Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Our long national nightmare... more likely a bit of bad Brie from last night's cheese and wine party.

Hopefully, this blog can see some more posts.

I keep seeing analysis of the election results, and a few of them rub me the wrong way.  I have seen more than one site and heard more than one person explain that this election was a complete repudiation of conservatism and conservative principles.  I couldn't disagree more - at least with respect to fiscal concerns.

One friend posted - "the stupidity of the American electorate cannot be underestimated."  Knowing this old friend as I do, I am sure he would explain that the fiscal restraint of the Republican party should appeal to everyone.  While he and I would disagree on trickle-down economics,  (In years where I made a lot more, my extra money was no more likely to go to people who needed it), I would agree that the idea of fiscal restraint probably appeals to most Americans. 

It's just that the Republicans always seemed to say - everyone is going to have it better - but let's be clear some people are more equal than others. 

The demographics issues are pretty clear.  White males, especially those who already have incomes over $100,000, believe that without any fetters from the Federal government, they can do better.  It's probably true.  About the last thing holding them back is taxes.  The very religious and evangelicals, who we can set aside from the financial issues, also voted for Romney in large numbers for understandable reasons.  They believe more than money is at stake in this and every election. 

On the other side we have African-Americans.  Sure, the conservatives say that with responsible fiscal policies that African-Americans, like all Americans will benefit.  Unfortunately, some (not named Mitt Romney) have advocated for the end of affirmative action, and even the repeal of the Civil Rights Act.  With a third of African-American men going through the penal system, double the rates of unemployment of white Americans and the Republican penchant for using coded "welfare" language to refer to blacks when some nut is not claiming the White House should be called the Black House, is it any wonder that African-Americans think that some kind of institutionalized racism is at play?  And that institutionalized racism will trump the benefits of any fiscally sound policy adopted by the Republican party?  Without affirmative action or the Civil Rights Act, if the situation gets worse for African-Americans, what would they say? 

Latinos are perhaps a harder case.  Like some African-Americans, many are very socially conservative.  And again, a sounder economy would only help everyone.  But the achilles' heel here seems to be the immigration issues.  It can be tempting to think Hispanics are monolithic or think that Mexicans want other Mexicans to be able to come here - but it is pretty clear that their voices on this issue are mixed.  Many conservative Latinos are clearly opposed to illegal immigration, especially because its illegal and especially when it threatens their livelihood.  But the Republicans who are arguing for self-deportation (here I'm looking at you Mitt) in conjunction with their ilk who are happy to help that process by profiling and jailing US-citizen-Hispanics without papers, clearly show that the writing is on the wall as to the real issue. 

Mitt's only comment about the very poor that received any focus was "I'm not concerned about the very poor."  Combine that with the calls from those like Paul Ryan to "broaden the tax base" by making sure that everyone has "skin in the game" and it's easy to see why anyone who makes under $20,000 a year (which was where I started at after undergrad) and uses food to live might not want to pay more in taxes to feel like a real American.  While fiscally sound policy is likely to help the poor, it's not like the crappy jobs are going to go away.  And unless there is 0% unemployment, which only Hitler could pull off*, it's unlikely the job creators are going to double the salaries of those menial full-time jobs. 

*if the Republicans can succeed in repealing the minimum wage, we can go back to 0% unemployment immediately.  I would immediately extend an offer to everyone to work for me for free in a venture to test the human body's ability to swim the Pacific ocean.  Poof.  0% unemployment. 

And finally women.  Makes sense to take a dump on them as they are right around half of the human population.  And except for those totally gay families, almost everyone knows one.  "Binders full of women" really wasn't that bad.  But "rape easy" "rape is a gift from God" and "women's bodies have a way of shutting that down" are just asinine.  That and opposition to the Lilly Ledbetter Act and equal pay are not exactly going to move the needle for anyone but the most religious Christian women, some of whom are even thinking womens' suffrage may not be all it cracked up to be. 

I guess it is a long circle back, but I just don't see how sound, conservative, fiscal policy is failing to appeal to anyone.  So I suppose there is hope for a Republican future.  I just don't think you can take a crap all over everyone and say - when we talked about fiscal success, we weren't thinking of you.  Or we were thinking of you, but other disqualifying factors are going to mean you aren't as equal as the best of us - the job creators - the entrepreneurs - the success stories.