the country in his first four years.

And the GOP failed – decisively – in its intent to make Obama a one-term president. He has not been re-elected narrowly. Florida, as I write this, has yet to announce who won the state, but with most of the vote counted and with the outstanding vote from a very Democratic-leaning part of the state, Obama is expected to win Florida, too.

But as it stands, the Electoral College tally is Obama 303, Romney 206.

Florida's 29 electoral votes will likely go to Obama, so the final result will likely be Obama 332, Romney 206.

Obama's win over McCain in '08 was 365 to 173. So Romney fared better. But not by much.

And, when last I saw a tally, Obama was winning the popular vote by more than one million votes.

The people, clearly, have spoken.

I tweet rather prolifically most of the time.

Tonight was no exception. And then some.

One of my conservative friends, though, clearly had had enough.

He sent this to me: "your guy won, congratulations now let it go."

This was not the first time he decided to tell me what I should or should not write about on Twitter. I have told him in the past that he can unfollow me if I offend him.

"I'm celebrating this tonight," I replied and retweeted. "Unfollow me. That goes for others, too."

He wrote: "then celebrate your guy winning, not the other guy losing. There is a difference watch the president tonight he knows the diff"

To which I replied: "You need to stop telling me what I can and cannot do. Seriously, [redacted]. Unfollow me if you don't like it."

Remember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut? And a prostitute? And went on about it for three days?

He lost a lot of advertisers because of that. A lot of them have not come back.

Rush's followers were enraged. How dare we try to silence him, they demanded. He has First Amendment rights. He can say whatever he wants!

Never mind that most of the people who screech about the First Amendment don't seem to understand that the First Amendment is about having the right to speak out against our government without fear of reprisal.

What happened in Rush's case was the free market at work.

Rush was free to spew all the vitriol he pleased – he's still on the air, spewing away; the government hasn't shut him down – and companies – yes, with prodding from a lot of consumers – were free to decide to no longer advertise on his show.

Rush, you'll remember, when Obama was first elected, was very clear that he hoped that the president would fail.

Quite a patriot, that Rush.

But tonight, there was one of my conservative friends, rankled by my gloating, telling me to "let it go," telling me that I should watch the president tonight and take my cues from him.

Romney's concession speech was short and gracious.

The president's acceptance speech was longer but also kind. And rousing, but that's another point for another day.

And the president should have been gracious. He's the president. He should be presidential. And Romney is the head of the Republican party, so it behooves the president to try to maintain a good relationship with Romney, for the good of the country.

But I am not the president.

And here's what I have to say about my reaction to tonight's win:

If Romney had run an honorable campaign, I would have had an honorable reaction to his loss.

But he did not.

He ran the most despicable campaign I have ever witnessed. From January to November, he put forth a constant stream of lies. He aligned himself with Donald Trump, our national buffoon, and never once repudiated Donald's insane accusations and demands. And I'll be damned if I'm ever going to be OK with any asshole like Donald Trump questioning not only the legitimacy of the president's presidency but his very citizenship. Donald Trump is a laughingstock and Romney made him one of the campaign's biggest fundraisers and surrogates. Romney lied – brazenly, repeatedly, and unabashedly – about President Obama removing the work requirement from welfare reform. That is simply not true. But Mitt made it part of the centerpiece of his campaign. He lied about the auto industry to the faces of workers in the auto industry even as he was asking for their votes. The man has no shame. And all the while, FOX News did everything in its power to elect Romney after spending the past four years drilling into the heads of its viewers that Obama is evil, Obama is illegitimate as a president, Obama is bent on destroying the country, Obama is a Muslim, Obama is ... you name it. Romney refused to release any meaningful amount of tax returns even as we learned he was stashing his wealth offshore. He disdained 47 percent of the country. He held both sides of issues and sometimes a third. He stopped granting interviews. He stopped taking questions from his traveling press. He showed a breathtaking degree of contempt for the voters of this country and yet he expected that people would reward him with The White House?

No, Romney. No.

I knew in my heart of hearts that Obama would prevail tonight. I knew that the country I call home would care too much about its citizens to inflict upon itself such an enormous wound.

Our country is recovering from the crash of 2008, slowly but steadily. We are on the right path. We are on the path President Obama has charted for us. And we will continue on that path and add more jobs and insure more people and give those who live outside the gated community of the one percent a chance.

I do believe that our president will, once again, reach across the aisle and attempt to work with Republicans, those same Republicans who made it their number-one and articulated goal to do everything in their power to ensure that he fail.

But tonight, I was not about to be polite about any of it.

The Republican party has a lot of soul searching to do about how it will manage to continue to exist. Refusing every single idea and proposal, on principle, is not that way. Nor is incessant lying about and vilification of the man who is the leader of our country, the leader of us all.

The right may not like that Barack Obama is the President of the United States. That's fine. The right does not have to like it. I was no fan of Bush.

But it cannot continue to refuse to acknowledge even facts. Our country cannot continue to exist if one half of the country refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of what is real simply because it wants an alternate reality to be true.

And I will not allow anyone to tell me what I should or should not say.

Each of us has a voice. Tonight, those voices spoke. And the majority chose to move this country forward.

I hope the Republican party will find a way to come along.

Our country cannot afford four more years of its intransigence.

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