Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Donate

Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

GOP’s miscalculations are adding up as 2012 fast approaches

In the aftermath of Barack Obama’s presidential victory in 2008, a new landscape started to appear for concerned conservatives. After 40-plus years of pushing the politics in this country to the right, the inevitable push back to the left was looking more likely. Concerned over their strong conservative advances potentially being undermined, Republican politicians and their financial backers came up with a sure-fire strategy to win the White House back in 2012, but their plan has run into some problems, namely their lack of an electable candidate and their underestimation of the public’s reaction to the right’s anti-Obama, anti-social program agenda.
   
In the power vacuum that emerged after the second Bush administration left office in 2008, the right seemed to be mired in a level of disbelief about how, after having complete control of all levels of government a mere two years earlier, did it all seem so far in the past. Not only was the government in the hands of the left, but also the conservatives’ control over the U.S. Supreme Court was in serious jeopardy. If only one of the five conservative justices decided to retire, then the “businesses as citizens, pro unlimited election spending” rulings that have helped the right maintain control could be reversed. The right needed a game plan.
   
After midterm wins, blueprint’s flaws started to appear
Conservative leaders saw the ulterior motive-tinged birthers, screaming at the top of their lungs to get media attention, as potential. Focusing on a Libertarian themed political ideology, seemingly unlimited cash from right-leaning friends and the fight against health-care reform, they morphed anti-Obama and anti-left anger into the Tea Party movement, creating a pseudo grass-roots campaign that ended up fueling major political gains in the midterm elections. The right was set for the 2012 elections, but it was at this point the flaws in their blueprint for success started to appear.

The right knew the majority of presidential election coverage in 2011 would focus on the Republican candidates and the endless series of debates seeming to have been designed to create unlimited coverage of their issues. The one major problem they had was an undefined candidate, something the right hasn’t had to deal with much since 1976. The thought that one sure-fire winner would emerge in 2011, and, in turn, make 2012 a mere coronation of GOP leadership has been tripped up by un-excitement for the front runner (Romney), inexperience in politics (Cain), questionable political and moral decisions (Perry), a fringe political viewpoint (Paul), an extreme right social agenda (Bachmann), disinterest (the remaining field) and a fear of Obama’s campaign ability. As of today, the right has numerous candidates but no clear front-runner that would be able to unite the extremes of the party.
    
The Republicans anti-Obama strategy was simple: pass nothing he recommended and demand he and the Democrats only vote for unedited Republican bills. The idea was to make the left look like they’re the ones holding up aid for the country’s neediest, but this has been a miscalculation by the Republicans. Currently, many Americans are being hurt by the lack of jobs in this country. Many have been unemployed for years or have been forced to accept a low-wage job to replace their past middle-class wages. They struggle as they see the Republicans consistently say “NO” to any level of help. The right’s desire to defeat Obama has made them oblivious of the real pain they are causing, and has allowed the resurgence of the left’s grass-roots sector in the form of the Occupy movement.

Biggest misstep: Claiming mandates after 2010
But the largest miscalculation the right has made was to try to turn Republican wins in 2010 into mandates for extreme social change. Extreme anti-union legislation in Wisconsin and Ohio have backfired on the Republican governors who now look like political Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hydes;  seniors who thought they were joining the Tea Party to preserve their rights are now flabbergasted at the demands that they end Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, and far right social ballot initiatives are being met with a reluctance to endorse the political agenda that is attached to them.

It’s almost as if the Republicans are acknowledging the impending swing back to the left in this country by attempting one last power grab for the conservative brass ring.

As of today, many Republicans are seeing their poll numbers drop and watching as ambivalence is settling in on their political ticket for 2012. If the right continues the major missteps of the last year, the question will become not whether Obama will win a second term, but rather how much of a landslide will the left have in a political year when they should be struggling.

Matthew McNeil is the 6 p.m. weeknight host on AM 950, KTNF.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 11/15/2011 - 08:38 am.

    Here’s another one to add to your fine list of miscalculations: the Republicans assume the people will not hold them to account for their willingness to sink the country to gain political advantage. It borders on treason.

  2. Submitted by Bruce Shaw on 11/15/2011 - 09:03 am.

    The majority of Americans seem willing to support candidates who fall mildly to the left or right but not those who move wildly to the extremes. While who choose extremism may get the media coverage, those who exhibit an innate sense of core competency seem to be more electable. Why does that take so long to sink in?

  3. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/15/2011 - 10:21 am.

    McNeil’s observations of the GOP’s political positions are as indightful as those of a five year old surprising his parents in bed.

    Ohio is one of the last strongholds of unionism; it’s no mystery why they voted to uphold the public sectors’ right to shake the public down.

    Many Buckeyes that are now of voting age were kids when unions finally drove the steel industry offshore and reduced Cleveland to a rusting hulk…all they remember is that dad had to sell the cabin and couldn’t retire until he was 65. They’re getting in a bit of pay-back, which is fine, since they’ll be the ones footing the bill.

    And the Occupy “movement”? Heh… Let’s recap it’s notable list of accomplishments to date, shall we?

    Two murders

    Numerous assaults

    At least one rape

    Thousands of dollars in property damage

    Public masterbation

    Public defecation

    Mounds of garbage

    And let us not forget; lice.

    Yeah, they’ve really got the attention of the country all right!

  4. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 11/15/2011 - 11:50 am.

    Since so much of Swiftee’s smut depicts “masterbation” – you’d think he would learn to spell the word…

    And of course there is the obligatory union slam that is absurd. This coming from a resident of Cleveland’s sister city Pittsburgh. Swift has NO idea of the benefits that unions provided to workers in coal mines and steel mills in the forties and fifties. To claim that Cleveland’s current situation is the result of unions is an absurdity. If this is true, why is Pittsburgh doing so well.

    And finally.

    Mr. Swift’s comments are a perfect example of the points of the author in writing this post.

    “But the largest miscalculation the right has made was to try to turn Republican wins in 2010 into mandates for extreme social change.”

    Your attempt at misdirection here is failing Mr. Swift. The pendulum will swing back in 2012 now that the actual goals of the right have been exposed.

  5. Submitted by rolf westgard on 11/15/2011 - 02:17 pm.

    Right on, Mr. Gleason.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 11/15/2011 - 07:36 pm.

    I guess I’d expect a resident of Pittsburgh to live there…maybe such confusion explains why Gleason is unaware of the booming medical industry in his city of “residence”.

    Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Museum isn’t quite the same thing…

    And I’ve no quarrel with the fact that steel worker unions rained down benefits on members in the 50’s & 60’s…until they broke the back of the industry.

    Same thing is happening in Detroit right now…the UAW has chased everyone off to greener pastures.

    Kind of my point, y’know Prof?

  7. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 11/15/2011 - 10:14 pm.

    Kasich’s mistake was to make it a sweeping power grab rather than simply setting new rules on public sector contracts. A lot of people in Ohio like the idea of unions, even if they aren’t in one. Kasich overplayed his hand.

  8. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 11/16/2011 - 07:41 am.

    You really are dense, Mr. Swift. My first job was at the University of Pittsburgh medical school, so I am quite aware of Pittsburgh’s attachment to medical industry. And it doesn’t just stop there.

    The point is – since you don’t seem to get it – that Cleveland is not a rust heap because “duh unions done it.” Pittsburgh and Cleveland shared the same union situation in the past.

    And yet Pittsburgh thrives while Cleveland dies. Not the unions fault.

    Sorry to bore our gentle readers, but Swiftee is a little slow.

    Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Museum, of course, is irrelevant.

    But that’s the point, isn’t it…

Leave a Reply