Silly season is finally over, and the lead clown is back inside the Big Top for four more years.
Excuse me while I spit the "bitter" out of my mouth.
In all sincerity, it sucks to lose. And I didn't even work on a campaign this year. As empty as my gut felt during the final, futile returns on Nov. 6, 2012, I found myself wondering what it must feel like for people who actively work on a campaign - who live and breathe these things for six, eight, 12 months or more - only to come up short. No matter what party they call home, I tip my hat to them. They cared enough to put themselves out there, and that's a step beyond what I did.
Having said that, I was shocked not that President Obama will remain President Obama but that he earned that repeat so handily. At this time, he led Mitt Romney 303-206 in electoral votes, with Florida still too close to call.
In a season when Obama's highlights became his lowlights and his lowlights still weren't enough to move people beyond him, many of us were left scratching our heads:
'You didn't build that ...' (link)
On July 13, 2012, in Roanoke, Va., Obama gave a speech in which he detailed why business owners should not take full credit for the success of their enterprises. "You didn't get their on your own," he said. He stated that a teacher or someone along the line gave that person some help; that they moved their goods on roads and railways built by others.
What Obama neglected was that those same business owners may have sat in an overcrowded classroom with 20-30 other students. And they shared the roadways with hundreds - likely thousands - of other motorists every day. Yet THEY were the ones who took the initiative to double-mortgage their homes, to cash in their savings and retirement funds, to lie awake at night staring at the ceiling wondering if they really can realize their dream ... or if they've just made a gargantuan mistake.
Because the auto industry might earn itself the mulligan of a bailout; the small-business owner won't.
The contempt that emanated from that comment was breathtaking, and disheartening. To hear the president of the United States nut-kick everyone who's ever founded a business in this country, rather than celebrate their ingenuity, their creativity and opportunism, and quite simply their guts, was disgraceful.
If he wanted to make a case for Small Business Administration loans, he could have. But he didn't. He instead revealed himself to be contemptuous of those who've lived the "bootstraps" mantra so often espoused by the right.
Now we know why that only came from one side of the aisle.
On Sept. 11, 2012, the American embassy in Banghazi, Libya, was attacked. Four Americans died, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. For about two weeks afterward, Obama advanced the idea that the attacks resulted from a protest about a YouTube movie produced in America that insulted Islam.
He tried to rewrite his own history in his second debate with Romney, on Oct. 16, when he insisted that he indeed referred to Benghazi as a "terrorist attack." Moderator Candy Crowley of CNN supported him on this (which is unfathomable for a moderator to inject him/herself into a debate in such a manner, though to be fair, she did backpedal almost immediately).
The truth is, he lumped the Benghazi attack in with other attacks and ambiguously referenced "terror attacks." It gave him enough wiggle room to be able to say he did not in fact call THAT attack one of "terrorism."
Why he would go to such extraordinary lengths to mask over an organized terror attack is beyond me. Right-wing radio asserted it was because he didn't want it to disrupt his narrative of having vanquished terrorism by ordering the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 2011. That seems too simple for me. I don't think any reasonable person could assume that the willing mindset of terrorism could disappear forever.
In late October, the CIA leaked e-mails that indicated the White House knew within hours of the attack that it was organized. The CIA also indicated that numerous pleas by Stevens and the consulate for more security were ignored.
On the night of the attack, who did we send in; Marines? SEALs? Rangers? Nope; an UNARMED drone. ... Hope they got some nice pictures.
Obama promised us that his Keynesian (as opposed to Kenyan ... ZING!) "stimulus" bill would help bring the unemployment rate below 8%. Oh, it cracked 8% all right; checking in at a robust 7.8% for September.
Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch even questioned the numbers, as some of the vital internals did not measure up to a decline of ANY kind. And in fact, the number of "real" unemployed - those who are unemployed but no longer reporting for purposes of Unemployment Insurance because they've simply given up looking for work - held steady at more than 14%.
Unemployment among African-Americans was in the teens as well; for women, it was a little above the national average for all women and more than 12% among younger women. (WHO's waging the so-called "War on Women"?)
The Obama administration mandated that religious employers provide contraception for their female employees regardless if it was consistent with that institution's religious beliefs. Catholics, who have long opposed birth control, understandably balked.
But Sandra Fluke went before a Congressional committee to testify about female friends of hers who needed The Pill for medical purposes.
So now what was a Catholic institution to do? Providing The Pill for menstrual regulation likely wouldn't violate any church tenets, but how would they know that it wasn't being used for contraception? Less sinful to simply not provide it at all, one would assume.
Obama demonstrated a brazen disregard for the First Amendment rights of a religious institution to adhere to its beliefs. Not to mention that The Pill is quite inexpensive and wouldn't have to propose a challenge at all if a woman wanted to visit her local Walgreen's.
... I don't even know where to start with this imminently insolvent boondoggle.
This thing was invidious from the outset, and I question whether it's actually rooted in "good" intentions. It mandates that employers of 50 or more provide health insurance for their employees; if Obamacare was NOT intended to eliminate private insurance, then the penalty for failure to provide a plan for employees would not be LESS than the cost of providing health care for employees, it would be MORE (thus providing an incentive to keep/move people into the private sector).
Plus, Obamacare does NOTHING to achieve its purported goal of reducing healthcare costs. In fact, it will raise them. Consider:
The simplest of economic principles is the Law of Supply and Demand. Draw an X on an X-Y graph and label one "Supply" and the other "Demand." As you slide either line one way or the other, the point at which they intersect is the price.
So if you add 30 million people to the "demand" pool of people seeking health care, and you add nothing to the "supply" pool (meaning you don't add a proportional number of doctors), guess what's going to happen to prices.
And if anything, numbers of doctors may decline. A unique circumstance called Medical Morale is a serious issue in the medical industry, where about 60% of physicians can expect to be sued at some point in their careers. (!?) Find me another industry where practitioners can expect that, and I'll show you an exodus of people to a safer line of work.
I probably could go on; these were just issues off the top of my head.
Nonetheless, about 60 million Americans spoke at the ballot box and said they thought he needed four more years. He earned 9 million fewer votes than in 2008, and interestingly, Romney garnered about 2 million fewer than did John McCain in 2008. I'd be lying if I said that such a robust turnout for the other guy isn't going to make me re-evaluate my positions on issues, or at the very least the quality of case I make for or against them. As Michael Jordan once said in a classic Nike ad, "I have failed over and over and over again in my life ... and that is why I succeed."
I won't pretend to know why we lost this election, and it'll be a while before I understand how a state that decisively re-elected Gov. Scott Walker in a recall on June 5, 2012, could turn around and vote not only for Obama but also for a liberal lesbian in Tammy Baldwin just five months later.
There are lessons to be learned from this loss, and we have two years to study up as mid-terms loom. While that may seem a safe distance into the future, and we may all be electioned out (especially in Wisconsin), there's no time to waste ... there's a state Supreme Court election in spring 2013!