So there was an earlier version of this, but the fact of the matter is, it didn’t reflect my feelings for very long. I was pretty pleased the night of, and then I felt kind of grim and now. . . well, it’s hard to say. Things have been pretty strange, and it’s clear that nobody is taking either their victories or defeats in a way that’s going to change anybody’s overarching narrative. I know it probably seems to a lot of people as if that is a strange thing to be concerned with under the circumstances, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually the key issue.
One of the things this last week has been absolutely packed with is either hand-wringing or schadenfreude over the degree to which Romney was oversold to the news-consuming public, and to himself. All that disingenuous garbage he puked out as a concession had to be made up on the spot, as he hadn’t considered the risk of losing sufficient to think about it in advance. Of course, you’d expect a guy who says he likes to fire people to be more prepared for awkward situations, but I guess the problem is that he was suddenly on an even footing with the mass of his interlocutors, and that’s something spoiled sociopaths hate.
At any rate, yeah, people are saying that the celebratory tone of media coverage of Romney allowed people to ignore the obvious fact that plenty of people saw through him. In particular, it seems as if people are beginning to say that Fox News, and Figures like Limbaugh are bad for Republican politics. Their overcommitment on message and refusal to see when their attitudes alienate more of the public than it inspires will prevent Republicans from making gains in government unless there is more openness within the party, and less shouting and viciously-policed ideological consistency.
This is. . . kind of true, although how it’s going to play out in the immediate future is up in the air. If you pay attention to responses to the result, for example Paul Ryan’s, you can see pretty clearly that there will continue to be an effort to disenfranchise non-white voters. This has been a fast-paced issue this year, with a lot of back and forth, but if Democrats focus elsewhere, it’s easy to see how Republicans could gain ground by continuing to work at it. Racism is basically all they have left in terms of broad appeal.
But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter. Republicans only need a skeleton crew of elected officials to keep things moving to a point where rich people no longer have to contribute to the society from which they derive the most benefit of any class of people. All they have to do is control key aspects of the tone of discourse. Even the most ardent pessimist (me) knew that the 2010 “Tea Party” congressional brat-pack weren’t going to do much in terms of their promises, but even as self-aggrandizing figureheads they were effective at keeping us talking in the terms their backers wanted. People still think that cutting costs and eliminating “burdens” on “job creators” is the way towards prosperity rather than, you know, people in general having jobs so they can buy things and avoid relying on external assistance in order to not starve to death.
So maybe Fox, Rush and the like are bad for the Republican Party qua people who want to maintain the illusion of governance as they steel us back to feudalism, but really we’re headed in the direction those people want without their having to sully their hands with the government whose benefits to them they are too selfish to see, let alone acknowledge.