Monday, October 29, 2012

The Way They Were

I have to confess, I don't know who's going to win the presidential election this year, or whether the Democrats are going to retain control of the Senate.  Fact is, most pundits don't know either. All I can tell you is that I'm cautiously optimistic about the way things are shaping up on both fronts.

But there is one group which has no doubts about the above and they have not been shy about sharing their feelings.  The far-right conservative blogosphere is practically giddy about the coming Mitt Romney landslide.  To hear them tell it, Romney will get every swing state, including Pennsylvania, and win the popular vote by 6 points.  Furthermore, the Republicans will win more than enough seats to not only retake control of the Senate, but send a serious message to all the libs out there who are destroying America.

You see, it seems all the polls are pandering to the liberal media and not accurately reflecting the true voter sentiment.  And, naturally, the conservative polls know what that true sentiment is.  The fact that all of them are delusional is beside the point.  They are nothing if defiant.

I think what's really behind this alternate reality, though, is something far deeper and more hideous than the mere desire to win. After all, who doesn't want to see their side thrash the other?  I remember when Obama was up by 4 points and was leading in all the swing states before the debates and all my progressive friends were predicting their own version of a landslide.  Funny how things even out sometimes.

But the truth of the matter here is that the Right knows that this may be the last stand for them.  A weak recovery and a vulnerable president and the best they can do is a toss up election.  The Republican Party has managed to win just one demographic decisively: white men.  If you look at every other group: women, African Americans, Hispanics, they are trailing. Yes, Mitt Romney made some inroads with women during his makeover in Denver, but he still trails Obama here.  When it comes to the last two groups, it isn't even close.

Conservatives decry many things, but tops on their list is the way the country has changed over the last several decades.  You hear an awful lot of reminiscing about the good old days when America was America and the world trembled at our mere presence.  Check out the rhetoric all throughout the Arab Spring culminating in the unfortunate attack in Libya.  The neo-cons are just chomping at the bit as they slowly witness a changing world that neither needs our presence nor wants our meddling involvement in its affairs.  The so-called "apology tour" that Obama engaged in was ostensibly an acknowledgement that the United States hasn't walked on water over its "illustrious" history.  Just ask the millions of native peoples who had their land stolen from them in the name of Manifest Destiny. 

At home, there is an undercurrent of resentment directed at those who supposedly didn't earn their way up the ladder.  The assault on entitlements and civil rights is nothing more than an attempt to stem the rising tide that is threatening to wipe out what's left of their hegemony.  The recent battle cry to "save" the Constitution from the liberal activists is ostensibly code for rolling back decades of advancements for minorities.  Minorities, mind you, that are now rapidly becoming the dominant culture in America.  The row over illegal immigration amounts to blatant racism disguised as phony border security.

The white power structure that has run this country since its inception is now in jeopardy of becoming a minority and that scares the living shit out of the Right.  Barack Obama is their worst nightmare come true. He symbolizes for them not just a strong black man in the White House - their house by the way - but a strong black man who is well liked, articulate, intelligent and who serves as a role model for millions of people who are no longer beholden to the old worn out paradigms of the past.  People who now know that the impossible is possible.  Almost overnight the world turned upside down and there's absolutely nothing they can do about it.

Mitt Romney is their last, best chance to put the genie back in the bottle - if only for a short while - and serve notice that the help should know their proper place and stay put.  If he fails, it isn't just an election that will be lost; it'll be an entire nation.  The whole birther movement is an attempt to paint this president as someone who is not one of us.  That it has failed miserably is a sign that most of the country knows better.

No matter what happens this November, the far Right is on borrowed time.  The fact of the matter is that, barring a complete change of heart, the GOP's strategy will inevitably consign it to permanent minority status in the country.  It doesn't bode well for your future prospects when you consistently alienate every major demographic that is growing in an attempt to pander to the one demographic that isn't.

You've heard of Back to the Future? Try, The Way We Were.  There's nostalgia and then there's denial. This would be amusing if it weren't so sad.

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