A letter from a friend
I finally got around to reading my friend Jim Hughes’ election night email to me and it’s so brilliant, I thought everyone else would enjoy reading it, too. – Ann Coulter
It’s 11:15 p.m. on the West Coast on Election Night, so these are very preliminary thoughts. It’s hard to analyze this election without breaking down all of the demographics, but here goes.
I knew we were in trouble the minute the author of “Condi vs. Hillary” assured me of a Romney landslide.
1) 2004 - I got a lot of flack from my Republican friends for saying it feels like 2004 (but we’re on the other side this time). Here’s what I wrote the day after the health care ruling on June 28th, 2012:
The political ramifications of the decision remain to be seen, but I’m 95 percent sure Romney’s going to lose (and I felt that way before this morning’s decision). This election is starting to feel more and more like 2004. You have an opposition base with intense and vocal hatred of a sitting president and his policies, combined with a president who has some unpopular policies but is personally likable. The challenger is a weak, Northeastern, uber-wealthy candidate, the polling is neck and neck, and Michael Moore is still fat. Sure the economy is in utter shambles, but according to the latest polls 68 percent of people still blame Bush! In 2004, after all was said and done, the more likeable guy won handily. I think we’re headed for a repeat.
Obama’s poll numbers tell the story. Think about the world we’re living in: 16 percent unemployment (using the government’s numbers), 22 percent unemployment (using real numbers), gas prices have doubled in three years, record home foreclosures, 35 percent of homeowners under water, the collapse of virtually every industry, 45 million people on food stamps, and the Kardashians have three shows now! Under these circumstances the president should be polling about 11 percent — instead he’s at 52 percent. It’s mind-boggling. Part of it is that the “blame Bush” strategy we thought wouldn’t work after a year or two is still going strong. The media explains the rest. They invented him, they run defense for him, they prop him up, and they sustain him. If they had ridden him like they rode Bush, then Fast & Furious would be putting the last nail in his coffin right about now.
Pennsylvania is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Here’s a state where Obama famously denigrated the residents by calling them a bunch of hicks who “cling to their guns and religion.” It’s a state that’s very dependent on the coal industry, which Obama has publicly done his best to destroy in three short years. Their unemployment is high and their future is bleak. They should be burning Obama in effigy in the town square, but instead he’s leading Romney by double digits. The class warfare message seems to be resonating in Ohio, and Obama has gone from a deficit to a lead in Florida. Hispandering is working as well — his percentage of the hispanic vote is up over 68 percent now. I know that polls are a horse race, and things will bounce around as November nears, but remember we’re dealing with a president who by all rights should be polling around 11 percent. With Obama the cake is fully baked at this point. The electorate knows who he is (or who the media tells them he is). He even got honest about his support of gay marriage. Short of some huge scandal/catastrophe nothing is going to change public perception of him between now and November. (The media will make sure F&F doesn’t become a scandal). People will get to know Romney better, but let’s be honest – he’s a stiff. Nice guy, but he’s no Chris Christie, and he’s not going to fight like he needs to. Every time he gets even moderately passionate it feels fake — and this is coming from someone who desperately wants him to win. I don’t see anything he could do to cause a sudden rise in his likeability. He could talk about his “48-point economic plan” but it’s quicker for me to take an Ambien. In fact, as the Obama/media machine ramps up their attacks, it’s more likely that Romney’s likeability will fall. Obama’s TV ads in swing states are already telling that story.
The only thing I can see changing things is a complete economic collapse caused by a European financial meltdown, which is not out of the realm of possibility. If something like that happens in Sept/Oct (like it did in Sept 2008) we may have a shot. Of course, then we’ll have much bigger problems to worry about than a Presidential election.
I never been sadder to say I was right – but a personally likeable incumbent beat out a Northeastern stiff. Romney’s a lovely fellow with a great business record. I’m sure I’d love to have him as an elder on the church board. He’d be a great mentor. But he can’t compete with a charming huckster backed by 99 percent of the media/Hollywood/academic establishment, especially when he ran such a toothless campaign. He wasn’t nearly as bad as McCain, but his strategy was basically “sit up there in your checkered shirt and starched jeans, don’t say anything stupid, and wait for the disastrous economy to carry you to victory.” I’ve been saying this for months. It didn’t work. I watched the first debate with 15 other conservatives. We all thought Romney won, but none of us thought he destroyed Obama the way the spinmeisters said. We kept waiting for the real punches and they never came. He allowed Obama to sit up there and lie to 65 million people on Libya during Debate No. 2. During Debate No. 3 he had another chance to go after Obama on Libya and he passed. Did we learn nothing from 2008? Love-tapping Obama doesn’t work. You have to hit him and hit him hard – over and over again, and then hit the media just as hard. We’ve been lulled into such a passive state that we think the little taps we give Obama are punches, but they’re not. Only Chris Christie seems to understand this. But he’s fat.
2) Free Stuff – It’s not just about demographics, it’s about a fundamental shift on the role of government. Americans have always believed that government is a necessary evil. We respect our leaders but we don’t deify them with Maoist posters and creepy songs. Obama has changed all that. For the first time in our history a plurality believes that government can do anything it wants and its primary role is to help you by giving you free stuff. This used to be the belief of a wide swath of minority voters but now as the white lower class has grown (see “Coming Apart”) it’s the view of most people. You can add women to that mix. A disturbingly large amount of women expect free birth control now. This doesn’t become apparent until you talk to some average Independent or Democratic voters. A friend of mine here in California is a perfect example. She dropped out of college. Politically she doesn’t know her ass from her elbow, but she doesn’t see any limit on governmental power. She thinks government can ban plastic bags, light bulbs, and soda, mandate child car-seats – basically do whatever it wants – and someone else should pay for it. When I asked her “Why do you think government has the right to tell us how to live?” she replied, “Why not?” She has no concept of enumerated powers, no concept of limited government, and no concept of personal liberty because our horrible California public school system never taught her any. “You can tell me what to do as long as I get my free stuff (stolen from the evil rich guy)” has become the mantra of over 50 percent of America – of every color.
3) We’ve Lost Our Collective Mind – The reason this election scares me so much is that I fear we’re losing our grip on reality. I thought we were insane as a nation when we took an unknown Leftwinger from the Illinois state senate, who never had a real job in his life, and handed him the keys to the free world. Yet I was comforted by the fact that we’d eventually find out who he really was and oust him. After the last four years, the fact that we’d double down on failure has lead me to believe that we’ve lost our frickin’ minds. For the first time I really worry about my country. If the media can sell us Obama twice, what else can they sell us? My parents just turned 80. They were born in the Great Depression and lived through many rough economic times, including the Carter years. They admit that they’ve never seen an economy this bad, and yet despite everything, people re-elect this guy. Personal finances have always trumped political rhetoric in America – until this moment. People act as if Obama is the Will Smith character from The Legend of Bagger Vance – the mysterious, charming black man is going to come out of nowhere and improve my golf game! Meanwhile, your game goes to hell, but you keep him on anyways.
4) The Media – It’s the big one. It’s sitting out there like an albatross and nobody wants to deal with it. The reason people STILL don’t know who the real Obama is, is because the media has been running defense for him for six years now. They got him elected by lying about his record, and they got him re-elected by lying about his policies. Every major scandal – from Michelle’s vacations to Fast and Furious to Libya, has gone unreported or undereported. He passed an illegal, wildly unpopular healthcare law with procedural trickery on a purely partisan vote (then lied about it in Supreme Court arguments) and the media merely called it “historic.” He ran guns to Mexican drug cartels for Christ’s sake! ANYONE in America – even my goldfish — could win the presidency with that kind of backing. You absolutely can not underestimate having the entire media/Hollywood/academic establishment working for you 24/7 for free. It’s unquantifiable. They create the stereotypes, and more importantly they set the agenda. The media made sure that the campaign was structured around the issues Obama wanted to talk about. Remember it was George Stephanapolous who started the whole “war on women” narrative back during the primaries. If you think that wasn’t concocted in cahoots with the Obama campaign then I’ve got a bridge to sell you. The economy, gas prices, Fast and Furious, the debt, Libya have remained off the front pages of all national papers for the course of the campaign. Instead we’re talking about Sandra Fluke, Big Bird, binders of women, the 47 percent, Seamus the dog, Mitt’s high-school pranks, etc. Things will never get better until we tackle this issue.
5) The Brand – The media has done a phenomenal job of stereotyping Republicans as rich, heartless, racist, gay-hating, historical relics. It’s easy to do when you control 99 percent of entertainment. I can’t think of any group – not even minorities – who are this stereotyped in today’s society. Most liberals I know don’t even vote the issues – they vote the stereotype. Talk to a handful of liberals or spend a few hours on Twitter and you’ll find out I’m right. It’s ironic that the people who think they’re most devoid of stereotyping are the ones who engage in it the most.
Jim Hughes lives in Los Angeles. His Twitter handle is @thejimhughes