Monday, November 5, 2012

A "post-truth" campaign was the Republicans only shot

Greg Sargent sums things up pretty well when he asks whether a post-truth candidate can be elected president.
Within 48 hours, we may find out whether it’s possible to get elected president after advancing a set of policy proposals that amount to a sham; after openly refusing to share basic governing intentions until after the election; after shifting positions relentlessly on virtually every issue the campaign has touched upon, including the one (health care) that once was seen as central to his case for national office; after refusing to share the most basic info about his own massive fortune and about the mega-bundlers that are fueling his enormous campaign expenditures; and after writing off nearly half the nation as freeloaders.
When that verdict comes in, I still say that we shouldn't blame Mitt. The only chance the Republicans had was to put up a lying, flip-flopping, post-truth candidate. As David Frum pointed out, what would have happened if he had told the truth?
YES I will cut taxes for the rich, YES I will cut Medicaid, YES I will reinvent Medicare as a voucher system, YES I will favor a human life amendment to ban abortion in all cases, YES I believe it's a major priority to reverse same-sex marriage, YES i was right to say let the auto industry go bankrupt, NO I don't believe in global warming, NO I don't think it's important we cover the uninsured, NO I think we have enough immigrants already, NO I won't withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, NO I don't think we should provide the existing level of food stamps and income support to the unemployed, etc. etc. etc.
Poor Mitt. He decided to take on the task of representing a party that has contempt for the very people they want to govern. What option did he have other than to lie?

2 comments:

  1. You're absolutely right about this. I look back on Kerry's campaign (however painful it is to remember 2004), and it was clear fairly soon after it that at some basic level his only choice at that time was to do what he did: say he'd do everything Bush was doing, only better. With all the fear and jingoism brought on from 9/11 and the wars, people were not, in general, ready to hear that the entire policy structure under Bush was wrong. That would take until 2006 and then 2008.

    If the alternative to the incumbent presents, in this case, himself as an improved version of the incumbent, there is very little incentive for someone to vote for him. That the Bush admin's incompetence was in fact beginning to become clear to large numbers of the electorate was why the election was fairly close.

    Mitt and the GOP, yes, had to lie in this campaign if they wanted to win. They could not run against the President's record, which was left-of-center in a way that is comfortable for most people, with the added foreign policy bonus of ending war and OBL. Nor did they want to make Kerry's mistake and present themselves as an improved version of the same, partially because their base wouldn't accept it and partially because it's a losing strategy anyway.

    I think the real strategy must have been a roll of the dice that the economy would not generally improve, that the European crises would drag the US down, if only slightly enough to convince a majority of voters that a change was needed. They rolled the dice and lost. So, lies is all they have, that and a disturbing willingness to keep people from voting.

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  2. I'm not an American citizen ... and what amazes me is that a person of such vacuous and evasive character could be the next leader of the most powerful nation on earth. How can this be? What kind of standards are *not* in place to ensure that someone who is actually *competent* and level-headed enough to govern is in the running for office?

    ... After I typed that question, I paused to get some coffee ... then I read this article by Charles Pierce, who writes for Esquire: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/election-day-2012-14483643 ... Seems someone else has been considering questions similar to mine ...

    Citizens polled around the world, but for two exceptions, overwhelmingly want Barack Obama to be reelected. He is one of the sanest presidents your country has ever had.

    About David Frum ... He's endorsed Romney.

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