I want to say two things about the whole Social Darwinist, “makers and takers”, Ayn Rand-style-selfishness-is-a-virtue/generosity-weakens-society, 47 percent of you (and especially you black and Hispanic people and young women who want your contraceptives) are dependent leeches philosophy. The first is that it is clear that the Republicans really believe it. Whenever they don’t think anyone except their wealthy donors are paying attention, they lay it all out there, are very open about it. This is their core philosophy, their core values that we’re talking about here.
The second point is that the American people fundamentally reject those values. The nadir of Romney’s bid for the presidency, the absolute low point when, after things had been close so long, it looked like we might be headed for an Obama blowout victory, was in the days after the release of the 47 percent video. Had Obama pressed that point in the first debate, we might have even had that blowout. The only reason Romney came as close as he did was his etch-a-sketch move to the middle, when he explicitly rejected the 47 percent values.
It’s not just African-American and Hispanic and young people who reject those ideas, either. You might have noticed the swing states of Iowa and NH who voted for Obama. IA, PA, and FL– 3 states with the oldest populations in the country — went for the president. Mostly white Minnesota, which came surprisingly close to going for Bush in 2004 and where Romney spent money advertising, went easily for Obama. Mostly white Maine, which has been a swing state in many past presidential elections, wasn’t even close this year, including the more rural and Republican congressional district. This isn’t just demographics, folks: most Americans reject these kinds of ideas and values. If Romney had run openly on them, he would have been destroyed. By pretending to reject them he made the election closer, but he couldn’t hide his values entirely because his and Ryan’s budget reek of those kind of Ayn Randian values.
Central to the Republican defeat, in fact, was the tax and budget debate. Having embraced the Ryan budget, and then picked the author of it to be his running mate, they had to try and defend it — but failed miserably. It was an incredibly extreme document from start to finish, weaning all those dependent seniors, children, veterans, disabled, and poor off of the public “teat” so that they wouldn’t be victims and dependent on government, and using all the money (literally all of it cut from those programs) to give massive new tax breaks to the wealthy on top of what they already have. And the more people learned about that budget, and the values behind it, the more they disliked it.
Having that values and budget issue out there hurt Republican Senate candidates badly, as well. Charismatic, popular, moderate-voting and -sounding Scott Brown lost to Elizabeth Warren in part because of sticking to the Republican philosophy of not taxing the wealthy. The popular former Governor of Wisconsin lost to Tammy Baldwin in part because of having to defend that philosophy. House members in conservative Western states Montana and South Dakota were dragged down in their Senate races by the Ryan budget albatross hanging around their necks.
The American people in this election heard the generosity-breeds-dependency philosophy, and they heard Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats say that we are all in this together, that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, that we need to lift each other up. We won, convincingly, in spite of a tough economy and all the wealthy donor money spent against us.
So, Mitt — and Paul Ryan, too! — stay out there in the debate, please. Keep giving speeches, keep doing conference calls, write some op-eds. Tell us some more about all the gifts Barack Obama is giving us undeserving types. Never stop speaking out, brothers Mitt and Paul. And Democrats will keep winning elections, as long as they fight for all those people Mitt and Paul like to mock.
Michael Lux is the co-founder and CEO of Progressive Strategies, L.L.C., a political consulting firm founded in 1999, focused on strategic political consulting for non-profits, labor unions, PACs and progressive donors. In November of 2008, Mike was named to the Obama-Biden Transition Team. Previously, he was Senior Vice President for Political Action at People For the American Way (PFAW), and the PFAW Foundation, and served at the White House from January 1993 to mid-1995 as a Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison.
This has been reposted from The Huffington Post.
Posted November 19, 2012 at 8:00 am, in Allied Approaches