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Tuesday, November 13, 2012 11:59 PM

Hate Mail Before and After Election; Wake-Up Call for Republican Party; Reflections on Extreme Polarization in US; Time to Move On; Rand Paul 2016

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A week has passed since the election. It's time to reflect on the polarization of America, hate mail, and what went wrong for the Republican party, all in a constructive way.

Hate Mail

Hate mail came pouring in to my inbox before and especially after the election. One person wrote a blazing "F U" email. I received some radical attacks regarding abortion.

One person blamed me personally for the election results in a rather threatening manner, (but ambiguously enough to make reporting it useless). Another blamed libertarians.

Liz, a very close friend of mine, received a phone call after the election from one of her close friends stating "Liz, I cannot be your friend anymore because you voted for Obama."

How's that for extreme polarization?

Wake-Up Call for Republican Party

Here's the deal:

I did not abandon the Republican party it abandoned me. In more general terms, the Republican party abandoned women, gays, independents, even Catholics.

As amazing as this may seem, and in spite of the Catholic church position on abortion, Catholic Culture reports Obama Won Catholic Vote. It was not by much, but it is stunning that it happened at all.

Yet this is what happens when views are too extreme. I am very pleased to report 'Red' Indiana sends Democrat to US Senate, as women fled Mourdock.

Mourdock said "God intended" pregnancies that result from rape. Romney was stupid enough to say he still supports Senate candidate after rape comment.

Mistakes Add Up

Extreme views, especially in a close election, are bound to add up, and they did.

I was actually hoping Republicans would pick up two senate seats. Instead they lost two.

In spite of a weak economy, in spite of the fact Obama did not deliver any of his promises on jobs, in spite of the fact unemployment rate is a reported 7.8% (but more like 10.5% in practice), Romney lost the election.

How? By abandoning women, gays, independents, blacks, Hispanics, atheists, Catholics, etc.

Romney's last ditch effort to move towards the middle, coupled with an amazingly bad performance by president Obama in the first debate is the only thing that prevented a complete devastating blowout.

Exactly as I suggested in 90% Chance of Obama Win; Three Things Romney Needs to Win; Election Night Coverage With Mish on National Syndicated Radio, the late deciders swung to Obama.

No one should be surprised by this. I certainly wasn't. After all, it's pretty hard to win an election when you abandon so many groups.

Time to Move On

On Coast-to-Coast  national syndicated radio, election night with George Noory, I commented this was a wake-up call for Republicans. I also commented Mitt Romney and Rush Limbaugh were the past and that it was time to move on.

I propose it's time to stop fighting World War II and the cold war. US military is supreme and will still be supreme with reasonable (even massive cuts). It's time to move on.

Independents want cuts in military spending. The far-right doesn't. It's time to move on.

Independents can go along with some abortion restrictions, but not extreme positions as that espoused by Mourdock. Thanks to Obama's re-election Roe vs. Wade will not be overturned. It's time to move on.

The US cannot afford to keep troops in 140 countries. It's time to move on.

It's time to move on (and to the middle) and to abandon the far-right for so many reason and in so may ways I cannot begin to name them all.

Yet, it's also time to face the facts on entitlements, on public unions, on  pension promises, on collective bargaining, on prevailing wages.

By taking extreme positions on peripheral issues, Republicans abandoned the chance to make much-needed headway in numerous other places including fiscal responsibility, Davis-Bacon (and prevailing wage laws), and ending collective bargaining of public unions.

Future of the Republican Party

The future of the Republican party, as I stated on Coast-to-Coast election night is Rand Paul and other libertarian-minded Republicans.

Thus, I was pleased today to see the POLITICO headline Welcome to the Rand Paul evolution.

He’ll push to loosen marijuana penalties, legalize undocumented immigrants and pursue a less aggressive American foreign policy.

Call it the Rand Paul Evolution.

In the wake of Barack Obama’s reelection win and ahead of a possible 2016 White House bid of his own, the Kentucky Republican plans to mix his hard-line tea party conservatism with more moderate policies that could woo younger voters and minorities largely absent from the GOP coalition. It’s the latest tactic of the freshman senator to inject the Libertarian-minded views shared by his retiring father into mainstream Republican thinking as the party grapples with its future.

In an interview with POLITICO, Paul said he’ll return to Congress this week pushing measures long avoided by his party. He wants to work with liberal Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy and Republicans to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for pot possession. He wants to carve a compromise immigration plan with an “eventual path” to citizenship for illegal immigrants, a proposal he believes could be palatable to conservatives. And he believes his ideas — along with pushing for less U.S. military intervention in conflicts overseas — could help the GOP broaden its tent and appeal to crucial voting blocs that handed Democrats big wins in the West Coast, the Northeast and along the Great Lakes.
Rand Paul 2016

This is welcome news. Had Romney won, we would have been stuck with Romney running again in 2016.

Instead, Republicans have the chance to purge the war-mongers, purge the Rush Limbaugh clones, purge the extremists of all kinds, and get down to fiscal-conservative business.

Please read the rest of that POLITICO story because Rand Paul is the future.

For more on the need to address the budget, including a brief mention of Rand Paul, please see Misdiagnosing the Fiscal Cliff; Shrill Voices and Economic Nonsense; Tyranny of Balanced Budgets

One Final Thought

Here is one final thought on the polarization of the US. A very close life-long friend offered these comments on the hate mail that I received:

"Unfortunately an ethic has developed where it’s OK to yell at people with whom you don’t agree. In fact, it’s considered manly and admirable in some quarters. All these extremist jackasses that believe it courageous to talk about advancing their position with force. Of course, they’ve never lived in a place where that actually happens."

Please read that last paragraph again and again (especially the last two sentences) until it sinks in.

Embrace the Opportunity

Had Romney won, there would have been no chance to move on. Now there is. That is the best thing to come out of this election.

Republicans need to embrace the opportunity to move on that this loss provides.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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