November 6, 2012

Just saw former GOP governor and professional chin artist Haley Barbour on MSNBC, arguing that Obama and the Chicago boys can't run on their record, so they vilified Mitt Romney and ran a negative campaign.

My head ordinarily would have exploded - metaphorically, of course - at such inanity, especially on a Very Important Election Day. Fortunately, I'd taken the antidote last night, in the form of The Rachel Maddow Show's A-block.  Despite conventional wisdom, Obama had an amazing record, one that many of his predecessors (George Bush, anyone) would envy, and that history will smile upon.

I yield my time to the " target="_blank">gentlewoman from the Berkshires:

November 5, 2012

Listening to NPR while chugging along on the treadmill this morning, I heard Kokie Roberts and Mara Liasson opine that, since blowing McCain out of the water in '08, Obama's lost significant ground with white male working class voters - an exploitable flaw in his already weakened armor.

Flipping the argument around, host Steve Inskeep asked about the minority vote. Both Liasson and Roberts sang it almost in stereo: Obama has locked up the minority vote, and hopes to run up huge margins that could offset the lion's share of the white vote Romney is expected to win.

Then, there's this, from my old mates at Politico, declaring that the era of Post Racial Politics is officially over. Also, Southern Strategy.

That got me thinking about this, from the summer, and comparing it to what I was hearing on NPR.

It seems to me that pointing out how Obama doesn't have blue collar whites on his side -- and that those votes "still matter" is a whistling-past-the-graveyard scenario on the part of pundits and party strategist, and misses a big point on how this elections, and future ones, will be vastly different.

First of all, no one's talking at all about how Romney has barely lifted a finger to court the black and brown electorate, and seems to have gone out of his way to offend African American voters.  Since that disastrous speech (or ingenious, depending on perspective), Romney hasn't done a single event with a high-profile African American leader.  And he's had little to say on immigration since his technicolor appearance in a Univision interview a few months back.

To get zero percent of the African American community -- just a few years after Bush racked up 11 percent -- and show up orange in a national TV interview, you almost have to be trying.

Secondly, no one disputes the fact that, within a few decades, whites will be the nation's largest minority, surpassed by Latinos but still ahead of African Americans. On its face, irritating a voting bloc you'll soon have to court seems like a losing strategy.

Unless you consider Citizens United and the Republican lockstep strategy of suppressing the minority vote.  The conservative tilt to the Supreme Court all but ensured that the wealthy will have a powerful voice in elections of the future, and the voting suppression -- ranging from strict voter ID laws to menacing billboards and mailings -- are aimed largely at communities of color.


If you don't have the numbers, you change the rules, and it seems to be working so far - how else could a candidate as flawed, feckless and without gravitas as Mitt Romney come even close to a historic record many of his predecessors would envy?

But Rachel Maddow poses the real question for the GOP -- and the nation: is this really a long-term strategy?

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