, Newburyport, MA


November 8, 2012

What enthusiasm gap?

Barack Obama’s historic re-election proved a number of things. First, that billionaire plutocrats and corporations can’t simply buy an election. Second, that government leadership in a crisis matters, and the image of the president working hand-in-hand with Chris Christie spoke volumes. Third, that voter suppression schemes failed because people were determined to vote, including those who stood in line for up to eight hours. Four, that women should not be trivialized and objectified or have their bodies controlled by others. In effect, they had — to paraphrase failed Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri —a way of shutting things down … that being the candidacy of Willard Romney and the GOP hopes of capturing control of the Senate. And finally, Americans rejected a return to the failed Bush solution of more tax cuts for the wealthy.

Republicans will look back at this election and wonder what went wrong. On paper, they thought they had the perfect candidate. Of course, that was part of the problem because the Obama campaign defined Willard M. Romney long before he had a chance to make his case before the American people. The irony is this was the strategy Republicans used to re-elect George W. Bush because they defined John Kerry.

Unlike 2004, this election was not particularly close. Spare me the popular vote was close argument. It’s irrelevant. Ask President Al Gore about it. We no more elect our presidents based on the popular vote than we award the winner of this weekend’s Patriots game to the team that gains more yards.

A few months ago, I wrote here that Paul Ryan would be like an anvil for Romney. It certainly help sink Romney’s chances in Florida and may have been a factor for older voters in the upper Midwest states of Wisconsin and Ohio.

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