The counterpoint to winger excuses for massive GOP loses this election has been a surprising, to me at least, self-control by Dems. I have read on winger blogs and heard on Fox carefully picked and over-expanded examples proving, absolutely, unequivocally, so-there proof, poof, proof, that Democrat are vindictive and vicious winners.
I honestly don't see and hear that. For every smirking Dem, there must be a dozen or more relieved ones. Most of us accepted that the slow economic recovery make seem swell in contrast to the larger world's, but still sucks for us. Plus state-level Republican gerrymandered districts gave terrific advantage to them. This was certainly the GOP's year to pluck the Presidency without even reaching.
Moreover, as recently as 2010 when Scott Brown took the special election for U.S. Senator from MA and again later in the year when Republicans took control of the U.S. House, the crowing and cackling were deafening. Spiking the football was far too mild a metaphor. I suspect with the Bush years in mind and emotion, they were like Bostonians used to championships and feeling entitled.
My own delusion was that a substantial number of Romney/Ryan supporters would play nice, mildly praise the winning side and say they'll make sure it doesn't happen next time. Very little of that has been evident.
A lucid example was over at the often doctrinaire redstate.com, there featured writer Erick Erickson was fair and smart. He admitted defeat without whining and delusional or paranoid self-lies. He specified what the GOP had to fix.
On a personal level, I thought perhaps Brown and Romney supporters might show a bit of grace and even good humor. Not yet. Even among school classmates on Facebook, those with the most extreme slurs against Barrack Obama and Elizabeth Warren have simply ignored the election. Their feeds have regressed to light news and noise, none of it political.
Sure it would be satisfying if wingers showed some social skills and even went the personal responsibility route. Their party likes to claim they are for personal responsibility and accountability after all — but apparently only if those inconvenience or embarrass Dems.
I've given up looking for hints of conciliation. That may only come when GOP Congressional leaders show it is acceptable to do some things for the good of the nation. That's bound to happen, but why do they make it so hard and so temporally distant?
Instead, unlike the Gingrich/Koch/Rove types that want and foresaw a regime of Republican dominance crushing all opponents, Dems in the main would like a working two-party system. They say as much and do more than their part to act on it. When Republicans claim that bipartisanship can mean only do exactly what they want, they make a zero-sum game.
For that two-party thingummy to work, Republicans have to have a big rethink again. Everyone's numbers show they have alienated women, that majority of voters, in large numbers. Quite justifiably, Latinos, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and other groups don't trust Republicans. They still hold sway among older, white men, the party's dwindling party.
What could be plainer than:
- Admitting Dems' policies and positions worked better even in what should have been a gimme election for the GOP
- Considering all the groups where Romney, Brown, Akins and so many other lost, and mapping those races to Republican policies and positions
- Rethinking what they really want — self-righteousness or political power
There is still a big GOP subset, led by the House Tea Party folk, who say and seem to believe that they can sway a majority of Americans by being more extreme, more xenophobic, more government intrusive into personal decisions, more restrictive in voting rights and on and on. Those folk don't have any extra brain cells to rub together to keep their skulls warm in the winter.
Here's hoping Mitch McConnell and John Boehner do enough deal cutting and cooperation in the lame-duck Congress and early into 2013. Beyond being better immediately for us all, that would provide license for GOP voters to come to terms with the election results and for the GOP itself to accept that they have to alter strategy and platform to ascend to power again.
I can guarantee that Obama would be happy to share credit or let GOP leaders take credit. When they try at all, he has. He prefers to think of his role as enabling reasonable people to act together. There's another lesson Republican leaders get for free.
I can't say that I'm eager for the next Republican President, but like most lefties, I like a vibrant political discussion leading to laws we can all live with and benefit from. And like most lefties, I like a good election battle that brings lots of voters to the polls to have their say. Smearing the ovals and other voter tricks gives us ownership of the results.