Barack Obama: Winner of the 2012 Presidential Election, 232 To 206 Electoral Votes Including Florida. A New Beginning?
Filed under: Barack Obama, Obama A New Beginning?, Winner of the 2012 Presidential Election
Barack Obama won a grueling election where money spent was no object and on the Republican side truth was not an obstacle, (witness the late term untrue Jeep commercial where it was alleged Jeep was shipping Ohio jobs to China).
Neither Race in the case of Obama or Religion in the case of Romney was an overt factor in the race. However what voters held silently in their hearts and psyches we will probably never know.
This Election Really Started In 2010 When The Republicans Took Control Of The House Of Representatives.
Many of the new Republican members were Tea Party members sworn to reduce government, taxation and spending. The nominally moderate Speaker Boehner bowed to their wishes and the Republican strategy of making Obama a one term president emerged. The plan was to demonstrate to the country and the voters that Obama was a President they could not and would not work with. This ended in a legislative lockdown where essentially neither side could pass legislation. The Democrats still controlled the Senate when Mitch McConnell, Republican minority leader, was careless enough to say “my job is to see that Barack Obama is a one term President.” This meant good bye to compromises, the oil that lubricates the legislative machinery.
Obama went to the people to build public opinion for his positions but it did little to change Republican thinking in Congress whose thinking mainly was controlled by Grover Norquist and the conservative groups that backed him. If a Republican did not sign his no new tax pledge or went back on it he could expect his next primary opponents to be well funded and managed by Norquist’s strategists. It usually meant political death. So we have the absurd spectacle of a non elected political boss controlling a huge block of legislators in the House and the Senate and presiding over a stalemate.
The next event in the election process was the Republican Primaries for the nomination to run for president. A motley crew emerged most of who were vying for the title of a true red conservative that would not waiver under pressure if elected.
Mitt Romney who had been a moderate governor of Massachusetts, a relatively liberal state, tacked far to the right in order to win the nomination from the demagogues that would say anything to capture a vote. Thus he had to become a demagogue himself.
During this time the Obama campaign team decided that Romney was the most likely to win the nomination and began attacking him as a ruthless hedge fund manager who bankrupted companies and sent jobs overseas. Romney was unable to counter these attacks because of campaign spending laws which held his money in check until he was the party’s nominee.
After a contentions and back biting round of state primary elections Romney emerged the winner but only after moving far to the right of the moderate and independent voters who would decide the general election.
The Convention showed the Republicans to be severely divided internally and their policies of polarity on economic as well as social issues with the Democrats was still deep and non negotiable as they were in the Senate and the House. So the Republican Convention while showing unity behind the candidate alienated women and Hispanic voters; two demographics they needed to win the general election.
The Democratic Convention extolled the virtues of Obama and his egalitarian, inclusive vision for all Americans, rich, middleclass, poor, female, Hispanic and others.
In the first debate Romney threw a curve ball at Obama by moving towards the center. He was animated, loud, rude and often refusing to abide by the debate rules despite the protests of the esteemed moderator, Jim Lehrer. He made a mockery of the debate but it worked because it won him a bump in the polls. During this debate Obama held back and was passive. Perhaps he was fatigued by the change in altitude from Nevada to Colorado or he was letting Romney dig a hole for himself as there were still two debates to come and a vice Presidential debate also.
Romney’s chosen Vice Presidential candidate was a far right Congressman who expounded the conservative mantra during the campaign while Romney talked moderation and had a preposterous plan for cutting taxes by reducing the deficit and increasing defense spending all while creating 12 million jobs. President Obama concluded that this would increase the deficit by 7-8 trillion dollars over ten years. Romney refused to give details on how he would do this just has he had refused to release his tax returns except for two recent years.
A telling sub-rosa video emerged showing Romney speaking to a closed event for big donors in Florida. Romney said that 47% of Americans were dependent on the government in some way and saw themselves as victims and would never vote for him anyway. Pundits analyzed this 47% to include retired people on social security, veterans who had served in the military and fought in the wars that neither he nor his sons participated in and in general was a slap in the face of many loyal and hard working Americans. Romney never was able to fully explain away the negative remarks on the video.
The final debates were uneventful and the candidates made their points and counter points. Each side claimed to be the winner and the pundits appeared to be split. In the second debate, however, Romney tried to show Obama and his administration was slow to realize that the Benghazi attack was not a reaction to a Muslim hate film produced by a Coptic Christian living in the United States but was in fact an Al Qaida faction terrorist attack. Obama said he had declared it was a terrorist attack on the day after in a press conference in the Rose Garden. Romney tried to question him on this (a procedure against the rules). Romney tried to go on but moderator Candy Crowley corrected Romney saying the President did say it was a terrorist attack on the day after the event. Romney took the next question from the audience with his tail between his legs.
Thus the election went to the polls with the pollsters making calculations about the vote that were all over the place.
However Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast in the last week before the election and the Obama Adminstration’s smooth handling of the disaster and praise for the response by two prominent Republicans, Chis Christie, Governor of New Jersey and Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of New York, helped to put the last nails in Romney’s coffin.
In the end Obama won by 332 electoral votes to Romney’s 206. The popular vote was 61,173,739 or 50.5% to for Obama and 58,167,260 or 48.0%. for Romney. These figures include Florida which finalized its tally on Friday after the election. Thus it was a decisive victory for Obama and the Democrats who not only retained the Presidency but picked up a decisive majority in the Senate, 53 seats to 45 Republican with two independent seats. In the House the Republicans retained control 233 to 195.
Thus the politics of polarity is likely to continue at least to 2014. This situation abides while the country watches how the government will deal with the debt, the budget shortfall, social security, Medicare now subsumed into Affordable Health Care and defense along with many other problems including jobs, education, same sex marriage, the European debt crisis, the Arab Spring, foreign affairs in general and most desperatly the looming mence of the conditions like Sandy created by climate change. If not checked the Planet may not support the life we have taken for granted.
It appears Obama will have a small mandate and the Republican leadership is talking compromise but mostly a one sided one in their favor.