Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's not 1980 anymore

Many patriots are left asking, "How could this happen? Surely people remember the Jimmuh Cartur disasters? How could another liberal fool get elected twice?"

However, the sad truth is that the American electorate has changed. Some of this is merely a new generation, or maybe two, coming of age without memory of The wretchedly liberal late 1970's. As one comment I ran across on Yahoo! News put it: "Dude, I wasn't even *born* when Jimmy Carter was president...."
For months, conservatives have been likening the conditions of the 2012 presidential race to that which saw the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The American Spectator's own Jeffrey Lord proclaimed that President Obama could be beaten handily“because the past four years really have been Jimmy Carter's second term.”

Victor Davis Hanson of National Review Online put it this way: "What does 1980 tell us about 2012? Barack Obama, like Carter, can run neither on his dismal four-year stewardship of the economy nor on his collapsing Middle East policy."

Hanson went on to write: "The winner probably won't be decided by old video clips, gaffes, or even campaign money, but by turnout and the October debates --depending on whether incumbent Obama comes across as a petulant Carter and challenger Romney appears an upbeat Reagan. As in 1980, voters want a better president -- but they first have to be assured he's on the ballot."
This goes even more so for California. I remember joking on a chat board,, that the Jerry Brown for Governor campaign theme song should be "You're No Good" by Linda Rondstadt, and again, a good many younger readers did not understand what I was getting at.
Well, Obama did come across as petulant in the debates while Romney was upbeat. And yet it wasn't enough. At the end of the day, despite Obama's dismal economic record and an ineffectual Middle East policy, his well-oiled organization turned out his vote and Romney could not. Romney could not break through in key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan nor could he put Ohio and Florida back in the Republican column.

And yet Obama didn't win on turnout alone. He won because America has changed. We're not in 1980 anymore.
At the dawn of the '80s, a critical mass of the American population knew what life was like in the Great Depression and WWII, understood the evils of Soviet communism and did not take kindly to American diplomats being held hostage. But when we have an education establishment that is skeptical of the use of American power and weans high school students on Howard Zinn's communist A People's History of the United States, should it come as a surprise that many shrug when an American ambassador is murdered? Still, Romney had not one but two chances to expose the folly of the Obama Administration's insistence the attacks in Benghazi were a result of a YouTube video, not a terrorist attack and twice he failed to do so.

In 1980, Americans would not tolerate rising unemployment. In 2012, not only is high unemployment accepted as a fact of life but receiving food stamps is encouraged. There was also no concept of gay marriage in 1980. In 2012, Obama endorsed gay marriage (albeit sooner than he wanted to on account of the loose lips of Joe Biden). Nor was it conceivable in 1980 that a sitting Commander-in-Chief's re-election campaign could have put out a commercial featuring a woman likening support for the President to the loss of her virginity. Thirty-two years ago, being wealthy and successful was considered something to aspire to and be proud of. Today, it is a source of bitterness, envy, resentment and, in some quarters, the very epitome of evil.

In the final analysis, it must also be remembered that a significant segment of the electorate was emotionally vested in Barack Obama in a way it never was with Carter -- and I'm not just talking about the mainstream media. Obama received a near unanimous vote from African-Americans and a substantial majority of Hispanics as well as people under 30 (especially women). That doesn't necessarily mean we've entered the permanent Democratic majority which Ruy Teixeira and John Judis wrote of a decade ago. It is certainly possible that America could again elect a conservative Republican President. But conservatives must recognize that the American electorate has changed and that 1980 has come and gone, never to return.
Moreover, demographics have changed. And NO, Hispandering with an amnesty or phony "comprehensive immigration reform", or a "DREAM" (sic) Act, won't change the voting trends. People with a favorable view of big government will vote for the Democrats, even the full blown Commierats. Victor Davis Hanson proves:
As far as the grand bargain, the Dream Act, comprehensive immigration reform, or whatever the rubric of the day that a clueless Republican establishment employs: just imagine the opposite to learn the truth. If the Republicans were to agree to amnesty for, say, two million who were brought here as children and are in school or in the military, do you really think the “Latino community” in response would celebrate and then also agree to deport those who did not qualify? Or do you imagine the deal would at least result in deportation for those entirely on public assistance or with a criminal record? Did the Reagan-era Simpson-Mazzoli Act amnesty lead to 1) an end to calls for amnesty, 2) closing the border, 3) a surge in Latino support for Republicans, or 4) none of the above?

Does a conservative message of lower taxes, less government, and fewer regulations really appeal to Latinos en masse, who define La Familia values as something that includes a big and paternalistic government, along the Spanish/European model? 
So family values are defined somewhat differently from the Republican silk-stocking view that Latinos are natural Republicans — if only (fill in the blanks). Again, I would like the Democrats to introduce the Dream Act, and then watch whether closed borders, E-Verify, and deportation of criminals were part of the deal. That is not to say one should not talk in softer tones and be magnanimous; but one is fooling oneself if one believes a cheap Dream Act endorsement would mean anything.
The truth is that the present system of illegal immigration is quite logical and thrives because too many are invested in it, well aside from corporate employers. California is a permanently blue state. Latino leaders, many of whom can no longer speak Spanish, represent a vast underclass of illegal aliens whose numbers warp all statistics on Latino achievement and become a permanent argument for set-asides, more government help, higher taxes (think: who just voted for California’s higher taxes?), affirmative action, and changing demography. Why simply give that up, and join a party of the melting-pot, up-by-the bootstraps, self-reliant, shrink-the-government types? To go to Parlier or Orange Cove is to drive through a maze of federal/state clinics and government facilities, many eponymously named by those who secured the government funding for them. No, I am sorry: I don’t see a natural Hispanic constituency for what Mitt Romney was trying to offer.
VDH concludes that once again, the Demunist Commiecrats played their class warfare card and the Republicans did not effectively respond:
I also confess that stupid ads like Lena Dunham’s sex-equals-voting-for-Obama ad and stupider ones like the African-American garbage collector, who said Romney never talked to him at the curb, worked. 
I sense the same misinformation about the “wealthy” and the “job creators:” Just think the opposite and the truth emerges. Most in the top brackets voted for Obama; eight out of the ten wealthiest counties did at least. Many of the people I know in Silicon Valley, who this year passed on the signs and bumper stickers, nonetheless voted for Obama. The fact is that the Democratic Party, to generalize, is largely now the subsidized lower classes who pay no federal income tax and receive a growing array of federal largess coupled with, on the other end, a technocratic blue-state elite making over $200,000 annually. If taxes go up under Obama, at least theirs will, too. Another truth: the Republican Party is basically made up of a shrinking middle class and upper middle class, flanked on both ends by Democrats who, for various reasons, on one end, either do not appreciate their success or, on the other, hate them for their hoity-toity, un-PC tastes and culture. Yet how strange that the two ends of the Democratic coalition have so little to do with each other — a partnership based on cynical opportunism on both sides. All that is missing are the Roman tribunes, or perhaps the wealthy demagogi.

What Lost the Election?

Marco Rubio would not have won the Latino vote this year. A ticket of Condoleezza Rice and Herman Cain would not have won the black vote. Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley would not have won the Asian vote. Obama, in brilliant fashion, marketed himself as the above-the-fray great healer and our post-racial future, while his surrogates waged the most vicious race-, class-, and gender- divisive campaign in history. More likely, what lost the race for Romney — a decent and strong candidate — was instead the failure of the white working classes to turn out to vote en masse.

Why so? I was in Michigan, near the Ohio border, for all of September, and each night was stunned by the variations in the class warfare ads, mostly brilliant and effective in painting Romney as your kill-Detroit, wet-suited, jet-ski-setting, multi-home employer — a veritable John Kerry, John Edwards, or Ted Kennedy — and “us” as a disabled, homeless, starving, and out-of-work collective victim as a result. Millions, who did not prefer Obama, just stayed home and thought that they would pass on voting for the guy who had too much money and gave them their pink slips. In 2004 they saw Kerry as the wet-suited wind surfer; in 2012 it was Romney.

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