Election 2012: Three Open Letters

On the occasion of Barack Obama’s reelection to the presidency of the United States, I would like to write an open letter to three different folks.

Dear Disappointed Romney Supporter,

If you are the average Romney supporter who honestly thought he was the better candidate, voted for him, and is disappointed that he lost, this letter is not directed at you. If you are the unusual Romney supporter who thinks his loss signals the coming of the Apocalypse, the end of civilization as we know it, and a head-first dive into an abyss of socialism, then I’m talking to you. Unfortunately you have fed yourself a steady diet of Fox News, The Blaze, Daily Caller and for dessert, a good helping of World Net Daily. These fringe outposts on the information highway have led you to distrust mainstream media. And that my friends is the major difference between the ultra-liberal MSNBC and the heretofore mentioned outlets. MSNBC doesn’t stray too far off the trail set by the main stream media (ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post). There is a reason why mainstream media is mainstream. They cover real news, with real sources. They have standards such that they don’t show exposé videos designed to bring down organizations (e.g. ACORN). They’re patient. They are willing to wait until a story fleshes out sufficiently with vetted sources before covering it (e.g. Benghazi). Is the mainstream media perfect? Of course not. Are they immune to bias? Without doubt, they are not. But if you need evidence that your fringe news sources are warped and are warping your mind, look at the behavior at Fox News on election night.

Putting The Faux in Fox News

When the vote counters  at Fox News called Ohio for Obama, one of Fox’s analysts went batcrap crazy. Karl Rove begged his network, live and on the air, to reconsider their call. Never in the history of television has an on-air correspondent disagreed with his own network’s election night call. Why would Rove be so adamant? He had skin in the game, that’s why. Lots of skin … skin of the green variety. Via Crossroads GPS, his super-pac, Karl had dropped a ton of money into putting an end to Barack Obama’s political career. Yet the so-called fair and balanced network turns to him for analysis. Flashback four years ago when MSNBC discovered that on-air talent Keith Olbermann had contributed to a political campaign. All hell broke loose. Not on Fox though. No problem on Fox. And so, on election night we got to see Karl basically say “Hey! I’ve got big money riding on this! You can’t give Obama Ohio and the election!” All this while the celebration in Chicago is broadcast on split screen. It was a pathetic display. But Karl represents you. the disappointed Romney voter who lives in an alternate reality.

You are despondent and I understand why. Thanks to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, you live in a world where up is down and right is always right and left is always wrong. You’ve been brainwashed and Tuesday night you got water-boarded by reality. It was torture. But you’re alive my friends. You got through it. Now just accept that you’ve been lied to, and move on.

Dear Republican Party,

The most important “teaching moment” for you should be not that your candidate Mitt Romney lost but that you failed to take over the Senate, a goal that was completely realistic. We can look at three seats that were within reach and see easily why you lost them. Your candidates in Indiana and Missouri said really stupid stuff about rape. Your candidate in Massachusetts attacked his opponent’s self-professed heritage thinking that heritage could be disproven just by “looking at her”. These examples of pure foolishness were  a trap door that the left could easily exploit. The rape comments were not simply dumb, they showed a disrespect for women not seen on the campaign trail in 25 years. They focused like a laser beam on your new meme that rape is not rape, this notion that lots of women fake it. Hell, when it comes to abortion your Vice Presidential candidate suggested that the health of the mother exception was wide enough to drive a truck through. Then you expect women to vote for you. The silliness over Warren’s ethnic background shined a light on your resentment of equal opportunity programs and the idea that traditionally oppressed minorities should be proactively recruited. Sure you griped that you felt Warren took advantage of these programs but let’s be honest. You don’t like the programs in the first place and that’s what a lot of minorities heard behind your Fauxahontas outrage.

Here is some free advice to my Republican friends. First, accept Roe v. Wade as probably the best compromise solution we will ever have on the issue of abortion. Accept it and move on. Second, accept the fact that some folks want a life-long partnership (including sex) with folks of their own gender. Gay folks aren’t going away. Republicans. you LIKE marriage. You think it is stabilizing. So let your gay brothers and sisters get the same benefits from the institution that you enjoy. You’re not gong to win this anti-gay battle. Two states, not by judicial decree, but by popular vote, legalized gay marriage. The tide is not only turning … it has turned. Accept it and move on.  Third and finally, did you notice the first two bits of advice used the word “accept”? Yeah … be more accepting. Widen your tent. If you learned anything from this election it should be that you can’t win on the white male vote anymore. Hispanics supported Obama to the tune of 71%. Could that have anything to do with all the talk of self-deportation? There are just too many “other” types of people out there and if you go out of your way to insult and alienate them, you will stop winning elections.

Dear Mr. President,

Our elections are a funny thing. From the electoral college perspective, most folks would say you won by a landslide with more than 300 electoral votes. But let’s be honest here. Only about 2 million votes separated you from Mitt Romney, about 2% or so of the electorate. You won just over half the States. This was no Ronald Reagan 49 state smack-down. There are a bus load of people for all sorts of reasons who did not want you to have a second term. Your response should not be “to hell with them”. So, please, tackle jobs and the deficit and be hands on about it. This business of throwing semi-formed ideas at a polarized Congress and expecting progress is not going to work. You have invited the legislative leaders to the White House next week. That’s a good start. Don’t stop there. Stay in the game. I know you don’t have the leverage of an LBJ who had years of relationships to draw on but that’s no excuse. You’ve got to forge relationships. I see that some pundits have already voiced my idea (yes I thought of it first!) that you appoint Mitt Romney to your new Secretary of Business position. Damn man, talk about team of rivals! We all know what you meant by Secretary of Business. It wasn’t some new bureaucracy as Mitt suggested on the campaign trail. It’s meant to consolidate several organizations like HUD and SBA under one accountable leader. Put Mitt in charge of it and let him be the businessman he’s proven he can be. A much better use of his talents than POTUS.

You don’t have another term at stake here, Mr. President. You have your legacy. It’s a much bigger game this time.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Tired of Watching Black and White TV

To watch television on this 28th day of August you would never know that black and white TV went out of vogue some 30 years ago.

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I started my morning watching the BeckFest, as I like to call it … Glenn Beck’s attempt to bring folks back to God and revitalize the nation. So long as you’re not offended by attending a church service on Saturday morning, the event was pretty tame. Yes, one had to wonder about Beck’s audacity to hold a gathering on the anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech. One had to scratch one’s head at the participation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece Alveda, who injected politics into what was surprisingly a very apolitical event. One could even admire … and yes I do say admire … Sarah Palin for not taking any political shots and delivering a heart felt address that touched on mercy shown by the Afghan people toward wounded soldiers. Still, it was disconcerting that in a city that is probably at least 70% African-American, you could only pick out at most a half-dozen dark faces in the crowd. Where were all these black people?

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Ah, for that you needed to watch the Al Sharpton rally also being held in Washington, D.C. today. I watched five minutes and then turned it off. Why? Because as I turned it on radio host Tom Joyner was speaking and before he relinquished the microphone he said “I love you black people!”. What the hell was that about? Was everyone in that crowd worthy of Tom’s love simply because they were black? The sea of faces contained nary one fair-skinned one. If Glenn Beck had said, “I love you white people” all hell would have broken loose. Now, Beck paid only passing lip service to Muslims and Jews. And the theme of Beck’s gathering was definitely “atheists need not apply”. But Glenn avoided any racial third rails. In fact Ted Nugent, who recently told an audience how happy he was to see so many white people, did not participate today as originally planned.

So I was left today scratching my head. The tone of Beck’s rally was primarily a religious one and Lawdy knows black folk do love their religion. So why didn’t they feel welcome at Beck’s event? And why were there so few whites at Sharpton’s event? Well it certainly didn’t help to have folks like Tom Joyner giving out the love so exclusively.

Gang, in the early days of color TV, the announcer would say “this program is being brought to you in living color.” There’s no way the announcer would have said that about either of the rallies I watched today. Perhaps the racial divide in this country is like a case of national herpes. You can medicate it to minimize the flare-ups but you can’t cure it.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Consistency My Friends, Consistency

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You cannot read the paper or turn on the TV this past couple of weeks without hearing about the controversy brewing in lower Manhattan regarding plans to erect a Muslim community center/place of worship two blocks from the site of the fallen Twin Towers. I share the view of many of my fellow liberals that adherence to our American ideals of freedom of religion demands that the “Ground Zero Mosque”, as it has been called, be allowed to go forward.

However there is some consternation among my liberal friends concerning another exercise of First Amendment rights about to take place on August 28, in Washington, D.C. You see that date is sacred to a good number of people because on that day in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

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This year on August 28, gold coin huckster and Fox News carnival barker Glenn Beck will hold a gathering in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Beck will deliver a speech, supposedly updating King’s message for modern application. Also on hand will be former Alaska Governor and VP candidate Sarah Palin. Some liberals find this incredibly distasteful and while I haven’t heard anyone call for the event’s prohibition, there is considerable discontent regarding it.

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However, Princeton University Professor Melissa Harris Lacewell made a key point on MSNBC’s “Hardball” tonight. We cannot, on the one hand protect Muslim’s right to worship consistent with local law and zoning ordinances and in the next breath prevent Glenn Beck from airing his views in a public forum provided he has obtained the appropriate permits. To give the green light to Muslims but to block Beck because we find his message, and choice of venue and date offensive, makes us hypocrites, plain and simple. “Hardball” host, Chris Matthews seemed visibly irritated by Ms. Lacewell’s excellent analysis.

There is a simple bottom line folks. You either support the First Amendment or you don’t. One of the by products of living in a free democracy is hearing and seeing things that might disturb you. It’s the price you pay for getting the freedom to say things that might disturb others. It’s the American way.

Respectfully,
Rutherford

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance