Thursday, November 15, 2012

Romney is just digging his hole deeper...

In a phone call to some of his campaign donors on Wednesday, Mitt Romney managed to dig his hole even deeper than it already was and has, in the process, started to turn even those who supported him in the election against him quite vocally.

Making excuses for his loss, Mitt first and foremost said that he thinks Obama won the election last week because he gave stuff to minorities and women. Essentially, this is his "47 percent" argument all over again. It doesn't work any better now than it did then.

But that isn't his only excuse. He also blames too many debates during the primaries, which "opened us up to gaffes and to material that could be used against us in general." He wants his party to cut short its primary process to avoid this.

My reaction to this? Mitt, if you hadn't made those "gaffes" in the first place and hadn't said things that were stupid and changed your positions on issues on a distressingly regular basis, maybe the Democrats wouldn't have had so much to use against you. Just sayin'.

Mitt also criticized the networks that hosted his debates with President Obama, saying those networks, including CNN and NBC, were just showcasing "liberals beating the heck out of us." If that was what was going on, Mitt didn't seem to be hesitating to give them plenty of ammunition to beat him with.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Republican Governors' Association in Las Vegas (what? they figure that after how the election turned out for them, their luck has to get better, and soon?) Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour both rejected Mitt's assessment.

Jindal also said that the Republicans need to "make serious changes" and called for his party to "modernize". Of course, this does not mean that Jindal, or any Republicans on the right have had a change of heart about their core values, and it could well be that Jindal especially is mostly about positioning himself for a run at the White House in four years.

However, he did also distance himself from campaign remarks made by losing senatorial candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock regarding rape, comments which many found shocking and lost both men their races. He called those comments about "legitimate rape" (from Akin) and that if a woman gets pregnant from a rape "that's what God intended" (from Mourdock) "offensive and inexcusable."

No matter his agenda, Jindal is the first anti-choice officeholder, as far as I can recall, to repudiate these remarks, and he should be given credit for that. Jindal went on to say, "I'm pro-life. I try to follow the teachings of my faith and church [Jindal is a Roman Catholic], but I don't think we have any business trying to demonize those we disagree with. I think we can be respectful."

If I've never agreed with anything else Jindal has ever said (and as far as I know, I haven't), I completely agree that demonizing "the other side", on any issue, is the wrong way to go about public discourse.

For both sides, because I'm realistic enough to know that the left often doesn't hesitate to demonize, too. It's just as wrong when they do it. I'll call all sides for doing and saying stupid things. But demonizing anyone in an argument is not a productive way to win your oppposition over.

It remains to be seen exactly how seriously Jindal means his remarks, and if any others in the Republican right will follow his lead and repudiate the "I'm right and you're evil and God hates you" approach so much of the far right seems so fond of. But at least he, and at least for the moment, isn't following lockstep the "we didn't say anything wrong" line that Akin and Mourdock asserted in the wake of their comments.

Not that the GOP is really playing nice, even in the wake of their defeats last week, hurling very ugly charges over the recent attack in Libya. But that's another discussion for another post. Right now, I just want to believe that somewhere, some Republican politicians are becoming a little more reasonable. I really don't understand why they can't be...most of the Republicans I know in real life are really very reasonable people.


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