Post-game analysis

There’s a black man in power who has nothing to lose. Wheee!

The Republicans portrayed Barack Obama as an empty chair then they pinned all their hopes on an empty suit. Stupid move. So Obama trounced Romney by a hundred electoral college votes. It was a rout but Republicans prefer to spin it as a close race, pointing out that Obama won the popular vote by only two percent. Do Republicans remind anybody that Bush lost the popular vote to Gore?

Republicans called Romney’s concession speech graceful, as if a corporate raider is capable of grace. He is not. Romney’s concession speech was in fact a call to the Republican base to continue pushing back Obama’s initiatives.

First, Romney praised his running mate Paul Ryan, a darling of the Tea Party. He said,

    “Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I’ve ever made. And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.”

That was a call to Ryan and the Tea Party to keep fighting for their crazy causes.

Then he added,

    “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work.”

That is putting equal blame on Obama for the gridlock in Washington even though it was the Republicans who repeatedly slapped Obama’s hand every time he tried to reach out to them.

Finally, Romney used coded language to reiterate his commitment to Republican core beliefs.

    “This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.”

Romney was caught on video sharing his core beliefs with wealthy donors, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what…(47 percent) who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” He went on to say that he was not going to worry about “those people” because “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Having laid the groundwork, it was now the Republican spin machine’s turn. John Boehner, Speaker of the Republican controlled House of Representatives, said the election results were a mandate to work together. Fox News followed suit, wing-nut after wing-nut began to chant that the key to the success of Obama’s second term is compromise.

But Romney swore he would end Obamacare on his first day in office. His vision and plan for America was the complete opposite of Obama’s. If Romney had won, he and his Republican cohorts would have been uncompromising. There’s no better indication of that than the obstinate refusal of Republicans over the past four years to compromise with Obama and the Democrats.

Now that their man lost, Republicans are talking compromise. Hah! But compromise to Republicans means that Democrats must do as the Republicans wish otherwise they are merely engaging in partisan bickering and political posturing.

Obama faces two choices going into his second term. He can keep trying to find a way to work with Republicans. Or he can tell the Republicans what a pundit said when Stephen Colbert asked him, “How do I stop Obama?” The pundit replied, “You can’t. There’s a black man in power who has nothing to lose. Wheee!” That would make the Republicans soil their underwear.

Manuel Buencamino

Buencamino was a weekly columnist for Today and Business Mirror. He has also written articles in other publications like Malaya, Newsbreak, "Yellow Pad" in Business World, and "Talk of the Town" in the Inquirer. He is currently with Interaksyon, the news site of TV5. MB blogged for Filipino Voices, blogs for ProPinoy and maintains a blog, Game-changers for him, as far as music goes, are Monk, Miles, Jimi, and Santana.

  • Why, of course Obama has nothing to lose but everything to gain, personally, politically and financially. The more important question however is: Has America nothing to lose with a President Obama?

    • It depends on your perspective, I suppose, as no president can satisfy his constituency 100% of the time. So anyone whose own ox gets gored will consider that a loss. But history will record that President Obama was one of the best presidents ever. One should not place too much faith in the distortions put out by those with oxen, and look at the man’s achievements. One of the reasons Republicans are taking the loss so hard is that they believed the distortions being put out by Fox and Limbaugh. The spin spun, not Democrats, but Republicans.

      • “History will record…..”.

        Joe, you are giving me the impression that you’re expressing your personal wish, and not an impartial opinion about what’s happening in your country at all. Because you see, the last time I looked, and I’d looked everywhere, one half of your people does not like your President. Surely, that does not give credence to your wish that “President Obama was one of the best president ever”. Maybe you know something we don’t, but it would be of much help to your cause if you can provide some answer to what UP n has been asking (pls. read his comment below), and his question is: “What metrics do you use?” . Perhaps I’m a pretty confused dude when it comes to American culture, but certainly I supposed even wishes should have some legs to stand on.

        • If you look at recent elections, it is rare for the winning presidential candidate to get over 51% of the vote. Obama actually did well in the popular vote, and trounced in the electoral.

          It is indeed my personal opinion (not a wish; call it a “bet” if you like) that I express. It is the way I think history will record the President because history typically focuses on the big picture rather than little. Whereas newspapers and television focus on the little matters. I don’t use metrics much, as the trends I’m looking at are not measured by counting things, and statistics can be molded like putty to fit just about any argument.

          Quantitative easing has worked, which is why they are considering more of it. We went through a huge global economic collapse. The typical recovery trend for major economic down-cycles is five years according to an article I read recently. We are within that. Trillions of dollars of wealth was wiped out in the U.S. UNDER GEORGE BUSH. You can’t put it back on a hope and a wish, but on continuous work. That’s what Obama has done, continuous work. The economy is getting on track now. That’s why people didn’t buy Romney’s economic mumbo jumbo. HIS was a wish and a dream, not a legitimate quantitative plan.

          • Ah, Joe, if not Fox and Limbaugh, it’s GW Bush, the ever-present culprits for all the mess happening the past four years. Trillions of dollars wiped out by Bush, eh? Maybe you meant six trillions of dollars more additional deficits, repeat, six trillions ADDITIONAL deficit, incurred by the Obama administration in the last four years alone, more than all the US presidents’ combined, and nothing to show for it in terms of the US economy improving, or jobs created. And mind you, this is not something I read from Limbaugh, or Fox, or from Carl Rove. Maybe that’s false information too from some Conservative source, but I have no way of confirming. I’m sorry if that is wrong, please enlighten me.

          • Look at it as a slope, very steep, and the avalance started under Bush and kept rolling into the Obama administration. Do you not read news or what? You think that Obama took over and the economy should all of a sudden be back to what it was when Clinton left office, with a surplus?

            Homeowners were hit with a crushing loss of assets. They stopped buying things, like cars. Businesses were bleeding because they had built in costs and no one buying cars or anything else. They kept laying people off. How in the Hell do you think a consumer who has suddenly lost $300,000 gets it back? On a wish? Or working diligently for five years, not buying much and saving more?

            The deficits were racked up funding Auto company survival, bank survival, paying off bad debts, and otherwise stopping the bleeding. The government provided markets when none existed.

            It was a Bush disaster and an Obama rescue. Clearly.

            I’m starting to lose confidence in your rationality and objectivity here.

          • I read the news, Joe, and telling you what I read. I’ll leave it up to you to do your own interpretations and speculations of what are happening in your country and what it’s going to happen in the future. I’m with you and with all your compatriots/countrymen in wishing your President Obama the best of luck in solving your country’s problems. Suffice it to say that as of this moment, ant that’s according to the news I read, President Obama has not much to show for the last four years in terms of rescue that you were talking about.

          • I suppose one would have to project what would have happened if Obama, during November of 2008, when Bush was still President, had not stepped in and started talking a good game, an optimistic game, with the charisma that is unique to him. It was his authoritative confidence, followed by some bold rescue moves in the financial and auto industries, that prevented a complete meltdown and bankruptcy of America’s largest companies, which would have started a global meltdown akin to a nuclear reactor burning itself up and spewing radioactivity around the globe, massive, massive job losses, riots in civilized countries, and chaos like you can hardly imagine. Cast now against that scenario and now looks pretty healthy.

            Good sharing thoughts with you.

        • Re. UPN and Obama’s “bring US jobs back” program, I don’t think you will see anything radical proposed. Obama is a pragmatist, not a socialist, and he knows he got “shown up” in the business community. I think he will legitimately listen to those representing the business community, including Mitt Romney.

      • And, Joe, I’ve had enough of that Fox and Limbaugh alibi, so please…

        • Please what? Write only what you want to hear?

          They are examples. Prominent. The point is that conservative media was spinning so hard that they forgot to publish the truth, and their audience got burned. It’s an important point. It happens on the liberal side with MSNBC. People who listen to biased sources fill themselves with bias and then are shocked when reality sets in. And you get that lovely Rove apoplectic fit.

          • Oh, sure, Joe, it happens on both sides. I see.

          • It does. That’s the whole point of what I’m saying. Biased news feeding its audience with non-factual data, Audience buying into it. Audience shocked when things turn out differently. And it goes deeper if you can track along with me. News stations ratings up; owners richer. Audience looking for reasons listening again to the same old biased sources. Increasing partisanship. Problem gets worse.

            You seem to have some cynical attitude about what I’m saying. I don/t get it, actually. You having a hard time following? Or you so locked into your misconceptions that you resist?

          • I was actually agreeing with what you were saying, Joe. You have some problem with that?

          • Well, I guess I misread that by a bunch. I have no problem with you agreeing with what I said. Nope. No problem at all. I retract my snotty reply.

      • UPnnGrd

        Hey, JoeAm… I bet you ‘ll have a hard time…. can you name two of Obama’s failures in his first 4 years of office?

        • I’m wondering why you insist that I do the work that you could easily do yourself. Two mistakes: (1) accepting responsibility for the economy rather than sticking that sucker to Bush for the whole four years, like it deserved to be, (2) blundering the explanation of the Libyan ambassador’s assassination. There are others, too, but I’ve forgotten about them in the glow of his magnificent shine.

          1). Stopped the economic collapse and steadied the economy.

          2) Extracted the U.S. stepwise from Afghanistan and Iraq.

          3) Articulated a health care solution that got Republican approval.

          4) Substantially decimated the al-Qaeda network, including the bold Bin Laden raid.

          5) Recalibrated U.S. diplomacy around the world to being in partnership with other nations rather than pursuing unilateral self-interest (e.g., not taking the lead in Libya).

          Your bonus: It is under his leadership that the Arab Spring arose, and it is not coincidence. He stands as a beacon for freedom and democracy for nations that are not European and white.

          These are profound, profound achievements. Not little itty bitty ones. They are what history will leave uncovered 20 years from now, after we get away from all the partisan sniping and the insecurities people feel about the economy.

          You do the work next time.


  • UPnnGrd

    Looking backwards is helpful, and 2 or 3 weeks or even 3 months of gloating is, well, enjoyable. But soon enough but even the most partisan Obama-yayyts will join the rest of Americans in America , looking and fearful of what happens in 2013 and the year after that. Obama’s Quantitative Easing has not worked, and most Americans don’t give rat’s ass care who to blame, what they consider super-duper great is if the USA job machine starts cranking before the “Let’s bring back to USA those high-paying overseas back!!!” Obama program kicks into high gear.

    • GabbyD

      actually it has worked, but its ok, continue ignoring facts.

      • UPnnGrd

        What metrics do you use?

        • Angel de Dios

          The following piece was published in New York Times about three months ago. Romney does know some of these data and predictions. Not just one group but two, Moody Analytics and Macroeconomic Advisers, predict 12 million new jobs by the end of 2016, with the policies, programs and laws currently in place. That is why Romney has confidence in promising 12 million jobs – it is no coincidence that the numbers promised exactly match the prediction.

          • It’s quite ironic, Angel, that Romney knew and believed that prediction while President Obama and his people did not. They were deriding Romney for his promise of creating 12 million jobs if elected and that was a major campaign issue before the election. And so, are you then insinuating that Obama does not believed his economic policies were not working while Romney does?

          • Angel de Dios

            Of course, President Obama and his supporters agree with the forecast. They are simply pointing out that it has nothing to do with whatever Romney is proposing.

          • Angel, your choice of words made me laugh: “whatever Romney is proposing.” You seem mystified ahahahahaha

          • Angel de Dios

            There is a system called “Orca”, a huge technological endeavor envisioned to keep the Romney camp of what is actually happening on the ground. Unfortunately, the data were just overwhelming that the computer at the heart of the operation kept crashing. Thus, it was already way past midnight after all the major networks have called the election that “Orca” finally gave Romney the data. In more than one way, “Orca” perhaps demonstrates in a vivid fashion what a significant fraction of the country is going through, “living inside a bubble”.

            When one isolates oneself and chooses to listen to only what one wants to hear, significant evidence will be ignored. During election night, I was looking at the early returns from Virginia. Romney was leading by tens of thousands of votes. Yet, 538 of Nate Silver was confident that Virginia will vote for Obama. Numbers do mean something, but to get the right information, critical thinking is required. Virginia’s northern counties’ results always come late, thus, to predict correctly the outcome in Virginia, one must really look at the county level, or even better, at the precinct level. Romney was leading early but he did not have enough to withstand Obama’s numbers that will come later from Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax. The same was true for both Ohio and Florida. Karl Rove’s reaction displayed on Fox shows lack of understanding of statistics and projections. But I am confident and hopeful that the Republicans would soon learn this. After all, the Republicans knew as the Democrats did that only ten states are in play. This country desperately needs Republicans to finally get out of the bubble, face real data, and correctly interpret them. It is still a long way, I must admit, since even with something that is so important to Republicans (that is, winning an election), their incorrect interpretation or lack of respect for data is so outstandingly obvious. What more with climate change, health care, education and economy, when their views on these issues and interpretation of data do not directly concern winning the election contest. If Republicans cannot use data properly and correctly to improve their chances of winning in an election and to plan their strategy, what could we expect from them with regard to analyzing evidence to plan for the future of this country and this planet. Our country needs each and everyone to get out of the bubble.

            A good starting data point is the fact that Obama won eight out of the ten wealthiest counties in the US. The people in these counties are less likely to be receiving food stamps, yet these counties voted overwhelmingly for Obama. This is so much more relevant than obsessing with the popular vote. The popular vote is completely irrelevant since this was never the focus of the campaigns – Obama did not campaign inside the blue states and Romney did not do it inside the red states. Both did get campaign contributions from these states, but this is different from courting votes. With results already obvious – the turnout from these states is more likely to be decided by local initiatives on the ballot (inside these states, even elections for representatives are lopsided), not the presidential election. And the popular vote for the country is very dependent on how many people from Texas and California, for example, actually go to the polls to vote.

          • You should become a political analyst for the Republicans. The problem with people like Rove and Gillaspie is that they are bubble machines rather than realists. They could use your real-world perspective. I enjoyed tracking the votes on CNN’s live map and predicted an Obama win 45 minutes before CNN did. I wan’t as elegant as your thinking. Just charting trends in counties within battleground states. It was rather fun.

          • UPnnGrd

            that blog-commentary was more even keeled so wearing shorts was okay’ed, too. In particular, the blog-commentary took time to print that::

            … Not everyone is so upbeat.

            Jan Hatzius, the chief economist at Goldman Sachs, told me that he has not developed explicit forecasts that go through the end of 2016, but he says he expected …

  • The Republican definition of bipartisanship was best characterized by the late political cartoonist Conrad when he drew his famous sketch of an elephant humping a donkey.

    Republicans are already throwing out their hard and firm and insulting battle cry. Their definition of compromise means the other guy gives up and does it our way.

    But it was a joy to watch crybaby Carl Rove throw his hissy fit on Fox about declaring Obama the winner, revealing for all the world the character of the man behind Bush thinking.

    And when Obama gets out of office in four more years, he can become a preacher. That dude can thump on ideals better than Lincoln or all the priests in the Philippines combined.