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GAME CHANGE: Will the Republicans Now Play Ball?

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Former Bill Clinton adviser and Liberace look-alike Dick Morris, who somehow dream-weaved a set of dour Romney polling numbers into a prediction of a Romney landslide , bewailed over four more years of Obama's "socialist agenda."

Donald Trump, no doubt perched somewhere in a Clown Quarters penthouse, tweeted:   "The House of Representatives shouldn't give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare."

Former "Thriller from Wasilla," Sarah Palin Facebooked her two cents:   "I just cannot believe that the majority of Americans believe that it's okay to ignore the Constitution."

Satan's b*tch Kitty (Ann Coulter) barfed up yet another of her rancid rhetorical caricatures advising that:   "We have more takers than makers."

And finally, Charles Krauthammer, usurper of the deceased Robert Novak's role as conservative punditry's "Prince of Darkness," belched out another version of his copyrighted narrow-mindedness:   "Obama won with no mandate," Krauthammer opined.   "He won by going very small (and) very negative; he has nowhere to go."

Really?    In fact, there are many potentially-open avenues available provided Republicans stop creating parliamentary roadblocks.   Indeed, Obama's reelection should considerably reduce the likelihood of four more years of legislative gridlock that a Romney victory might have created.    It seems unlikely that many Congressional Democrats would feel inclined to work in a bi-partisan manner with a party that employed non-partisanship as a means of re-gaining power -- particularly with Democrats like Harry Reid still in command of the Senate; the presence of other shrewdly political incumbents like Nancy Pelosi; and the return to Congress of Florida's Alan Grayson.    Human nature suggests that a Romney victory is likely to have resulted in a renewed cycle of deliberate legislative gridlock --- only this time by Congressional Democrats.    But since Obama won, it's now up to Republicans to become more accepting of the bi-partisanship needed to both move the nation forward and maintain their party's political legitimacy.

Suppression Obsession

It now appears that the end of the Republicans' dream of a one-term Obama presidency actually began in 2010 starting with the way the GOP dealt with the aberrational factor of the whoop-ass it put on the Democrats during that year's mid-terms.   Rather than an indication of an electorate that leans overwhelmingly conservative, the GOP takeover of the House via the election of 87 new Republicans was in fact the outcome of a comparatively low-turnout election comosed mostly of voters who identified as conservatives joined by a few independents.    For the most part, non-conservatives stayed home.    With so many younger, liberal voters having essentially self-suppressed, the GOP gains of 2010 couldn't be interpreted as a gauge of the electorate's ideological preference, a fact probably noted by GOP strategists, which perhaps got them to thinking about ways to create a 2012 turnout similar to the niche turnout of 2010.

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If that was the thinking, it led to a 2012 GOP campaign strategy that turned out to be disastrously misguided.   The analogy I'd use would be a guy who grabs a T-square for a job that requires a slide ruler.   Exhibit A would be the underlying philosophy that drove each campaign's approach to voter contact.   For nearly two years, while the Repubs spent their time in back rooms cooking up voter-suppression schemes designed to keep certain voters at arm's length, the Obama team spent its time the ground embracing, engaging, and registering a veritable pastiche of potential voters from hundreds of field offices set up in battleground states; activism that enabled the Democrats to increase its base.  

But it was the GOP -- through its effort to suppress the Democratic base --- that actually excited that base by sparking a backlash that created a willingness among targeted voters to wait up to seven hours to cast their ballots.    That failure to suppress the minority vote, coupled with Romney's inability to attract sufficient numbers of non-minority voters, revealed that Republicans can no longer roll into the White House simply by offering rhetorical dopamine to its shrinking base of old white males.  

"(Obama) got turnout," conceded Paul Ryan a week later during an interview with a Milwaukee newspaper.   "The president should get credit for achieving record-breaking turnout numbers from urban areas for the most part, and that did win the election for him."


Tea Time-Out

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It did.   And it also re-affirmed the argument that the GOP's monolithic "big tent" is in grim need of remodeling.   And, included in any pile of discarded items should be Karl Rove.   Let Rove keep hitting up gullible conservative millionaires for their Benjamins, but keep that toad out of the Party's electioneering because if you think about it for a while, you come to realize that old "Turd Blossom's" track record ain't really been too swift of late.   When's the last time the "architect" engineered an election victory in which the integrity of the outcome had not been in some way tainted?   And when's the last time K-Rove successfully innovated anything related to campaigning or offered political prognoses unique to him; something completely outside of traditional political wisdom that was predicted in advance only by Rove?   It's time for the GOP to drop Karl and think about "friending" up with somebody like Nate Silver.

Obviously, there are many others who belong on that turd pile, particularly the pundits referenced earlier, along with other influential hard-right bottom-feeding rabble-rousers -- Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity -- who promulgate the irritant rhetorical tone of the conservative movement but face no political consequences when that rhetoric causes problems for the GOP.    If it wants to survive, the party needs to develop a smooth but swift self-departation process for pundits like Limbaugh and company.

But mainly it's the Tea Party which needs to be put in "time-out" as it was for the most part during the GOP convention.   Now that finger-pointing time has arrived, it's the Tea Party and its irrational fiscal agenda, batty cultural outlook, and militia-like view of government which bled so deeply into both Romney's campaign strategy and political persona -- that needs to be held in account.

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Anthony Barnes, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a free-lance writer who leans toward the progressive end of the political spectrum. "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to (more...)

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