The votes have been counted. That was the easy part.
I have no illusions that the reelection of my preferred candidate, Barack Obama, solves anything. Boehner, Cantor and McConnell still present regular obstacles to compromise and progress. The European Union is sliding into recession and may drag the U.S. economy along for the ride. Immigration reform will be a 2nd term priority but the President will be negotiating with a group of elected opposition that think an electrified fence across the Mexican border solves everything with 10,000 volts. Almost half of those who chose to vote checked the box for the other guy (name withheld at the request of the Republican Party Historical Society). There is work to be done, and not everything will work.
Despite all these and other headwinds, I will bask in the glow of political affirmation for a few hours. It was a long campaign, particularly for someone like me who listened to every GOP primary debate and heard plenty of vitriol aimed at the President. I am buoyed by remembering that it is even harder on the loyal opposition now. I was right and they were wrong. My side won and their side lost. Not a very mature or bipartisan attitude, but for this day, it’s how I feel. I’ll reach across tomorrow.
I knew that I was being childish last night when immediately after the network called the race for Obama, I switched to Fox News to see their reaction. In that inner place that college educated liberals pretend does not exist, I felt the urge to watch the conservative pundits suffer for a few minutes. For one brief shining moment, I knew that the GOP News Network would have to report a factual historical event and that it would hurt them. So I watched. And I am ashamed to confess, I liked it.
I liked hearing their irrational rage because it could be universally understood as just that, irrational rage.
I liked hearing that Donald Trump tweeted "He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!" even though Obama actually won the popular vote.
I liked hearing that former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Victoria Jackson tweeted "I can't stop crying" multiple times and that "America died" last night. "Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up. You disgust me," she also tweeted.
This turned to pity when I read that Detroit Madman Ted Nugent tweeted "Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America." Nice grammar, Ted. Later, he added, "Goodluk America u just voted for economic & spiritual suicide. Soulless fools". Coincidentally, he is the early GOP frontrunner for 2016 nomination.
I like sharing how wrong the Right was on this night. Here is Politico’s summary of the right wing pundits who read the same polling data as everyone else, and yet allowed their own blinding biases to cloud their judgments when predicting last night’s outcome:
Newt Gingrich: “I believe the minimum result will be 53-47 Romney, over 300 electoral votes.” – Oct. 25, on Fox News.
Karl Rove: Romney 285, Obama 253. “If crowds at his recent stops in these states [NV, WI and PA] are any indication of his supporters’ enthusiasm, Mr. Romney will likely be able to claim victory in these states as well.” — Nov. 5, on his website.
Fox News contributor Dick Morris: Romney 325, Obama 213. “It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history. It will rekindle the whole question as to why the media played this race as a nailbiter where in fact I think Romney’s going to win by quite a bit.” — Nov. 4, on Fox News.
Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham: “I think he’s going to win New Hampshire, Wisconsin, and a few other surprises. I think this thing is going to be close.” — Oct. 31, on the Laura Ingraham Show.
Conservative columnist George Will: Romney 321, Obama 217. “The wild card in what I’ve projected is I’m projecting Minnesota to go for Romney.” — Nov. 4, on ABC’s “This Week.”
UnskewedPolls’ Dean Chambers: Romney 311, Obama 227. “Despite the pattern of skewed polls, most of them commissioned by the mainstream media, the overall electoral landscape is looking more and more favorable for Romney.” — Nov. 1, on examiner.com.
The Washington Examiner’s Michael Barone: “Bottom line: Romney 315, Obama 223. That sounds high for Romney. But he could drop Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and still win the election. Fundamentals.” — Nov. 2, writing in The Washington Examiner.
Fox News’s Sean Hannity: “I got this, Romney three points.” — Nov. 2, on Fox News.
CNBC’s Larry Kudlow: ”I am now predicting a 330 vote electoral vote landslide. Yes, that’s right — 330 electoral votes.” — Oct. 25, on CNBC.
Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer: “Romney, very close. But he’ll win the popular by I think about half a point, electoral college probably a very narrow margin.” — Nov. 2, on Fox News.
Rush Limbaugh: “All of my thinking says Romney big. All of my feeling is where my concern is. But my thoughts, my intellectual analysis of this — factoring everything I see plus the polling data — it’s not even close. Three hundred-plus electoral votes for Romney.” — Nov. 5, on his radio show.
The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan: “I think it’s Romney. … While everyone is looking at the polls and the storm, Romney’s slipping into the presidency. ”— Nov. 5, on her Wall Street Journal blog.
Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer: “My prediction: Romn 50.1%-49.5%. Romn w minimum 271 EVs (FL, VA, CO, WI, NH). 309 EVs if he takes OH&PA. Pres-elect Romney.” — Nov. 4, via Twitter.
If they were this wrong after reading all the tea leaves leading up to Election Day, how can we trust their analysis of anything in the political sphere?
I guess somewhere else deep down inside, I have this fantasy that now that the GOP has to face a fact that contradicts their entire view of the world, and it might perhaps cause them to reconsider other opinions that conflict with reality. Maybe now they’ll rethink global climate change and the causes. Maybe now they’ll rethink evolution and the chronological age of the planet. Maybe now they’ll rethink the myth that tax cuts are the best economic stimulant available to government. Maybe they’ll rethink the myth that old white guys know what’s best for women, more so than women do for themselves. Maybe.
OK, gloating over, because now it gets really hard. Fiscal cliff, taxes, immigration, Iran, health care implementation, national debt, Afghanistan…the list is long and formidable. Like Romney said, pray for the President and the country. Couldn’t hurt.