Sunday, November 23, 2008

Drop the sour grapes and do a reality check

In trying to explain why Republicans lost the election, John Ziegler, a regular on Fox’s Hannity and Colmes and an outspoken critic of Barack Obama, created a web site, How Obama Got Elected, that says the Democratic senator’s victory was made possible by the news media because it failed to inform voters of Obama’s shortcomings. A survey done by Zogby International and paid for by Zeigler was meant to bolster his argument and be used in his upcoming documentary called “Media Malpractice...How Obama Got Elected.”

Zogby, on a book tour when the contract was reached and the survey conducted, has said he would not have approved the poll in the form it took because the questions were skewed to reflect Zeigler’s prejudices and only Democrats were polled (no Republicans). Nor would Zogby have approved the press release posted on his Web site. “This was not Zogby International’s finest hour,” he said. “Something, somehow, fell through the cracks.”

The theory of conservative Republicans as to why they lost the election is blinded by their prejudices. Anyone can skew questions and twist data to prove their own theories. Republicans like John Ziegler are desperately looking for anyone or anything to blame except for their own failed policies or their sleazy campaign tactics.

The Ayers issue, Palin’s personal issues, McCain’s personal issues, and Obama’s steely political record in Illinois Democratic politics played a small part but were not the main reason why conservatives lost. This election centered on the fundamental direction the U.S. should be taking, both in domestic politics, and in the international arena. The voters voted for the Democratic Party concepts and against the tried, but failed, Republican policies, which McCain/Palin defended.

During the two previous elections the media signed on with Karl Rove and the mightily financed Swift Boater groups causing the Democrats to lose. This time around, the public was once again bombarded with right-wing Swiftboating against Obama. The Republican campaign spent its entirety trying to justify calling Obama a Socialist, Elitist, Celebrity, Terrorist, Muslim, Britney Spears and at one point tried to imply that the Illinois Senator was a danger to children. When McCain was called on some of these ads he cited Obama’s refusal to have more than three debates as justification for slander. The fact of the matter is that Republicans are accustomed to the tactics of Karl Rove being rewarded by success. The American people didn’t fall for the Swiftboating this time, so now they want to blame their loss on the media.

Republicans seem to not be able to honestly own up to the fact that the cultural issues took a back burner because issues of substance such health care, jobs, regulating the financial industry, and ending the Iraq war were more important to the voters. They are so accustomed to their character-assassination obscenities, such as “baby-killer” and “Marxist,” working that they are stunned it did not work this time.

If Ziegler really wants to help the GOP, he needs to abandon this nonsense and start dealing with the issues, the demographics of this lost election, and how the party must change and reform to meet the electability test for a majority of voters in the future. See, for example, the article on this theme by Republican columnist Kathleen Parker in the Washington Post:

“It isn't that culture doesn't matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party — and conservatism with it — eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs. Religious conservatives become defensive at any suggestion that they've had something to do with the GOP's erosion. And, though the recent Democratic sweep can be attributed in large part to a referendum on Bush and the failing economy, three long-term trends identified by Emory University's Alan Abramowitz have been devastating to the Republican Party: increasing racial diversity, declining marriage rates and changes in religious beliefs. Suffice it to say, the Republican Party is largely composed of white, married Christians. Anyone watching the two conventions last summer can't have missed the stark differences: One party was brimming with energy, youth, and diversity; the other felt like an annual Depends sales meeting. With the exception of Miss Alaska, of course.”

Republicans should drop the sour grapes and do a reality check.