Phoning It In
As the campaign season enters its final phase, I’m struck by the curious languor of the Republican campaign; they’ve stopped advertising in Michigan and Pennsylvania, and Mitt spent his bounce-free post-convention week on a boat. Of course, this could be a case of children being too quiet, but it’s increasingly apparent that for whatever reason, Republicans don’t have their hearts in the presidential race.
It wasn’t always this way; feeling their oats in the wake of Citizens United, the defeated and discredited Republican party thought it had a new path to power, one unencumbered by pesky, fickle voters. Massive amounts of “dark money” rolled in from polluters, banksters, and war profiteers, and managed to tip many states, as well as the House, into Republican hands in 2010, the victors immediately set about enacting a national plan to finally bring Karl Rove’s “Permanent Republican Majority” into fruition.
It all seemed so simple: the new crop of Republican governors would quickly move to enact voter ID laws, bust the public employee unions, gerrymander Democrats into unfavorable districts, reward polluters and the wealthy, and inflict job-killing austerity. That, dovetailed with the congressional Republican strategy of destroying the economy for political gain, was supposed to make getting rid of Obama as easy as pie. But a funny thing happened on the way to a right-wing dictatorship; people got wind of it.
It’s hard to say when the trickle became a flood, but for Republicans who mock rising sea levels, these guys are in up to their eyebrows in a riptide of fail. In state after state, corrupt secretaries of state trying to disenfranchise voters are being handed their asses by the courts, golden boy governors like Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal have quite deservedly lost their luster and effectiveness, and the party has revealed itself to be a little more than a greasy skidmark of corruption and God-bothering in the non-magic underpants of America.
They really thought that they could mount a campaign based on the idea that Americans were too stupid to ask what, in fact, they planned to actually do, once they were restored to their rightful place of complete dominance of the political system. Flush with their secret cash, they thought America could simply be purchased, like a hooker (or, for the dainty, a car elevator). Turns out America’s, well, affections, can’t be bought so easily. The conscious and early decision not to disclose anything substantive about their programs to further enrich the already wealthy neatly aligned with The Romneys’ haughty refusals to disclose tax returns in the minds of the electorate; the “business” party would henceforth run as the “none of your business” party, and voters could like it or lump it.
For a while, it seemed to be working. The Jesus freaks were all in, thanks to a divisive and unpopular social agenda, and adding in the racists and gun nuts, the billionaires financing the whole shenanigan were able to keep the race close until Mitt Romney opened his mouth and a Swiss bank account fell out, and Paul Ryan opened his, and we all learned a little more about the delusional narcissism of the superannuated adolescent.
The weekend’s polls are finally beginning to show that Americans aren’t as dumb as Republicans hoped, as Obama opens a solid lead over his clearly bored and disengaged rival. If Obama were a true liberal, that would be cause for excitement. But it isn’t. It’s just an acknowledgment on the part of America’s oligarchy that things are pretty OK the way they are.