Saturday, March 03, 2012

Republican "Strategery"

Grover Norquist recently made the following statement (paraphrased broadly): If we can hold on to the House and turn the Senate, all we need in the White House is a man who can work a ballpoint pen. In other words: Conservatives need not fear a Romney presidency. As long as Obama is out of the picture, game over.

Norquist's argument seems reasonable at first blush, but is typically disingenuous in true Republican fashion. Why? Because it is even better for Republicans if Obama wins a second term, while Republicans reconquer the Senate. Let me explain.

If Romney wins the White House and Republicans gain full control of Congress (and they keep their majority in the Supreme Court even if a Conservative on the court should retire or die), there will be no alibi for them. The failures of politics for middle-class and poor Americans will have a single father, for all to see: Conservatism. If on the other hand Obama retains the presidency for another four years, Republicans will presumably still be able to pass favorable legislation with the consent of a weakened White House, and they will also be able to blame their legislative failures on Obama's unwillingness to compromise (read: cave in to their wet dreams).

Either way you look at it, we're already screwed. Conservatives have already won the economic war. They can still fight the "morality" war, but the economic war is done. Warren Buffet has famously said it: There is a class war in the USA, and his class is winning.

Americans have given up on the reality-based world, where facts matter more than spin; they have come to accept Conservative platitudes, for example that high taxes are killing jobs, as are excessive environmental regulations. It doesn't matter that both are demonstrably false claims. No wealthy American pays anywhere the nominal tax rate. Take Mitt Romney, the would-be next President of the United States of Corporate America: The effective tax rate he paid on his income in recent years has been more or less 15%, not the 35& percent which he should have paid before all deductions and loopholes had been exploited to reduce his tax liability.

It seems to me that it makes much more sense for the Republican National Committee to pour money into electing as many Representatives and Senators as they can: It's cheaper than buying the White House and the return on investment is higher anyway. Much of the president's power is symbolic anyway; the real power rests with a few senators in small swing states. Also, rigging a state election is easier and carries less scrutiny than rigging a presidential election.

Republicans may run despicably (take their war against contraception, the latest example of their willingness to turn every non-issue into a war) but they don't run ineffectively. They are well-funded, better organized, and are more determined than Democrats. They represent the economic interests of a tiny percentage of the population, perhaps 2%, and yet they manage to get half of the votes, give and take a few millions, every four years. They fool us into believing that they don't have their act together by fielding a league of idiots, crooks, and liars for President in 2012, but they are masters of sleight of hand: While you are watching the hand that holds the nomination sideshow, with the other hand, the right hand, they are robbing us blind. In other words, they make strategy look like "strategery". But the joke's on us.

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