BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
While pundits everywhere are assessing the blame and the rewards, and awarding accolades and censures to antagonist parties and their leaders, let us properly frame this election what it actually was – a remarkable success for the rightwing media.
This election was not a repudiation of Barack Obama’s agenda, upon which he was overwhelmingly elected just two years earlier. The election was not an endorsement of the Republican Party’s obstructive policy of negativism toward everything.
Studies indicate that the majority of voters never really understood Obama’s legislative proposals for such intricate problems as health care, unemployment, the banking system crisis and regulation, stimulus program, or any of the other major initiatives. Although in the election of Obama in 2008, voters gave positive affirmation to generalities and principles of corrective action, they had never seen the details nor did they ever comprehend the legislative process by which a cobbled version of these appeared.
Indeed, voters never understood the proposals or the enactments, even though some became vociferously and viciously antagonistic. How did so many voters go from being basically in favor of fundamental changes in reforming our health care system to a position of totally rejecting an enactment which contained features they had previously endorsed – without ever giving the careful study to be informed? This brings us to a most significant understanding of the meaning of the election, which appears to be forgotten by many who pontificate as political pundits and columnists.
The fact is that the voters did not reject Obama’s programs on health care, nor most of his other proposals for solution to America’s problems! Instead, voters rejected the caricatures of Obama programs shown in the media. Some may have also rejected the caricatures of Obama himself, as depicted to them constantly by the rightwing Republican media.
Obstructionist Republicans made no serious proposals for any of the problems facing the nation. They opposed the effort to stop collapse of the banking system, popularly identified by them as “the Wall Street bailout.” [Nobody notices now that all that money has been paid back.] Likewise they objected to saving America’s auto industry, a success which has also mostly been repaid. When gobs of campaign money came to them from lobbyists, Republicans tried to emasculate or kill the banking regulatory and consumer protection bill. Although the stimulus bill successfully created enough jobs to reverse the loss trend, Republicans have vilified that as “wasteful spending” while grabbing projects for their own states.
None of this logically adds up to anything but a success for the Democrats, yet the Republicans have painted a picture of an over-reaching, socialistic government abusing its power, regulating and taking away freedoms from the “people,” anti-business, and not in the nation’s best interest. We have seen the Hitler mustaches and insulting signs. Their media outlets handled those lies for them for them so repetitively well that gullible voters have swallowed it.
Mainstream media are not exempt from blame in the spreading of false and misleading information to the public. Unfounded accusations have no place in the news of ethical journalists and stations. Outright bias and criticism, flying in the face of contradictory facts, have no right to demand news coverage from honest media. Nevertheless, in addition to their own wholly-owned media, such as Fox and rightwing radio, the Republicans have been able to enjoy a prosperous, but undeserved, pulpit from the mainstream media. One wonders why?
Unfortunately, Republicans and their media were not satisfied with their advantage such free and donated time on the air. They also wanted to buy the airwaves for their candidates and their version of the issues. Obliging them, five Republicans on the Supreme Court ruled that individuals, groups, and corporations could donate unlimited sums in the support of favored candidates and issues.
From this came a unending plethora of attack advertising like never seen before. In highly contested districts, the blitz must have been a veritable nightmare. No one knows just how much was spent on supporting Republican candidates by sources outside their district, outside their state, and even outside the country. Sums gathered by such groups as the U.S. Chamber, Rove’s group, Tea Party support groups, and others with patriotic sounding names passed well over the $150 million mark at last count. No one really knows because there are no required legal records of either the amounts or the donors. Republicans blocked that disclosure from a vote in Congress.
What a shady way to run an election! Money in the hundreds of millions coming from unidentified sources remaining anonymous in the shadows – is this democracy?
This is certain to bring government by special interest groups with big money – operated in the interests of people with big money. A hundred million – or two or three – is chump change if it does nothing but save these same people $700 billion in taxes over the next 10 years by extending the Bush tax cuts favoring them over average citizens. [Look no further for reasons why they hate Obama.]
Yes, this election was a big victory for the Republican media and the special interests, and it was a big money maker for the mainstream media owners.
– Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer