Last Tuesday evening I went to bed in denial, thinking that there must be some mistake. I declined to believe that a majority of the voters were stupid enough to re-elect a President whose incompetence makes Jimmy Carter seem Washingtonian by comparison, whose mendacity far surpasses that of a pathological liar like Bill Clinton, and whose administration is so corrupt that it actually evokes nostalgia for the Nixon era. I was sure that, when all the actual votes had been counted, they would reveal that the voters of Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado had been sensible enough to send this cheap grifter back to Chicago.
On Wednesday, forced to face the grim reality of the election results, I became angry. My seething thoughts turned first to the “news” media, whose behavior during this election cycle would have brought a blush to the cheek of the most cynical Pravda propaganda merchant. Then I thought of domesticated conservatives like Ann Coulter, who wrote that the media were pushing alternatives to Romney “because they are terrified of running against him.” In reality, the delusions of Coulter and the GOP establishment notwithstanding, Romney was the man the media and the White House desperately wanted to run against.
It was obvious to the Obama reelection team, its media toad eaters, and anyone else with a grain of sense, that Romney could easily be portrayed to the voters as an out-of-touch plutocrat whose only memorable “accomplishment” as the Governor of Massachusetts was the enactment of a health “reform” law that rendered him unable to credibly denounce Obamacare. During the presidential primaries, however, all serious challenges by Romney’s competitors for the nomination were met by vicious and often personal attacks from super-PACs funded by GOP establishment types who believed Romney was “electable.”
By Friday, I had reached the bargaining stage. I told myself that the House of Representatives was still controlled by the GOP and that this would ameliorate the damage that Obama could inflict on the nation during his second term. Moreover, I thought, Republican control of the House might also mean that Darrell Issa, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, might actually get to the bottom of the Benghazi blunder and the Obama administration’s clumsily executed cover-up. If the facts are as damning as many suspect, they might even provide grounds for Obama’s impeachment.
I also reminded myself that Obamacare was still under siege in the courts. The Obama administration is defending more than two dozen lawsuits filed by Catholic organizations pursuant to the HHS contraception mandate. And the state of Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit challenging an IRS rule signaling its intent to issue tax credits through federally-created insurance exchanges. Obamacare stipulates that all such assistance must be dispensed via state-run exchanges and its employer mandates can only be triggered by assistance that originates from those state exchanges. The IRS has decided to ignore the law.
These cold comforts fended off the depression stage until Saturday, when I inevitably slid into a slough of despond. I found myself agreeing with all the columns, blogs, and Facebook posts that claim the “takers” now outnumber and therefore rule the “makers.” More than half the electorate had morphed into a collective vampire determined to suck the lifeblood out of the shrinking and besieged cadre of producers. It was at that point when I discovered the following quote from Edward Gibbon: “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all — security, comfort, and freedom.”
Then it occurred to me that the Gibbon quote was about Athens rather than Rome. And, like many of his conclusions concerning the latter, his conjecture about the loss of Athenian liberty was historically inaccurate. The birthplace of democracy actually lost its freedom by constantly starting wars with rival city states, a bad habit that finally resulted in a resounding defeat. Remembering this, I re-examined my view on why Romney lost and realized that it didn’t happen because the country is going to Hell in a hand basket, but because he ran a lackluster campaign against a wily incumbent willing to tell any lie that would get him re-elected.
Romney would have made a far better President than Obama, but he was a weak candidate. His loss was entirely predictable. Indeed, I did predict it last January. However, like many early skeptics, I learned during the campaign that Romney is an honest man who — unlike the incumbent — understands how the free market economy actually works. Thus, I hoped against hope that the voters would confound my prediction, a thing they have frequently done in the past. Sadly, this time, the electorate vindicated my original estimation of Romney’s chances. In the end, the more intelligent among them will regret it, but that won’t undo their error.
But it won’t do to blame the customer for last Tuesday’s debacle. As Mitt Romney would no doubt tell us, if the product didn’t sell, that tells us that that merchandise itself had some defect or that it was not marketed properly. The good news is that our system of government, like our economy, gives us second (as well as third, fourth and fifth) chances. So, I think I’ll ignore the advice offered by a recent commenter on my blog, “Well, Catron, YOU LOSE … Time to shut down this web site. Good fight.” I guess that means I have now reached the acceptance phase. We got our butts kicked. That stinks. It is also a fact. Time to get back in the fight.
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