Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analaysis at the American Family Association, has issues: a new “Grand Unified Theory” of Obama, according to Right Wing Watch. Fischer, speaking yesterday, says President Obama “wants to see America and Americans suffer” because “he is Barack the Destroyer.” Better call Stan Lee – it sounds like a new Marvel movie op. As fantasies go, it ranks right up there with Iron Man and the Hulk. After all, like Stan Lee, Bryan Fischer puts words in his character’s mouth.
He is out to punish America for our misdeeds, to punish us for our racism, to bring us to our knees, to humble us in the dust so he can rebuild some kind of a socialist utopia on the ruins of what used to be the United States of America.
There’s that word “utopia” again. Well, we know who Oregon Republican Gary Bray has been watching, don’t we? But look, Bryan Fischer is just a part of a wider problem, that of Republicans who refuse to accept the reality of another Obama victory and a concomitant and whole-hearted denunciation of their own ideology.
David Brooks writes at an op-ed piece in the New York Times that “Over the past month, the Republican Party has changed far more than I expected…the people at the ideological extremes of the party have begun to self-ghettoize.” But I just don’t see it and I think that there is ample evidence that the opposite is true: conservative ideologues are digging in their heels. What Brooks see’s as change is window dressing.
It is too soon – much too soon – to expect shell-shocked Republicans to find their feet following their crushing defeat at the hands of Barack Obama in 2012. Refusing to accept our shared reality, they insist Obama’s victory does not amount to a mandate. They don’t quite deny that he won the election (though there are a few of those still clinging to electoral college pipedreams), but they refuse to admit his win was more than a “technical” win: Harry Reid’s “case of Republicans not taking yes for an answer.”
Though Dick Morris is now discredited, his views are not. As Bryan Fischer just quoted Jesus as saying, “by their fruits you shall know them.”
Morris said that Romney would win with in 2012 with a 325-electoral vote “landslide.” Obama won with 332 electoral votes. For Morris, 332 is far less than 325 because according to his math, Obama won a “squeaker.” How this math works, how 332 is a squeaker and 325 is a landslide, is one of those mysteries unique to conservatism. The point is that though Morris is “out” his math is “in”. He is far from alone. Those fascinated by litanies of conservative misery can look at a list of the congenitally obtuse at Right Wing Watch.
In the House, the nation elected in 2012 one of the largest Republican majorities in the past 100 years. You have a mandate to fight for conservative principles that is arguably much broader than the one that narrowly reelected President Barack Obama claims to have for his leftist agenda.
This was disingenuous. Republicans were beneficiaries of Republican redistricting, which all but ensured incumbent Republicans would return for the 113th Congress next year. Even so, Democrats gained eight seats in the House, an event that is not very mandate-friendly for Republicans. Yes, they still have a House majority, but it is a smaller House majority than in 2010.
And the Red State letter completely ignored Democratic gains in the Senate, where the Democrats gained two seats – the third year in a row the Democrats have gained seats in the Senate. This, somehow, also does not reflect a mandate for Democrats but for Republicans.
Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) also has his blinkers on: he told Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council that he hopes Obama doesn’t misinterpret the election results to think that he won: “I’m afraid that this administration is going to misinterpret this past election and say, ‘well we campaign on increasing tax rates, not just revenues but increasing tax rates, and maintaining our spending.'”
They just can’t do it. They can blame Karl Rove and Dick Morris and even Romney himself, but they can’t admit that Obama and the Democrats crushed their miserly hopes and dreams of a “theo-plutocracy” (government by rich, white Christians). Dick Morris is discredited officially but really he is vindicated because his math stands.
As Ezra Klein asked on the Wonkblog on November 9, “House Democrats got more votes than House Republicans. Yet Boehner says he’s got a mandate?” Boehner insisted, “Listen, our majority is going to get reelected,” he said the day before the election. “We’ll have as much of a mandate as he [President Obama] will … to not raise taxes.”
In response, Klein pointed to the numbers, saying that “The Washington Post’s Dan Keating did the work and found that Democrats got 54,301,095 votes while Republicans got 53,822,442. That’s a close election — 48.8%-48.5% -but it’s still a popular vote win for the Democrats.”
How is this a “much broader mandate” than Obama’s margin of victory, which was greater than George W. Bush’s margin of victory in both 2000 and 2004? The Democrats get more votes, but the Republicans are the ones with a mandate? This is a very unusual species of math. Karl Rove took the hit for his math on Election Night but his math, like Morris’ is the math clung to by Republicans a month later.
You would like to think that at some point, Republicans might wake up, but that is not likely. Admitting an Obama mandate is admitting to Obama legitimacy and that is something they cannot do. They have invested too much rhetoric in presenting Obama as the despised other, the Kenyan anti-colonialist Muslim usurper, or as Bryan Fischer is now styling him, “Barack the Destroyer.”
Fear mongering is one way to deal with reality. A refusal to admit 332 is greater than 325 is another (and if you’re Glenn Beck, you’ll just buy farmland and guns). What Fischer and other conservatives need is not a Grand Unified Theory of Obama but a Grand Unified Theory of Shared Reality – and a math tutor.
Earth to the Republican Party: Barack Obama won in 2012. He won by a lot. Get over it. As the old saying goes, numbers don’t lie. You cannot spin a victory into a defeat and you cannot make numbers say one thing for a Republican and another for a Democrat.
And a post-script to Bryan Fischer: you can call President Obama names but there are no do-over’s. You cannot change the fact of a Democratic victory in 2012. You can claim that “no sincere follower of Jesus Christ” could support gay marriage, but you cannot change the fact that growing numbers of Americans support equal rights for gays and lesbians: Gallup just reported that most Americans (63 percent) say gay/lesbian bias is a serious problem. And you can claim to be the voice of Jesus Christ on Earth but you cannot change the fact that unaffiliated Christians went overwhelmingly for Obama.
So a mandate for Obama? You bet your ass 2012 was a mandate for Obama, and the only destroyer is the Republican Party and its god.
Updated [11:31 AM] to include opinion of David Brooks.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.