Sweeter The Second Time Around

I consciously decided not to talk about the election this year because it is an exhausting and time consuming exercise. But I feel that I am going to burst if I don’t write something about President Obama’s sweet victory last night.

When Mitt Romney was still fumbling around in the month of September especially with the release of the damning video that captured him saying about not caring for the other 47%, and Obama was soundly beating him in the polls, I was actually worried about voter apathy. I was worried that Obama’s supporters would get complacent and not show up to vote. When Obama lost the first debate I somehow knew, we, the democrats needed it. We needed something to get fired up. Especially when during the first debate Mitt made it clear he was determined to win the election in the most deplorable way: pretend to be who he wasn’t; pretend to believe what he didn’t. A move that might have earned him a surge of supporters but lost a few of the more discerning ones. Even the paper from his adopted state endorsed Obama because of this in an opinion piece aptly titled “Too Many Mitts”.

While right wing pundits would largely credit Hurricane Sandy for Obama winning but it was the mega-watt smile Joe Biden (fondly called the “Laughing Warrior” by Obama last night) who stopped the bleeding when a lot of democrats were too absorbed in wringing their hands and whining over Obama’s lackluster performance during the first debate. Republicans like to poke fun at Biden, trying to pass him off as a bumbling old man (a description more suited to Clint Eastwood) especially after they bitterly witnessed Biden brush Ryan (and his lies) easily off like a fly. Then of course, Obama, wiser to Mitt’s shape-shifter trickery, owned his rival at the second and third debate. Right wingers who like to dismiss Obama’s brilliant mind as teleprompter dependent, didn’t have that excuse for their candidate losing the second and third debate, especially for the latter where he was supposed to skewer Obama on foreign policy.

I had promised myself to try really hard not to talk about politics on Facebook. I am aware that some of my friends are not democrats like me but I am truly befuddled by the vitriol, shallowness  and over-simplistic non-rationale of the statuses, links and photos that appear on my news feed. People will always bend the truth how they want to see it. I can be accused of the same thing. But here’s my question, who, as how this election went, was spot on in it’s prediction? Who had the better pulse of the country?

From time to time I do try to read intelligent conservative writers such as Michael Smerconish’s take down on the extremism of his own party “Obama: Substance Not Smears” If more Republicans are able to discuss their issues with civility as Smerconish and not the kind of hate rhetoric that comes out from the vile mouths of of Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity and their ilk, we would be a lot better off now rather than have wasted the last 4 years stonewalling in their efforts to fail a democrat president, much more a black one, in his first term. Just ask McConnell.

When Romney came out to give his concession speech, Tom and I couldn’t help but notice how he looked shellshocked as if he really wasn’t expecting or even entertaining the thought of getting defeated. I am surprised at how the Romney campaign could get it so wrong. Especially when Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Ohio was called very quickly. As my husband would say, that is the danger when you insulate yourself too much inside your party that you believe your own hype. Take for example this conservative blogger’s prediction of Obama Losing Despite The Help Of Hurricane Sandy. Please take note of the said author’s credentials, I would be interested how he would be able to explain this to his clients. It is not surprising if your source of information is Fox News too, especially after how they argued amongst themselves last night on how to call the election. I would like to be a fly on the wall when Karl Rove tries to spin this loss to his billionaire friends.

Now compare this to the precision that now demi-God Nate Silver predicted the election. Have you seen the movie Moneyball? Nate Silver was the inspiration for that genius character. It really all comes down to math (as Bill Clinton would like to say) and science. But then of course, we can’t really expect those in the extreme right who scoff at climate change, evolution etc. to be able to grasp of such logic.

The result of the election also has something to do that it was a contest between the Pro-Obama and Anti-Obama NOT Pro-Obama and Pro-Romney. There is a difference when you believe in the person you are putting into office. You invest in that person emotionally, financially and physically because that person inspires you. My husband and I were again campaign volunteers this year. Tom, aside from giving money (which would have bought me more than an iPad) to the campaign, he has also taken a couple of days off to spend it volunteering. As for me I did the unthinkable, phone-phobic me actually even did phonebanking for Obama. I read in our city’s online newspaper this morning that volunteers from our local Obama headquarters were partly responsible for the victory in Wisconsin and Iowa because our phonebanking recruited door to door volunteers for a few cities in those states.

So what did the Anti-Obamas do for their candidate aside typing childish rants on Facebook?

The volunteers were essential to the well-oiled Obama campaign machine. And the genius David Plouffe. And David Axelrod.

What the election also proved is that it can not be bought by billionaires. For now anyway. Hopefully never. It proved that volunteer callers were more effective than scary robocalls. For my state and the state of Indiana, it proved that negative ads don’t work – in the state level. The democrats ad of removing a tea kettle (to symbolize tea party) was more effective than his opponent’s fear mongering ad of the other’s “shady business”. Tammy Duckworth who was outspent 12-1 by the Joe Walsh’s SuperPac, won.

The senate race was particularly sweet for me when all those ignorant Republican senators who made offensive remarks about women’s bodies and rape were unceremoniously booted off.

Here’s the thing, the Republicans have to realize that there is a new face of america where women, immigrants and young voters are not the minorities anymore. They have to realize that it is the Tea Partiers who are the minority. And that they shouldn’t kowtow to constituents who are extreme in their views. You know, conspiracy theory, birther, racist types.

Who am I to complain when a Republican status quo would be doing my party a favor, right? But like most people in this country I dream of bi-partisanship from both parties. Really.

I never thought I would feel this passionately about Obama winning the election as I did 4 years ago. But surprisingly I was more passionate about it compared to before. Because now, it is not only voting him out of pure optimism but knowing what Obama is capable of. Despite all the efforts of the Republicans to sabotage him he accomplished a lot of the policies I believed in – healthcare, end of Iraq war, taking out of Bin Laden, equal pay for women, affordable college education, bettering the economy, saving the auto industry, bringing down unemployment. He exceeded my expectations – I never really thought he would be able to do much especially after near depression we were when his presidency started.

And please don’t talk to me about the deficit unless we can agree about ending the Bush tax cuts. And also don’t talk to me about the right of the unborn unless we can talk about children with leukemia having the right to healthcare.

Now that I got that off my system let me enjoy the rest of this wonderful, extra-special day.

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9 Responses to Sweeter The Second Time Around

  1. Ed says:

    As someone who is politically in the middle, I must say reading this has convinced me that you have been drinking the kool-aid. You are the type of person that the Democratic party relies on to keep the elections close. Of course, there are just as many on the other side who drink the Republican kool-aid too. But at the end of the day, I’m glad there are people out there like you and your counter parts on the other side because it keeps people passionate about the direction our country is heading.

    For me, I just couldn’t bring myself to vote for Obama this year and yes, mostly for the deficit. He single handedly increased our deficit by 60% in just four years what it took 43 other presidents 200 years to amass. But since I can’t think this without agreeing to end the Bush tax cuts, lets say for argument that I agree with ending them. We have reduced a $6 trillion deficit (assuming we don’t add to that in the next four years) by $28 billion. If I carried the decimal correctly, that will take care of about 0.5% of the national deficit (again assuming we don’t add to it in the next four years)! How exactly does that balance out?

    For me, I feel the deficit is becoming so large an issue that we simply can’t ignore it as our last three republican presidents and current democrat one have. (Notice I skipped Bill Clinton because at least he briefly balanced the budget) If we don’t deal with it today while we have a chance, we are going to be the next Greece except we will pull the world down with us. Once that happens, it won’t matter Democrat or Republican, we will all be toast.

  2. Ed says:

    I thought of this later when thinking about your comment of Biden swatting aside Ryan’s lies easily. A good independent website that points out the lies that both parties made, including Biden’s lies during the debate, is http://www.factcheck.org. I normally check it out the day after a debate which is why I now automatically assume that both parties are lying almost as much as they are telling the truth.

    Have you heard the joke? How can you tell if a politician is lying? Answer – If their lips are moving!

  3. geri says:

    Wow Ed, as you are a libertarian I wouldn’t exactly describe as someone who is in the middle and that you are not drinking your own brand of kool aid. I don’t see how austerity measures could have pulled us up from the recession, start growing back our economy and decrease unemployment. I still disagree with you extending the Bush era tax cuts, millionaires will never open businesses just for the sake of it (and not all millionaires/billionaires are businessmen). I believe in the necessity of the stimulus. We clearly have different views of tackling the deficit but as you know that is not the only problem this country faces.

    Often in my mind right now is a filipina/american salesperson at our grocery store. At one point she became a mini celebrity when her fairy tale story of being a recipient of a kidney from a donor who was her customer. Her story landed in the newspapers and tv for a few days. A few weeks ago I saw her again looking very depressed, unlike her usual bubbly self. She told me she that this chain store reduced her hours and took away her insurance. She now have to work 2 jobs to pay for her insurance and because of her condition she isn’t suppose to work that hard. But she has to and collapses several times a day in the process. Because she has to take expensive anti rejection medicine she needs that insurance. So she works. She’s a single mom. She has 2 daughters in college on scholarship. She’s probably only in her mid-40’s. I can’t imagine the many years ahead of her suffering.

    In your world where does she fit in Ed? She’s not exactly the lazy bum that we can dismiss and leave homeless in the street.

    As you know I come from a poor country. And as you probably have read in my blog my husband and I are very proud of our frugality, like you are. My first instinct would be for being fiscally conservative because it is parallel to my nature. If there wasn’t this recession 4 years ago that would probably be my view. But I can’t expect the leader of the country with its many complexities to run it as I would run my household. If you think I am drinking Kool Aid because I think that the economy is getting better, and because of that I am earning more money this year compared to 3 years ago, you are entitled to it. But this is my experience that is why I believe enough in Obama to put effort in putting him back.

    If truth be told I really would like to be in the middle too, as you think you are, but the divisiveness of both parties ideology now doesn’t afford us that luxury. It has to be one or the other – there is no middle. I really can’t see going the Republican way. You know what, coming from a catholic country, in a different time I really think I might have been, especially not now with the Tea Partiers.

    And I am not as naive you seem to suggest I am as to think Obama and Biden don’t bend the truth. Remember I come from the Philippines where politicians are a lot nastier than here in the US. But it just gave me the satisfaction for Biden to call out Ryan as Obama had failed to call out Romney in the first debate as well as Ryan’s outrageously obvious lies in the Republican convention. Yes, I am aware of that fact-checking website, thank you. Here is politifact on Romny’s claim of Obama doubling the deficit: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/oct/05/mitt-romney/mitt-romney-says-barack-obama-has-doubled-deficit/

    I also want to let you know the reason why I support the stimulus because of Paul Krugman, yes the enemy of Libertarian Estonia’s Prime Minister =) My husband is a regular reader of Krugman even way back and it was partly because of Krugman (and my husband’s judgment) that a few months before that Tom shifted his 401k 6 months before the 2008 crash and not lose a penny of it. So that explains our bias.

    Tom and I are glad to do our part in what we think is the best for our country beyond just paying our taxes. We feel these are times when we can’t just be mere spectators but be involved not just for the sake of our child and his future but for other people who need help. I may disagree with you on how to fix the deficit but I do agree that it is something that must be immediately addressed.

  4. Ed says:

    I consider myself a Constitutionalist and I am a member of that political party. But in more recent years, I have had a desire to participate in our state caucus events and in order to do so, you have to be registered as either a Democrat or a Republican. Based on which party I thought I could ‘help’ more with my views, I am a registered Republican though I have yet to vote for one.

    To clarify some things, I don’t think austerity measures will pull us from a recession and only stimulus spending such as what has been done can. But at what price? Because we chose to minimize our current recession with stimulus spending and thus increasing our national debt substantially, we are now on the road to a recession that will make the current one seem like a painful as being slapped with a feather when we have to go to austerity measures similar to what Greece has done. You and I may not feel the pain of that but our children have a good chance of that.

    Likewise, I have always felt that we need to raise taxes for the short term solution to curing our deficit but that it is not a viable long term solution. How do we raise taxes? The Democrats seem to want everyone to pay their ‘fair share’ which means that they want the wealthiest of the nation to pay for more than the 50% of all government income they currently pay for. Meanwhile almost half our nation pays not a cent to the federal government. I hardly consider this fair. I also think that it kills the one thing that made America great and that is the American Dream. If we continually tell people that the richer and more successful they get, they will have to give more and more of that to the government, they are going to go elsewhere. We will then be left with people wholly dependent on their government. There will be no desire to succeed if it doesn’t pay.

    On the flip side, we can’t just increase taxes for the 47% that Romney made so famous because the only thing that would do is increase that percentage. That is why I think the rich will have to bail out the country with increased taxes but that should only happen when we have our deficit house in order and there are safeguards in place to prevent that increased tax from being permanent.

    As for the lady who had a kidney transplant, I guess you are referring to the health care bill and my thoughts. There again I find that we are in a pickle. There are many parts of the health care bill that I like because they help those who are in need. But again, I ask at what cost? For certain, with more people insured, for longer periods of time and for more and more things, costs of health care will go up… dramatically. That means that we the consumer will be paying more and more for our health care insurance, something we are loathe to do. I can only see two long term solutions to this problem. One is that the government eventually takes over health insurance completely since nobody will be able to afford it and thus we take that final step towards becoming wholly dependent on our government for survival and the American Dream dies forever. The other long term solution is that we have to realize that there is no Right that says everyone must have the best coverage (a showing of my Constitutional side) and that there will always need to be inequalities in everything and thus the American Dream will thrive as people scramble to become rich and afford the things they desire. We all can’t be equal unless we give up our freedom.

    Back to the kidney recipient, the way she would be taken care of in a Constitutionalist society is that her friends, neighbors and local charities would take care of her needs so that she can recover until she can work again. However, because those friends, neighbors are being taxed and throttled down so much, they no longer give money as freely as they once did because now they are fighting for every cent they earn after taxes.

    I didn’t say you were drinking the kool aid because you believe the economy is better because I also believe the same thing. I said that only because you kept tossing out the usual liberal cliches in your blog post such as Mitt was pretending to be who he wasn’t and believe in what he didn’t and that he did so in a deplorable way. I on the other hand, who doesn’t feel like he is drinking one political parties kool-aid, feel that both Obama and Romney were being themselves and not pretending to be someone else. I feel that both sincerely believe in what they believe in. I think both candidate say deplorable things in their adds and make flat out lies during debates. I feel that anyone who believes that one candidate was completely innocent and only told the truth is drinking the koolaid. While I don’t think that is the way I want to go through my political life, I do think it is necessary to keep the passion in politics. It makes for an exciting process and keeps people going to the polls.

    As you mentioned, you don’t think there can be someone in the middle. I disagree. The elections have been ruled by those of us in the middle ground for my entire voting career. There are those drinking the koolaid on both sides and they aren’t changing their votes. The ones changing our votes are those of us in the middle and we are deciding who gets elected. We chose Clinton, we chose Bush and we have now chosen Obama for the second time. We are also the people who have just shown the Republican party they are out of touch with their ‘legitimate rape’ comments and their dismissal of anyone who isn’t a white male. Eventually they will bow to us and moderate their views until they can get someone elected. And then it will be the Democrat party to realize they are out of touch. I absolutely believe someone can be in the middle politically and those people are absolutely relevant in the political process.

    To sum up this long winded response, I’m glad that you have taken the time to write what you feel politically and allow someone like me to respond. Back perhaps before you were reading my blog, I was thrown off a very conservative blog and then stalked because my views were obviously those of a ‘liberal’. I have been labeled as being a ‘right winger’ on other blogs. I take those as a badge of honor for my middle of the road stances. Most of all, I am happy to find someone like you who can allow someone to disagree with a view and not feel that you have to shun them off your blog. If we all felt the same way politically (in public places), we wouldn’t be free and would probably be living in a country like China or Iran.

  5. geri says:

    Ed, your thoughtful response made some valid points. While I very strongly disagree with some of them I will have to stop there because I don’t want to spend a lot of time in in this blog – I am already having an election burnout as it is, I can imagine you are too. I honestly have to say that it is refreshing to know a Constitutionalist who sounds reasonable since the only people we seem to be hearing from all parties nowadays are those on the extreme end which doesn’t help promote good discussion and in the end doesn’t help the country at all. So thank you for sharing your side, I do appreciate it.

  6. Ed says:

    AMEN! I’m burnt out too and just ready to get on with it. Unfortunately living in Iowa, that means that the first presidential candidate for 2016 will be here in less than two years. I’m thinking I should go to Alaska then. I don’t think they get much political action up there.

  7. Loraine says:

    Hi Geri, What a good post. I wish I could be as eloquent as you. I also voted for Obama for the 2nd time but not as passionate as in 2008. I waited for the debates to finish before I sent in my absentee ballott. Romney lost me in the 1st debate despite his impressive performance becasue he said he will drop funding for PBS. I gave him a chance but I just cannot really vote for him. I believe he is smart and capable but not right for the country at this time.

    What I don’t want any political party to do is to cater to certain population because they would like to win the election. Yes, I am talking about the Latino population. I am afraid that they will kiss these people a–es to get the vote and support and abandoning other demograhics. Illegal immigration is a problem and needs to be addressed. I believe that the border needs to be secure but not with electric fence. I am pro work permits. However, I understand why other states have tough immigration law. I am not anti-immigration. I am an immigrant myself. Believe me my immigration path was not an easy path. I just want it to be fair to all.

    I believe that Romney lost because of his “47 percent” comment and his non-support to the auto industry. When he lost Wisconsin, I knew it’s over.

    I am not as optimistic as before, however. Next election, I am willing to vote for any candidate who will be the best for the country no matter what their political affiliation. I think that makes me an independent.

  8. geri says:

    Ed, I feel for you. You know political ads in our place didn’t really start not until only 2-3 months before the election and these were just local candidates. The presidential candidates we didn’t get them only probably 5 days before the election and it was only Romney’s! I think it was the first presidential political ad I’ve seen in the local channel (we don’t have cable) since 2004, I think. I only saw some of the presidential ads when we were holed up in a hotel in Wisconsin last October. So I have no really right to complain about them considering what you guys in Iowa have to go through for 2 years (I hesitate to laugh).

    Loraine, I agree with what you say. I think a majority of americans feel what you feel. Immigration is pretty much like the issue of abortion for me, as a mom, a catholic and having gone 2 miscarriages I don’t say I am a democrat and be 100% pro-choice at the same time. But issues like these are very complex which makes it irresponsible to pigeonhole them to either you are for it or not. While it is unimaginable for me to have a 3 month old fetus be aborted stories like these also makes you stop and think: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171285/justice-savita

    “The 31-year-old Indian dentist, who was seventeen weeks pregnant, went to the hospital with severe back pain. Within hours of being admitted, doctors told her she was miscarrying. The law in Ireland—which only allows for abortion if a woman’s life is in danger—prevented Savita from being able to end her pregnancy and her excruciating pain because there was still a fetal heartbeat present.”

    Wouldn’t it be great if our lawmakers can agree to laws that aren’t extreme to cater to their party’s ideology with regards to abortion, immigration, welfare, healthcare, taxes etc.?

    I am surprised when you said that the first debate made up your mind for you because for sure that got his tepid supporters more enthusiastic and recruited more voters for him. I think when he made that Big Bird comment he wanted to leave the audience with a memorable line but I think it backfired just like when they decided to let Clint Eastwood be the uncensored mystery speaker.

    I am also surprised that you were not as passionate in voting for Obama, but I imagine there are also many of his supporters who felt like you did. I almost felt the same way too until the last couple of months especially after the convention. Especially when a lot of Republicans in the forefront were saying extremely offensive stuff (Limbaugh, Trump, the “rape” senators etc) and their leaders were letting them get away with it because of fear they’d lose votes. So in a way I am glad that Romney had a momentum in October after the first debate because I really don’t think we would have a huge voter turnout if he didn’t.

    Here’s also another good article about the election written by David Brooks, a republican http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/09/opinion/brooks-the-party-of-work.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=1&. It resonates with me being an asian-american, I imagine you would find it interesting too.

    I am glad to have read your thoughts on the election. Thanks for sharing =)

  9. Loraine says:

    Thanks for sharing those articles. I love your cake….

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