Returning to reality…

When Jon Stewart called Rove out in this episode of the Daily Show (here: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) he was pointing out a problem with Rove’s math.

All day, when I haven’t been plowing through deadline-driven work or cleaning up a huge backlog of filing, I’ve listened to news stories on NPR and reading articles about the aftermath of Election Day 2012. The news items all fall into roughly two categories of analysis:

1. We knew it was going to turn out this way and how sad it is they didn’t; or: Why it worked out this way and what we/they did wrong.

2. What now? How are we going to fix the mess we’re in, now that the game has changed?

One thing is crystal clear: The GOP miscalculated their margin of viability and they’ve gotten the wake-up call they deserve. Denial is a hard place to be, which is why I’ve thought all day about how to write this post without sounding like a gloating witch. Honestly, in the hard, cold light of day, we’ll get over this.

Rachel Maddow explains the 2012 election and its result in 3 minutes, 13 seconds of glorious truth.

The transcript here, because eventually the YouTube video will vanish again into the Memory Hole of the Internet:

Ohio really did go to President Obama last night and he really did win.

And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States. Again.

And the Bureau of Labor Statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month.
And the Congressional Research Service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy.
And the polls were not skewed to oversampled Democrats.
And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad. Nate Silver was doing math.

And climate change is real.
And rape really does cause pregnancy sometimes.
And evolution is a thing.
And Benghazi was an attack on us. It was not a scandal by us.
And nobody is taking away anyone’s guns.
And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually.
And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.
And the moon landing was real.
And FEMA is not building concentration camps.
And UN election observers are not taking over Texas.
And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism.

Listen.

Last night was a good night for liberals and for Democrats for very obvious reasons, but it was also
possibly a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country we have a two-party system in government and the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to
confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems and we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff.

And if the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum sealed door locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good, and denying the factual lived truth of the world then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate between competing, feasible ideas about real problems.

Last night the Republicans got shellacked and they had no idea it was coming

And we saw them in real time–in real, humiliating time–not believe it even as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to secede, they’re going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not want to get shellacked again.

And that will be a painful process for them I’m sure but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center.

You guys we’re counting on you. Wake up! There’s real problems in the world. There
are real, knowable facts in the world. Let’s accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let’s move on from there.

If the Republican Party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation.

And in that spirit, congratulations everybody. Big night.

Since January, in ever-increasing ways, I’ve become thoroughly sick of the radical Right’s rhetoric. I honestly thought, after growing up during the 1968 riots and surviving ten presidents, many race-based assassinations  (I was 16 days old when Kennedy was assassinated so I count his administration, too), that we were past all this thinly veiled racist, misogynistic,  homophobic crap, but there is simply no question about what the GOP in general and the Tea Party in particular expected in this year’s Presidential race.

NPR’s probably got the best lock on the main deciding factors: The “brown” vote, together with a diverse coalition of citizens whose liberal politics and religious beliefs, gave President Obama the edge he needed to win, not just by popular vote but by an Electoral College landslide.

Facebook has images popping up on multiple feeds that compare the “red” states of 2012 to maps showing slavery states in 1860. These remarkable divisions are clear and extremely disappointing. Why aren’t we beyond this by now?

The summary works like this: If you choose to accuse every brown person (African-American, Hispanic, Asian or other) of being part of the 47% who suffer from greed and laziness, failing to tow the imaginary line of strict morality, expecting them to give up rights to healthcare, family planning and legal immigration, you get what you deserve.

Reducing a woman’s access to family planning and abortion, particularly in regard to rape, is going to get you booted out of office. Basing your agenda on abridging basic civil rights, regardless of your opinion over the appropriateness of private behavior isn’t just wrong, it’s reprehensible. And it will cost you a seat in the Senate or the House.

The GOP has barely retained their majority in the House, but they have lost ground in the Senate. Continued shenanigans with filibusters and the looming economic Fiscal Cliff will ultimately cost the Tea Party’s constituents, and there is absolutely nothing standing in the way if President Obama wants to clasp his hands casually behind his back while Sequestration kicks in, meaning GOP leaders will either find a way to compromise or find themselves on the other side of the Capitol’s chamber doors in two years (or less).

It’s game over for the obstructionists of 2010. They no longer have the mandate they once did for doing as they please. While most of the GOP’s supporters remain white, male, and over 50, that number has shrunk sufficiently to tip the balance in favor of those whom the social safety nets protect. Four years down the road, their majority will shrink even further, leaving more progressives in place, in areas with higher populations.

Of all the reactions I read in the last two days, Jim Wright (Stonekettle Station) says it best with this post: Hemlock With A Small Side Of Schadenfreude. I warned my Facebook friends this morning to swallow whatever they had in their mouths before reading this article because Wright is dead on with his analysis, not just of the utter disappointment in Romney’s huge loss, but in the way the world will be now that the election is over.

I’ve posted the articles I found most useful or interesting below.

“We knew it was going to turn out this way and how sad it is they didn’t; or: Why it worked out this way and what we/they did wrong:”

John Scalzi (Whatever): Post-Election Notes For the GOP (Not That They’ve Asked For Them)

Slate: The Five Stages of Fox News Grief

Slate: A Vast Left-Wing Competency How Democrats became the party of effective campaigning—and why the GOP isn’t catching up anytime soon.

NBC News: Karl Rove’s election nightmare: Super PAC’s spending was nearly for naught

“What now? How are we going to fix the mess we’re in, now that the game has changed?”

The New York Times: Back to Work, Obama Is Greeted by Looming Crisis

Politico: The new Senate: More compromise, less filibuster?

In the end, we’re in for an interesting couple of months, while Congress figures out how to pull back from Sequestration, if it happens at all. No matter what, there’s a lot of healing that’s going to have to happen first.

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