Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Week After

Dear George,
We stayed up till after midnight on election night, and we could hardly believe what we were seeing.  Despite the media having described for months a neck-and-neck presidential race that was too close to call, Obama won the Electoral College vote by a sizeable margin, and he got more total votes than he’d gotten against McCain in 2008.  The Democrats increased their majority in the Senate, added seats in the House, and elected the first openly gay Senator (Tammy Baldwin, Wisc.) and three new gay congressmen.  Here in Ohio liberal incumbent Sherrod Brown soundly defeated Tea Party darling Josh Mandel, despite the latter’s receiving 15 million dollars in funding from conservative Super PACs and various rightwing billionaires.  Considering the demographic profile of votes, the election outcomes had a revolutionary tone to them.  Based on exit poll data, Romney won most or all of the traditionally dominant groups in American society: whites (59% for Romney), the wealthy (54% among voters making over $100K per year), males (52%), middle-aged persons (51%), suburbanites (50% to 48%).  In contrast, Obama’s victory rested on a coalition of supposedly low-power and often disenfranchised groups: women (55% for Obama), youth (60% of voters under 30), low-income voters (63% of voters making less than $30K per year), union members, African-Americans (93%), Latinos (over 70%), Asians (over 70%), Arab-Americans, Jews, gays and lesbians, urban-dwellers (62%).  By and large, the Republicans in their post-election statements vacillated between shock, anger, and depression.  The Democrats, though happier, seemed equally amazed.  Here are a few of the things that prominent Republicans and Democrats had to say on election night and the days that followed:  


  • Rush Limbaugh (conservative talk radio host): " The first wave of exit polls came in at five o'clock. I looked at it, and I said ... 'this is utter BS, and if it isn't, then we've lost the country."  (, 11/7)
  • Grover Norquist (Republican lobbyist who got nearly all Republicans in Congress to sign a pledge to not raise taxes): "The president was...elected on the basis that he was not Romney and Romney was a poopy head and you should vote against Romney and he won by two points."   (www.huffingtonpost, 11/12)
  • Sarah Palin (former Alaska governor and Republican VP candidate): "I just cannot believe that the majority of Americans believe that it's OK to ignore the constitution and not have a budget."  (, 11/7)
  • Sheldon Adelson (billionaire casino magnate who spent over $54 million to defeat Obama and other Democrats) [when asked how he thought the money he donated was spent]: "By paying bills.  That's how you spend money.  Either that or become a Jewish husband -- you spend a lot of money."  (, 11/8)  
  • Karl Rove (whose American Crossroads groups spent $300 million supporting Gingrich, Romney, and others): Obama won by “suppressing the vote."  (, 11/10)
  • Richard Viguerie (Republican direct-mail consultant): "In any logical universe, no one would give a dime to their (Rove's and Gillespie's) ineffective super PACs, such as American Crossroads."  (, 11/10)
  • Todd Akin (who claimed in the Missouri Senate race that women's bodies prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape"): “I don’t really have a solution, except for the fact that the Lord’s in charge and our job is not to be bitter about it.” (, 11/7)
  • Richard Mourdock (Indiana Senate candidate who said that, if a woman becomes pregnant from being raped, it's "something that God intended to happen"): "…though I was attacked for it as well -- make no mistake, I stand that all life is precious in the eyes of God."  (, 11/7).  
  • Karen Hughes (former Bush adviser): "If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue."  (, 11/12)
  • Jonathan Collegio (spokesman for Karl Rove's American Crossroads group): "We've lost at least six Senate races in the last two cycles because of sub-optimal candidate quality."  (, 11/8)
  • Laura Ingraham (conservative talk radio host): "Are the defeats the fault of the GOP and its candidates, and do they now need to pander to minorities... No.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.  We don't need to change to appeal to voters.  We need voters and their mindsets to change."  (, 11/11)
  • Steve Schmidt (senior campaign strategist for McCain in 2008): "For too many swing voters, conservatism has come to mean crazy statements, intolerance and loony candidates -- and too often, the elected leadership is afraid of a talk radio industry where the hosts define who is and is not a conservative."  (, 11/11)
  • Bobby Jindal (Louisiana governor and rising Republican star): "We've got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything.  We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys."  (, 11/13)
  • Bill O'Reilly (Fox News host): "The white establishment is now the minority... "    (, 11/11)
  • John Boehner (Republican Speaker of the House):   "If there's a mandate in yesterday's results it's a mandate for us to find a way to work together on the solutions to the challenges we all face as a nation."  (, 11/8)
  • Mitch McConnell (Senate Minority Leader): "Look, he (Obama) may think it would be helpful to his presidency to continue to divide and demonize us.  But my answer will still be short and firm: No.  We won't agree to any tax increases that will hurt the economy."  (, 11/11)
  • Paul Ryan (Republican VP candidate):  "I think we lost because the president did a better job of getting his voters to the polls.  We didn't win.  That's just how it goes sometimes.  Now we've got to make divided government work."  (, 11/12)
  • Mitt Romney (Rep. presidential candidate in his concession speech) "This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation."  (www.washingtonpostcom, 11/7/12)
  • Donald Trump (tweets from the billionaire businessman and Republican primary candidate): "This election is a total sham and a travesty.  We are not a democracy!"  "More votes equals a loss...revolution!"  "Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice!  The world is laughing at us."  (, 11/6)
  • Victoria Jackson (former Saturday Night Live cast member): "America died.  I can't stop crying.  America died...Thanks a lot Christians, for not showing up.  You disgust me."  (, 11/7)


  • Rachel Maddow (MSNBC political program host): "That happened! That really happened. We are not going to have a Supreme Court that overturns Roe v. Wade, there will be no more Antonin Scalias and Samuel Alitos added to this court. We’re not going to repeal health reform, no one is going to kill Medicare, and make old people fight it out for health care on the open market.  We’re not going to give a 20% tax cut to millionaires and billionaires, and expect programs like food stamps and kids’ health insurance to cover the cost of that tax cut. We’re not gonna make you clear it with your boss if you wanna get birth control under the insurance plan you’re on..." (, 11/8)
  • Maureen Dowd (liberal NY Times columnist): “But the more they insulted the president with birther cracks, the more they tried to force chastity belts on women, and the more they made Hispanics, blacks and gays feel like the help, the more these groups burned to prove that, knitted together, they could give the dead-enders of white male domination the boot.”  (, 11/11)
  • Bill Maher (HBO Real Time host): "White people vote for white people like it's going out of style.  And like most things white people do, it's going out of style."  (, 11/10)
  • Julian Zelizer (political historian at Princeton University): "The  '60s culture wars won, and that's a legacy that we're now seeing.  'Doing away with taboos' -- about race, sexuality, drugs and gender roles -- accompanied a rejection of government control over sex and drugs, particularly marijuana.  Most of America, even in the red states, moved in a more liberal direction, even in areas where they're conservative on taxes and government spending."  (, 11/9)
  • Harry Reid (Senate majority leader): No one thought we could do it (maintain a majority in the Senate).  But, as in everything in life, races are not won by sprinters. They’re won by marathoners.”  (, 11/7)
  • Barack Obama (from his victory speech): "We are an American family and we rise and fall as one nation and as one people...Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual.  You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours."  (, 11/7)
  • David Letterman (late night talk show host): "Hey Clint -- f**k you!" (, 11/9)

Frankly, the Republicans seem in complete disarray, with reactions spread all over the map, ranging from cries for more extreme conservative candidates to an expressed need for the party to revise its policies to appeal more to the mainstream and to ethnic minorities.  With women voters outnumbering men, a shrinking size of the white majority, and younger voters clearly favoring the Democrats, the Republican party’s future prospects seem in peril.  The Democrats tended to be a little more gracious after election night, but that’s the prerogative of winners.  The hitch is that the Congress remains just as sharply divided, and the gridlock that has paralyzed legislative function for the past two years may be lodged firmly in place.  With the “fiscal cliff” looming, negotiations during the next month and a half will be the test.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

G-mail Comments
-Donna D (11-17):  david, this is great!  thanks for the quotes...really great.

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