Friday, November 09, 2012

Celebrate liberal, celebrate progressive

Yeah, I know --- lots of people want to stop talking about the election. Most are Republican. I understand that. But I'm a liberal and a Democrat. These are good days for liberals and Democrats, really good days. While it's a mistake to crow too much about the misfortunes of others and that "fiscal cliff" is real, there's a good deal to celebrate.

I liked Rachel Maddow's list of what we're NOT going to have now that President Obama has been re-elected --- including no Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade, no more Antonin Scalias and Samuel Alitos on that court, no repeal of health care reform, no repeal of Medicare, no 20 percent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires while expecting programs like food stamps and kids' health care to cover the deficit, women won't have to check with the boss if they want birth control, no redefinition of rape, no amendment to  the U.S. Constitution to stop gay people from getting married, no elimination of federal departments like education, energy and housing, no spending of $2 trillion on the military that the military doesn't want, no cuts in student loans because of a new plan to have students borrow money from their parents....

Why such a dramatic loss for the Republicans? Read the pundits --- in both parties.

Over-confidence was one thing. Republicans expected to win. After all, they'd spent four years and hundreds of millions of dollars attempting to discredit the president, obstructing every move he made, lying --- just to win. But over-confidence tempts the gods and leads to self-delusion. Remember, Republicans watch Fox News and believe what's reported there. Why not skewed polling data, too?

Democrats are rarely over-confident. Like most I went into Tuesday night hopeful --- as a loyal follower of geeky gay icon Nate Silver should have been --- but not confident. Democrats, not made stupid by over-confidence, ran a far more effective campaign.

Then there's that huge problem with the Republican base --- it's old, white, rural and dying. America is younger, multicolored, multicultural, multioriented, urban and interested in the future, not old grudges. Democrats know that, as do some Republicans.

But instead of trying to tap into America as it really is, the GOP gathered up the biggest basket in U.S. political history of racists, gay-haters, ignorance and just plain bat-shit crazy, wrapped it in red and sealed the package with little elephant stickers, then tried to win an election with it. Didn't work.

It never hurts to be on the side of the angels, although Democrats aren't exactly angels. But while the opposition spent four years announcing what it was against and opposing progress at every step, Democrats spent four years doing and working toward what they believe in. That was recognized and rewarded by women, black, hispanic and LGBT voters.

None of this resolves economic issues, which are real --- and that's an area where classic Republicans not motivated purely by greed have useful things to say and to advocate for. But the Obama victory proved among other things that being for LGBT rights, for immigration reform and for the reproductive rights of women pays big dividends. Voters rewarded a liberal, progressive social agenda. We have a liberal, progressive leader --- and that's likely to become even more evident during the second term.

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