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Why 2012 Will Be a “Close” Election

Guest Post: By Joan Ruaiz

I so wish I could tell you that the upcoming general election will be close, and that it will be due to the life-and-death seriousness of the issues as they relate to our economy, the environment and our foreign policy — but I cannot honestly say this.  I do believe that the 2012 election will be close, but for the wrong reasons; one being that it is how media conglomerates generate large sums for themselves during an election year.  So when the media crows again how this will not only be close, but the most expensive ever, don’t think they aren’t at the same time counting on the millions they will earn throughout.

We must understand that the protracted Obama-Hillary primary wars of 2008 were a boon to media coffers!  Couple that with the birth of the limitless Super PACs (thanks to our Republican-dominated SCOTUS), and you can easily see what I see: media mavens relying on  their potential earnings after facing lean advertising years. If you hadn’t thought about it before, think about it now, while closely observing how desperately reporters are handling the Republican primaries. It may seem quite entertaining at the moment (to some of us), but I would respectfully suggest that we ought to be preparing for what is to come in the general.

Speaking of the current sorry-ass Republican primaries, it is mighty strange that although there is only one halfway electable Republican left standing, we are now witnessing a media-termed “horse race” as we head toward Super PAC-spending Tuesday. It’s not because the alternative candidates to Romney are actually worth anything (because they aren’t); it is because the faster the Republican Primaries end, the less money the Super PAC will spend, and that would greatly reduce the media’s anticipated advertising windfall.

Look, it’s no accident that the media has been all over candidate Romney since his big win in New Hampshire.  At the exact time the announcement was made that Mitt held an insurmountable double-digit lead in South Carolina polls, the corporate media got hella serious!   To add to the media’s trouble, GOP candidates were dropping like flies, Mitt Romney reeked of the inevitable stench, and the primary season was ending before it had started.  But by golly, all was not lost, as we witnessed the re-resurrection of the twice-fallen Newt in just 7 days!  I will add that this wasn’t an easy get by any means. Just ask Ginger Chuckie on MSNBC; he seemed quite exhausted with that renewed Newt surge!

Yes, truth be told, our poor corporate media has had the hardest time coming up with a plausible scenario to get that primary GOP Super PAC money bomb coming their way, considering what they were given to work with! It isn’t typical of our media to get so resourceful as to report on the manner in which a GOP millionaire candidate built his fortune, or to just allow GOP candidates to be dumb enough to literally destroy each other, after all that St. Reagan preached on that subject!  The media corporations, after all, are not left-leaning, nor have they been for quite some time.  No, the media corporations lean green with greed, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to forget that.

As for the general election of 2012, we have already been repeatedly warned that it will be close due to the economy, and it has been left at that. It is a mantra that too many of us sheepishly agree with. But, come to think of it, wasn’t it the Republican Party who brought upon this nation the worst recession since the Great Depression? Wasn’t it largely Republicans who deregulated our financial institutions, which brought us to our knees? And aren’t they now promising us more of that, and calling it “restoring America”?

Wasn’t it the Republican Party who started an unjustified war via lies trumpeted by our media, and kept the war’s spending off the books for all the years they could, while still to this day proclaiming “cowboy diplomacy” as the only way to go?

Wasn’t it the Republican Party who brought us the tax cuts for the rich, and yet is still proposing tax cuts for the rich as the remedy to the original fiasco? And what about the Medicare drug programs that wasn’t paid for, meant to destroy Medicare by not allowing government drug price negotiations in their legislation?

Wasn’t it Republicans who recently claimed that deficits were their priority concern, deficits that they themselves expanded widely during their eight years of power?

Isn’t it the Republican Party which now vilifies American victims of the great GOP recession, using unemployment benefits as a bludgeon against the jobless, shaming those in need of food stamps, and using outright racial stereotypical slurs in so doing?

Aren’t those Republicans, who, with one hand on their bible, refuse to even consider lending the other hand to their brothers and sisters who happen to be “the lesser” among us?

Isn’t it the Republican Party that assailed our teachers, police and firefighters’ unions and their pensions, as they stay busy laying off many of those same workers at a time of high unemployment?

Wasn’t that a  Republicans audience who cheered Americans dying in the streets for lack of health care, and booed our brave soldiers?

Isn’t it the Republican Party that believes that corporations are people, that money is speech, and that hailed the Citizens United decision as justice served?

Isn’t it Republicans who work diligently at separating the United States by race, creed, religion and sexual orientation, while claiming that discussing income inequality is simply envy and a topic best whispered about in quiet, dark rooms?

Yes, that was all brought to us by the Republican Party. And wait, there’s more…

For the past three years, as most in the Democratic Party have attempted to save this country from a financial abyss while being fought tooth and nail by 99.9% of Republicans (plus 20% Republican-lite), we have observed how Democrats have had to argue and fight for benefits paid in and previously guaranteed to the American people. By now, we should see clearly which party is against jobs programs that would benefit the nation during these very difficult times. We really do know who saved the auto industry and all the jobs associated with it.

We understand who got Bin Laden, ended the Iraq War, passed health care and financial reforms, is ready to cut defense spending and has indeed created jobs despite government job cuts at the state level.  We have an inkling as to who proposed immigration reform, as well as a logical  energy solution, and who opposed all such things.

… and yet, “they” tell us that the election will be “close”?

WTF????

Let us be clear that a corporate media which spent 2.5 years promoting a figment of the GOP’s wettest astroturf dream, the Tea Party, and a long decade of appealing to our worst fears, is not our friend.  So please, note that the corporate media is not currently reporting on one of Willard Romney’s many sleazy undersides because they are out to expose the truth.  They are not marketing a doubly repentant but still hypocritically arrogant Newt because forgiveness is in their hearts. The media is not ignoring the blatant racial dog whistles emanating from Republican mouths simply because they don’t hear them.

No, the media knows exactly what it is doing and it has nothing to do with the best interests of Americans. All one has to hear to really get where media is coming from is the noise of cha-ching! It really is that simple. It is what they do, because it is how they earn a living.  It’s all about business. and that, my friends, is why the 2012 election will be “close”.

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January 25, 2012 - Posted by | 2012 Election, Media, MSM, President Barack Obama

18 Comments

  1. It most definitely will be close…

    …but in the final stretch, it’ll be Obama by a nose.

    They’ll make sure of that!

    Comment by Jefferson's Guardian | January 25, 2012

  2. I think that it will be closer than 2008 if Romney is the nominee. But, PBO will win.
    If Gingrich is the nominee, he will do worse than Romney.

    The HoR is in play.

    Comment by Hockley | January 25, 2012

  3. It is sad to think how much of what happens on the political scene is controlled by the media. Still, I think, judging from the people I meet and speak with every day, that the nation really is very closely divided. I wish it wasn’t so, and I think it goes against everything logical that it is so, but yet it is. I can only hope and keep my fingers crossed for the President!

    Comment by eurobrat | January 25, 2012

    • The right-wing have been masters at “wedge issues” and I don’t mean the phony “class war” which is the latest GOP false meme. Despots in the past have set up scape goats to unite a people using hate. Born in FDR’s second administration, I don’t remember such a divisive nation in my life time, not when President Truman was fighting some unions and the Republican-controlled Congress, even the strife during the 1960’s civil rights and anti-war fights. Remember it was Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen and House Republican Leader Charles Halleck who delivered enough Republican votes to pass Lyndon Johnson’s Civil/Voting Rights Acts. Congress used to work across the aisles for the GOOD of the nation. Now the Republicans want to annihilate a president they hate (for the color of his skin?) and don’t seem to care if people suffer for 4 years in order to prevent our President having a victory.

      Comment by grantinhouston | January 25, 2012

      • It’s been a long time since I’ve seen people so stirred up to anger, mostly by the rightie talking heads. And the emotion is building, making this a very scary moment in history.

        Comment by eurobrat | January 26, 2012

  4. One of the things that Dana Houle is pointing out is that the spending this year on the Republican primaries has been modest. In fact, not as much as one would expect them to be spending. Now, that may increase as Romney and Gingrich start to really hammer at each other, but for now, it isn’t as good a cash cow as the media was expecting it to be.

    .

    Comment by Norbrook | January 26, 2012

  5. Whenever our President gets a little time on TV (compared to hundreds of hours of debates, GOP sound bites/talking points), Faux News refuses to give him air time. Often when our President is speaking on CNN or MSNBC, I will flip over to Fox only to find them covering instead some mundane story. While President Obama was speaking in Arizona, Wednesday, Faux instead was presenting a story about “honor killings” in the Muslim world. No wonder Fairleigh-Dickinson University found Fox viewers to be the least informed Americans.

    Comment by grantinhouston | January 27, 2012

  6. I was born in 1951 and raised Republican and studied history in high school and college. I have been a political junkee since I was 13 and watched the conventions continuously in the evening starting in 1964 and Barry Goldwater. I know how Republicans think and how they brainwash their kids. Unfortunately for them when I went to college in 1969 I started talking and thinking with people of other ideas and saw the true facts. I became a very liberal person and this made my father sooooooo mad that he threatened to throw me out of the house if McGovern beat Nixon in the 1972 election. When the first news broke about the breakin at the Watergate I told my father that Nixon was behind the whole thing. He was soooooooo angry that I was right all along and he had to watch him resign.
    Americans do not know their own history and are sooooooooo ignorant that I have found and the media has gotten much worse since they use to report the truth that was happening during the Vietnam war particulary after the Tet offensive in 1968 and Walter Cronkite came out on tv and said the war wasn’t winable and a waste of effort and the boys were dying for a useless cause. We were out in the streets marching. People have got to turn to independant media non profits to get the news and overseas newspapers to find out the truth. This is the world I try to spread to every young person that will listen to me for two minutes. I do so miss the old guard in Congress from the 60’s, 70’s. It was when Reagan told the Iranians not to release the hostages until after the election were they released just after the election. After all the lies that our government has told I totally understand why the rest of the world doesn’t like the American government anymore we don’t like our government anymore and it is time to start another REVOLUTION.

    Comment by kerry pay mann | January 28, 2012

    • I can empathize with you kerry. Raised in a very Republican family, I was raised to oppose anything that FDR or Truman did. I was born in FDR’s second administration and remember hearing often a conspiracy at a very young age that FDR “allowed” the attack on Pearl Harbor in order to fire up an isolationist American public. Then when the Project for a New American Century stated in the late 90’s that we needed “another Pearl Harbor” in order for the neocons to go to war for Middle Eastern oil, the Republicans were livid that anyone might think there was some hanky-panky surrounding 9/11. I don’t think we’ve been told the whole story.

      I was in the newly formed Bill Buckley’s YAF during my college years and worked the floor of the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1960. My father, a county politician was a persona; friend of Rep. Charles Halleck, the Republican “whip” in the House of Representatives. My brother-in-law was a Republican in the Indiana Legislature, a moderate who was shot down during his third term election by the John Birch Society, so learned what power the “extreme right” has on the GOP. To this day, Sen. Richard Lugar is a family friend. I went along with the Party of Lincoln until the late 60’s when Nixon (aided by strategist, Pat Buchanan!) developed the GOP “Southern Strategy” in order to turn the Deep South from Democratic to Republican by inviting the racist Dixiecrats to start running as Republicans. Since I had been involved in some Civil Rights demonstrations, I could no longer support the GOP. I couldn’t vote for a “D” either and turned off by Vice President Hubert Humprey’s hawkish stance on Viet Nam, the Richard Daley police riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, I supported Third Party Sen. Eugene McCarthy in 1968. I finally voted for McGovern in 1972 and haven’t voted Republican since…WITH NO REGRETS. In fact under Raygun, the Evangelicals led by Falwell and Robertson hijacked the GOP along with the Kristol Neocons, so have never looked back.

      However, I paid a price having most of my family and childhood friends, frat brothers who were Republican. During a squabble during the Gore recount in November 2000, I was actually dis-invited to a family Thanksgiving Dinner! However, most of my family are “establishment” moderates and my brother and sister both claim they voted for Obama in 2008, mostly because of the prospect of Sarah Palin being a heartbeat from the Oval Office. My sister, who has voted straight Republican since Eisenhower has re-registered INDEPENDENT. Sadly, my grand nephews and nieces are more in line with the teabaggers and a couple love Ron Paul. So I am not as estranged as I once was. I was anti-Vietnam War and was involved in some demonstrations. My father, a District Commander in the American Legion, and I had some falling out over that war. The Legion has become quite right-wing, hawkish itself. But by the time he passed away in 1988, he had realized the folly of the Vietnam War and forgave me for his headstrong beliefs concerning it. He also was most upset with the Nixon scandals and was no longer the yellow dog Republican he had once been. So happily, we agreed to dis-agree. I still try to avoid political topics at family gatherings. I’ve never seen such rancor in our body politic in my 72 years in this nation. There is so much hate on the right!

      Comment by grantinhouston | January 30, 2012

  7. Democrats need to quit being so gracious and BRAG more. Rupert Murdoch’s Stephen Moore of the WSJ was talking on CNN about the “mediocre” recovery under Obama. A headline in my Saturday morning business section of the Houston Chronicle reports that auto sales were UP once again nationwide…a 12% increase in 2011 over 2010. Seems of late EVERY indicator of a recovering economy is announced nearly daily yet to hear the media talking heads, we started going downhill AFTER George W. Bush! Watching Romney and Gingrich duke it out in Florida, when not attacking each other they are sliming Obama. Note, they don’t give out much of anything they will do to create jobs and improve the economy (except maybe a Moon Colony by Newt). Yeah, besides not being “shovel ready”, Newt Moonbeam’s idea would cost untold hundreds of BILLIONS. Of course he is pandering to Florida’s “space coast”.

    Raygun’s “VOODOO” economics (which Newt also takes credit for!) appears to have been a massive failure for 30 years now, making the rich richer and poor poorer.

    http://consortiumnews.com/2012/01/27/selling-the-supply-side-myth/

    Florida is not a good indicator of our nation’s economy (even though indicators there are now moving in the right direction). Working for six years for California tract home builders, I noted there was a “build it and they will come” attitude there that has also been prevalent in Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. Seemed bankers in those states never tried to hit the brakes until it was too late. I was amazed at how many Californians would put up “For Sale” signs on their new homes the very day they closed escrow and took over the house keys. They weren’t buying homes to live in but to “FLIP” hoping to make a killing!

    Comment by grantinhouston | January 28, 2012

    • I cannot give enough kudos to this comment. The current administration is making things better for people…*talk about it*!

      Comment by eurobrat | January 30, 2012

    • Raygun’s “VOODOO” economics (which Newt also takes credit for!) appears to have been a massive failure for 30 years now, making the rich richer and poor poorer.

      No, making the rich richer and the poor poorer is the very thing that makes it a “success”.

      Comment by Sedate Me | February 8, 2012

  8. Here’s some other reasons why the election will be close, or at least the outcome unknown until the day of.

    1) The economy could do damn near anything between then and now and even a little dip or rise could swing a lot of votes.

    2) Most elections are closer than we think.

    a) The Electoral College system generally awards all a state’s College voters to whoever finishes first, even if it’s by 100 votes. Every close state race always produces a result that distorts how close it actually was.

    b) Voters have only 2 choices. If only 5% of voters change parties, that looks like a big 10% swing in the polls. If there were other parties, 5% leaving one party could wind up scattered over several parties. Factor in the fact that about half of Americans don’t bother to vote for anyone, and suddenly you realize that just a tiny percentage of Americans changing their mind can create what looks like a landslide.

    3) Everyone thinks 2008 was a big victory for Obama, but the reality is that both 2a & 2b made it look like it was a much bigger victory than it was. The popular vote gap (under 10%) actually matches well with both a “5% swing” and the increase in voter turnout for that election.

    Most of those 9 million “extra” voters that broke towards Obama will probably not vote this time. So, even a rematch with The Grumpy Old Man would be much closer and might even go to the Republican.

    In conclusion, Obama can probably only win a close election and he’s just as likely to lose one as win one.

    Comment by Sedate Me | February 9, 2012

  9. I fear that the Affordable Care Act may sink the President and Democrats this fall. First of all, a year and a half was wasted in my opinion when from the get-go in 2009 people were screaming JOBS and the economy, yet it was healthcare that consumed Democrats so much of the time. Would there have been such a tea party rebellion and a GOP sweep of Congress, along with so many state governments, if not for this act? I know Texas went from a 76-74 very slight Republican majority in the Texas Senate in 2008 to 101-49 super-majority in the 2010 Senate. A leader chooses his battles well and this was a battle that IMO could have been delayed until AFTER the 2012 election with hopefully a Democratic Party being a majority player again. But we are weaker, now. Didn’t anyone not think the GOP would SPIN this latest brouhaha from a contraception to a faux “religious freedom” issue? Many Catholics, a majority of whom practice contraception, are bristling over this latest ham-handed decision as an affront on their faith. Obama already had the female voters in his pocket and a few more gained from this decision may be wiped away now by Catholic and other “religious” swing voters. And don’t forget voter repression laws passed by so many of the Republican-majority legislatures that may deprive a few million Obama voters access to the polls.

    Second, WHO thought 10 months before an election was a good time to start a new fight with the Catholic Church? Catholics make up the biggest bloc of swing voters, 20% of the electorate. In 2008, Catholics went 54% for the President and Democrats, but by 2010, they had swung right and went 54% for REPUBLICANS! Latinos who make up 12% of the electorate are 70% Roman Catholic. I was raised in a very strong Republican family, many of whom are still Catholic. I left the Party of Lincoln in the late 60’s when Nixon’s Southern Strategy invited Southern racists to switch to the GOP. My family are mostly moderate Republicans but it took me 40 years to convince them the Party of Lincoln of our parents and grandparents is no more. Several did tell me they voted for Obama (mostly due to McCain selecting Sarah Palin). I am talking about a sister who had voted straight Republican since her first vote for Eisenhower in 1956 and who announced a year ago she had re-registered as “independent”. Yet, I fear, depending upon the Republican candidate (before Palin got involved most were pro-Romney in 2008), several family members may not repeat voting for Barack Obama.

    Comment by grantinhouston | February 9, 2012

    • I see the argument, but I wouldn’t over-value this.

      When it comes to birth control, most Catholics already don’t practice what they’re preached, even as they pretend they are. So there may be a lot of nodding heads in the pews about this supposed “attack” on Catholicism. But how many of those heads are taking the pill, using condoms and will vote Democrat? In a secret ballot, only you know who you voted for. Besides, it’s 10 months away. It will probably be forgotten by all but the hardest-core Catholics, not too many of whom would be voting of The Big O anyway.

      However, what it does do is give the Catholic LEADERSHIP an excuse to condemn Obama, justify their existence, get other Catholics to feel they’re under attack and hope they’ll join the circled wagons.

      Comment by Sedate Me | February 10, 2012

      • Coming from a Catholic background (I once considered the priesthood myself before becoming an atheist), but as soon as I heard this, I was saying “Uh-oh!” This was before others like Mark Shields, E.J. Dionne, Chris Matthews and other liberals in the media began condemning the President’s course (didn’t realize Catholics were so “everywhere” in the pundit class!) . Today, the President “backed down” and now he can be assigned a “flip-flop” on this issue by the REICH-wing. Supposedly Catholics Joe Biden and Mayor Bill Daley warned Obama against this and he instead listened to David Plouffe and David Axelrod. The latter are both Jewish BTW who may not understand that even lapsed Catholics still identify with the Church but should realize that even secular Jews still identify as Jewish. The White House inner circle is also composed of women like Valerie Jarrett thought the “polling” on this issue would please the women voters (but at the expense of Catholic swing voters?). Catholic swing voters did not need to be stirred up and now CPAC is getting sound bites all over the airwaves condemning this “attack on religion” so the timing this week was also ham-handed. The President’s “compromise” plan just laid out was good IMO but should have been released weeks ago, and more dialogue with the celibate MALE hierarchy who rule the Church. The Bishops will still not be happy but this fight was quickly corrupted by the GOP from being a contraception issue to a faux “religious freedom” issue. The Vatican has always been perplexed by American Catholics who tend to be “cafeteria” parishioners who “pick and choose” what they want off the Church menu. But even Christmas/Easter Catholics will often take umbrage if they think the Church they were raised in is being attacked. We may all joke about our families and its idiosyncrasies, but when our families are attacked, we tend to circle the wagons. The same happens when our religious identity (which most get imposed from birth by our families) is seen to be “attacked”.

        Comment by grantinhouston | February 10, 2012

  10. Seems some “progressives” at Huffington Post think the President retreated today on health care as he continues to get bashed from the right. Dana Milbank says this “self-inflicted” wound came just as the President was beginning to surge in the polls, coming off recent signs that the economy and unemployment were posting improving numbers. The Republicans are finding it harder to use the economy against Obama so are reverting to culture wars in order to muffle any good news of late that may help the President’s polling numbers.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/08/obama-contraception-losing-fight_n_1263919.html

    Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) has attached a rider on a TRANSPORTATION bill to revoke the President’s position. The Blunt amendment would allow insurers to refuse to cover any essential health benefit required by the Affordable Care Act. This would have the effect of totally undermining a linchpin protection for patients who are counting on a full package of benefits in the new health system. Among other consequences, the amendment wouldnullify the recent guidelines that require insurance companies to cover preventive services for women, including birth control without cost-sharing requirements.

    While this alone would be reason enough to oppose the amendment, it actually has additional and far-reaching consequences. The amendment allows insurers to refuse coverage of any essential health service to which they might claim a “moral” objection, including HIV treatment, alcohol and other substance-abuse counseling, in-vitro services for same-sex couples, STI counseling, prenatal care for single women, and mental-health care. Insurers could refuse to cover these services for religious or moral reasons, or if the purchaser of the plan claimed the benefit is contrary to its religious or moral convictions.

    From Blunt’s website:

    “It’s still clear that President Obama does not understand this isn’t about cost – it’s about who controls the religious views of faith-based institutions. President Obama believes that he should have that control. Our Constitution states otherwise.

    “Just because you can come up with an accounting gimmick and pretend like religious institutions do not have to pay for the mandate, does not mean that you’ve satisfied the fundamental constitutional freedoms that all Americans are guaranteed.

    “I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we reverse this unconstitutional mandate in its entirety.”

    http://blunt.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/news?ID=4af10336-1867-472f-a3a1-0bd985a86ce4

    Comment by grantinhouston | February 10, 2012

  11. Willard Romney only got 38% of the 3400 hundred votes at the CPAC annual conference, with Rick Santorum 31%, Newt 15% and Ron Paul 12%. Mitt just has a hard getting the love of Republicans but considering the extreme right-wingnuts at CPAC, did better than I thought he’d do.

    Comment by grantinhouston | February 11, 2012


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