Most of the Fox News pundits who gave way to "conventional wisdom" partisanship, and clinging to ideas of the past not only got election 2012 wrong, they continue to misunderstand what happened. These pundits would be well-advised to read PolicyMic, and pay attention to what people and politicians do and say every day, not just during election season.
Bill O'Reilly, who had the common sense not to try to predict election results in advance, now thinks the election means that whites are on the way out. Dick Morris ignored the 2004 election, and predicted a Romney landslide based in the conventional wisdom that Democrats were oversampled, and undecided voters always go for the challenger, not the incumbent.
O'Reilly, a student of history whose books currently top the bestseller lists, should go back to his roots and think about what this election really means. Americans voted for Barack Obama's re-election in the same way they voted to re-elect George W. Bush in 2004. I think it was even closer in the sense that the election turnout was a lot of "base" for both parties. Only the people who were furious this time around weren't die-hard partisans for the "liberal" agenda and Kerry's line of goods. They were people fed up with the lousy economy, sick of ludicrously wasteful spending, and mistrustful of the Obama administration.
Mistrust, disgust, exhaustion and voting by staying home characterized this election, not hordes of Obama phone recipients eager to get more freebies.
Another way to put this is: There are so many people on food stamps not because they love trying to live on $500 a month, but because the economy is still terrible. Jobs still aren't out there. People didn't think Mitt Romney had the answers. Instead, they thought he'd be more of the same and probably worse. So many people stayed home that it ought to be a wake-up call for both parties.
Will it be a wakeup call for both parties? Probably not. But there's a change in the air because necessity is the mother of all invention.
The change didn't happen this time, and it probably shouldn't happen the way in did in 2003 in California's recall election, when the aptly-named Gray Davis was recalled, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was swept in by lots of votes, even with a challenge from serious fiscal conservative Tom McClintock.
The map of California counties and how they voted in 2003 tells an interesting story. On the left, are the counties that voted for, or against, recalling the dreadful Governor Gray Davis, who is the author of nearly all of the state's financial problems today. Davis was recalled because he tripled car registration fees in one year: really bad move in a state where everyone drives.
These same counties, and pretty much the same people (even though some have died in the interim) just voted to re-elect Barack Obama. They voted for John Kerry for president in 2004, and they voted for Barack Obama again yesterday. They also made the state's taxes the highest in the nation, in Jerry Brown's vain attempt to sate the cash hunger of the state's prison guard union and other public employee pensions.
The map on the right tells a different story, because it was the ballots cast for Gray Davis' replacement on the same day he was recalled. The Democrats lost half of their support in the Bay Area Most importantly, Los Angeles County went for Schwarzenegger, not Bustamonte. The hardcore red counties voted narrowly for staunch fiscal conservative Tom McClintock. McClintock and Schwarzenegger got 5,367,571 votes from Californians in 2003, as compared to 5,581,991 votes for Barack Obama in 2012. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected by Republicans, Democrats and Independents, and he got plenty of votes from young, non-white people and women.
If people want to know what will happen to America if it turns 100% blue and is governed by corruptocrats, weaklings and fools of both parties, they really do need to look no farther than the Golden State. Everything conservatives warned of has happened in California, and it continues to worsen.
The problem wasn't people's necessary votes for change in 2003. The problem was the Gubernator talked a great game and played a horrible one.
He was as well-qualified as he's always been to play the Terminator, but unqualified to be governor. He proceeded to do nothing that he said he'd do before being elected, except set up a cigar smoking tent outside his office, and to do plenty of things he'd never talked about, including rolling over for the permanent corruptocrats in Sacramento of both parties, every union boss imaginable, and most significantly for people's jobs, sponsoring and passing the "Global Warming Final Solutions Act," which has devastated the state's economy, cleaned up nothing whatsoever, and cost untold jobs. Now my students can't transfer to a UC or Cal State school because there's no room for them, and even if they could, they can't afford the tuition. Once they graduate, they get to share shifts at Starbucks, or stock shelves at Trader Joe's.
I live in California. I was born and raised here, and I am a fifth generation native who speaks Spanish and grew up in a small town barrio. I worked there for over 10 years, and then spent six more years working to develop housing and jobs for people in Central and South Los Angeles. And I can say that the fears of people who aren't white-skinned and who "receive aid" just voting to get more of it are not only offensive and racist, they are just plain wrong.
Dick Morris made his wrong prediction because he is the typical know-it-all political remora (aka "hanger-on") of his generation, and a peculiarly vociferous one. He isn't just susceptible to the "common wisdom." He's a very persistent and loud purveyor of it. Bill O'Reilly steps into manure every time he strays from his common sense and knowledge of history. Common sense should tell him that the majority of people are decent. If fault is to be laid at the foot of the "folks," it's that they are too trusting.
Barack Obama won this election because he has been the president for the past four years, and because most people are reluctant to throw a guy out unless they have a great alternative. Mitt Romney just was not that. He almost came to seem like that — but he was not that.
And in this individual case, people were probably right. Mitt Romney probably would not have been up to the monumental task of governing better. And now, we are in a situation where we are all paying the price for years of inattention, apathy and lack of engagement in governance and public life.
Just one more reason why Bill O'Reilly and Dick Morris are pundits of the past, and PolicyMic is the voice of the future. See, the big change is this: people need to stop listening to what others say, and pay attention to what they do, not just on election day, but every day.
Clint Eastwood had it right: politicians and government employees do work for us. And everybody should know what happens in the workplace where the boss never shows up and never pays attention.