Debunking wingnut post-election spin November 6, 2008Posted by Evil Bender in News and politics, wingnuts.
Conservatives, faced with the massive failures of their own governance and the collapse of their Randian economics, are desperately seeking some way that the massive kicking they took on Tuesday somehow validates, rather than repudiates, thier signature issue.
Karl Rove thinks the massive stomping the Right took means America is, you guessed it, right wing:
It is a tribute to his skills that Mr. Obama, the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate, won in a country that remains center-right. Most pre-election polls and the wiggly exits indicate America remains ideologically stable, with 34% of voters saying they are conservative — unchanged from 2004. Moderates went to 44% from 45% of the electorate, while liberals went to 22% from 21%.
I suppose that’s easier than admitting your “permanent majority” was a joke. Club for Growther and ultra-wingnut Pat Toomey takes a similiar line:
A poll commissioned by the Club for Growth in 12 swing congressional districts over the past weekend shows that the voters who made the difference in this election still prefer less government — lower taxes, less spending and less regulation — to Sen. Obama’s economic liberalism.
So let’s examine how the new wingnut memes stack up against reality.
First, let’s look at Rove’s numbers. What he leaves out in his “more conservatives than liberals in exit polling” is that moderates, who make up almost half the electorate, voted heavily in favor of Obama, a black man who the McCain campaign desperately tried to portray as a “spread the wealth” socialist/Marxist. So all this spin is a desperate attempt to gloss over this fact that this “center-right” country voted heavily in favor of the man Rove tried desperately to cast as “OMG MOST LIBERAL EVAR OH NOES!!1!!”
Furthermore, most voters are either aligned with Obama’s politics or to his left: half of voters thought Obama’s positions were “about right,” and 4% thought they were too conservative. 44% thought they were too liberal. Only that last group broke for McCain. So the majority of the “center-right” country is comfortable with Obama’s political stance and voted that way.
Furthermore, voters who listed the economy as the most important issue (63% of voters) broke to Obama, as did those who thought energy policy, Iraq, and health care, respectively, were the most important issue. McCain carried only one group: those who were most concerned about terrorism. It seems the American people are much more closely aligned on policy with that “most liberal” Obama.
(No doubt Rove takes all this as evidence that McCain wasn’t conservative enough.)
There’s much more: Independents favored Obama 52%/44%, and 7% more people identified with the “liberal” Democratic party than the Republican party.
Most damning to Toomey’s “lower taxes, less spending and less regulation argument” is that it glosses over the truth: Americans want their government to do more, not less. And those who felt this way, no surprise, heavily favored Obama. They’re not voting for smaller government and less taxes: they’re voting for better government, government more responses to their needs, especially in the midst of the economic crisis.
I’ll give Toomey this: Americans in general do like less taxes. Which makes it all the more interesting that those who make over $200,000 favored Obama over McCain, despite being the group who would most benefit from McCain’s regressive tax plan.
75% of Americans think America is on the wrong track after eight years of Republican rule. Toomey tries to spin this as Bush not being Conservative enough, but those who think that the country is on the wrong track overwhelmingly prefered the “liberal” Obama.
Among those who reported voting on the issues (60% of the electorate), Obama captured 60% of the vote, while only those who thought “personal qualities” (39%) favored McCain. It seems voters endorsed Obama’s ideas, not his personality.
As for regulation, the exit polls did not specifically address that question, but another poll indicates that 70% of the American people think that not enough regulation is at fault for our economic problems:
At least 70% of respondents in each of a wide range of demographic categories blame the absence of more regulation for the nation’s economic troubles.
So American’s favor Obama on the issues, and overwhelmingly favored his leadership when it came to the economy, health care, and Iraq. They want an expanded role for government, and more government regulation over our collapsing economy. The evidence is clear: despite the spin Rove and his wingnut allies try to put on this, voters endorsed Obama’s positions over those of McCain’s.
In other words, the American people rejected Conservative ideology overwhelmingly, in favor of left-center ideas.
But despite all this, I hope Conservative keep making the “center-right” argument. Until they realize that the American public does not care for their signature positions (banning abortion, tiny government, tax cuts for the wealthy and deregulation) they won’t even start seriously looking for a way to be relevant again.