The Critical Mass

The old election clichés are dead

We live with clichés. Cliché’s are comfortable and easy. But that doesn’t mean we can’t walk away from them when they’ve outlived their usefulness. Remember “Think outside the box?” Haven’t heard that one in a while. The first time I heard “24/7,” it sounded like a cliché. And if one more waitress walks up to me in the middle of a meal and asks, “Still workin’ on that?”  I’m gonna fire my fork into the ceiling tiles.

President Obama’s re-election Tuesday night is a fine opportunity to bury some clichés. That is, once the monumental degree of Tuesday’s election has registered with people.

It’s time for the self-appointed experts to shelve 2012 campaign phases such as “optics” and “double down.” Most of these pundits were wildly off target with their election analysis anyway, so we don’t need to speak their codes.  By both the electoral vote and popular vote, Obama’s victory was much more convincing than any of them predicted. If there was a thing such as professional accountability in media, we would never again have to hear the arch voices of Dick Morris, Peggy Noonan, Bill Kristol, George Will or Mark Halperin. Because they are all regurgitating hacks, and they were all wrong.

Tuesday’s election results should have been a no-brainer. The Obama campaign was backed by Nobel Prize winners in economics (Joseph L. Stiglitz), Grammy winners (Bruce Springsteen), Pulitzer Prize winners (Toni Morrison), neurobiologists (David Hubel), heavyweight champs (Muhammad Ali), best-selling celebrity chefs (Anthony Bourdain)  and the creator of The West Wing (Aaron Sorkin). Romney had Meat Loaf, Ted Nugent and Clint Eastwood yelling at an empty chair.

Now it’s Wednesday, and we can stop taking Mitt Romney seriously. Quit pretending that he ever had serious plans for the economy, education, the health of the people of this nation.

The pro-rape candidates for Congress, Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana, both lost. Tea Party dreamboats Joe Walsh of Illinois and Allen West of Florida lost. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota nearly lost. Senate candidates George Allen in Virginia, Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Josh Mandel in Ohio and Connie Mack in Florida all lost.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and  members of his family gave $53.69 million to Republican candidates. And all six candidates that Adelson supported… lost. Instead, minorities and women made their voices heard in this election.

I’m not a big fan of putting civil rights and social issues to the vote: If we had done that with civil rights in the 1960s, rather than using the courts to get it done, we might have seen “Whites Only” drinking fountains for another 10 years. But in this election, Americans should be applauded for acting like mature adults who don’t sit in judgment of others. They approved bills supporting recreational marijuana use and gay marriage. An openly gay senator, Tammy Baldwin, was elected in Wisconsin.

South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham may be onto something when he said on Tuesday night that there aren’t enough “angry white men”out there anymore to sustain the Republican Party.

Tuesday was a Democratic love fest. Alan Grayson of Florida lost his seat in the House of Representatives in the Tea Party wave of 2010. He won it back on Tuesday night in resounding fashion. Grayson is famous for quotes like this one about Dick Cheney: “I have trouble listening to what he says sometimes, because of the blood that drips from his teeth while he’s talking.” It’ll be good to have Grayson back.

Democrats have suddenly embraced the idea of loudly taking pro-life and pro-gay marriage positions, realizing that Americans are increasingly endorsing these rights as well. Elizabeth Warren celebrated her liberal intellect, and now she’s a new senator from Massachusetts.

This makes two straight elections in which Obama’s campaign promises have included raising taxes on the rich. He’s won both elections. That sounds like a mandate for Thurston Howell III to crack open his wallet.

So much of the post-election analysis feels like the same old clichés. Republicans, whose spokesmen were Donald Trump and the certifiably loopsy former Saturday Night Live comedian Victoria Jackson, may want to blame a candidate for president who wasn’t conservative enough, or an ill-timed storm on the East Coast that allowed Obama to be his presidential best. But really, whether the ossifying Republicans admit it or not, America is slowly evolving into a 21st-century liberal nation.

%d bloggers like this: