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Debate over: The verdict is in

November 18, 2012 12:10 am


Eric Cantor's re-election campaign spent $6.6 million, or $30 per vote. edamrh18.jpg

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets supporters at a campaign stop. The GOP has not found a way to appeal to more diverse segments of the U.S. population.

TO ME, the recent election suggests that America is working just fine, just as it was designed to work under the Constitution, and those who disagree need to put their ideologies on hold for the good of the country. It's the patriotic thing to do.

In 2016, without an incumbent president, both Democrats and Republicans will need to make their cases during up-for-grabs primary seasons and presidential campaigns. Once again, voters will decide in what direction they want to go. As certain as some people--secessionists?--seem to be that America will disintegrate between now and then, I am just as sure that it will thrive. For the time being, we'll all be better off if we work together, compromise, and meet our crises, fiscal and otherwise, without excessive partisan bickering.

I know, easier said than done.

I thought we might be headed that way just after the election, when House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans were "willing to accept new revenues" out of a desire to "do what's best for the country."

He wasn't done: "If there's a mandate in yesterday's results, it's a mandate for us to find a way to work together."

This is unbelievable, I thought. What in the Republican view was economic anathema two days earlier is suddenly best for the country, the will of the country. After the 2008 election, the GOP said that its top priority was to make Barack Obama a one-term president.

I should have known, though. Boehner spent the the rest of last week backtracking, saying he wasn't referring to tax increases, but rather to the the famous closing of the loopholes, which doesn't amount to a hill of beans and he knows it. Nor, apparently, did he actually mean the "work together" part.

Subsequent rhetoric from the GOP and the party's de facto leader, anti-tax overlord Grover Norquist, shows they still don't understand that Americans really, honestly, truly do want the wealthiest Americans to pay more taxes. Republicans are in denial about this. If a deal doesn't get done because they won't negotiate with the winner of the election, then the fallout is on them.

"[Obama] didn't make the case that we should have higher taxes and higher spending, he kind of sounded like the opposite," Norquist said on CBS last week.

I would "kind of" beg to differ, based on the election results. The president won the electoral vote by 126, the popular vote by more than 3 million, and eight of the nine battleground states--including Virginia.


A nice piece of news I got on Election Day is that I was gerrymandered into the 7th Congressional District. I got to vote against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Woo-hoo! Although my vote didn't do any good, it's the thought that counts.

The GOP may have held its House majority and Cantor may keep his leadership post, but I found immense satisfaction as voters completed the Republican anti-abortion triple play: Rep. Todd "Shut that thing down" Akin--gone; Rep. Joe "No abortion exception" Walsh--history; Sen. Richard "Something God intended" Mourdock-- bye-bye.

There's a message here that Republicans are refusing to hear, or at least acknowledge. It's that while some of their fiscal policies appealed to otherwise undecided voters, their inability to moderate on social issues and accept demographic reality continues to cost them.

Some conservatives actually blamed the election outcome on Republicans not tilting far enough to the right. They need to seek professional help.

Perhaps the No. 1 most obvious factor in Mitt Romney's defeat was his loss of credibility as he shifted from far right to center after nailing down the nomination. Everyone knows the center is where the votes are. In this partisan era, Americans have learned to recognize impossible rhetorical contortions.

These are the same Americans who relish their individuality. They don't want their personal beliefs or lives pigeonholed, and, today, a party that looks to impose its ideology on others loses. White men, and older white men, is not diversity. Pew Research Center data show the nation's white population dropping from 82 percent to 63 percent between 2005 and 2050, with the Hispanic population rising from 6 percent to 17 percent over the same period.

Meanwhile, there were four states that voted favorably on issues involving same-sex marriage when previously such measures had gone down to defeat 32 times without a victory.

One conservative pundit says it's not up to the party to change, it's up to the voters to change. Somebody needs to keep these guys out of the catnip.


Here's a little more about "my" congressman, Eric Cantor. We know that campaign spending is out of control. In the presidential race alone Obama and Romney together spent more than $2 billion--twice what Obama and John McCain spent in 2008.

Not to be left out, Cantor raised nearly $7.4 million to retain his seat. That's nearly 10 times what Democratic challenger Wayne Powell raised. And it is at least $5.2 million more than any other Virginia congressional candidate raised.

Cantor defeated Powell, winning 58.4 percent of the vote. Of the $7.4 million he raised, he spent $6.6 million of it. He garnered 222,488 votes, which comes to nearly $30 per vote.

Compare that to the First District. GOP Rep. Rob Wittman raised $882,000, spent $668,000, and won with 56.3 percent of the vote. Democratic challenger Adam Cook raised less than $170,000. Receiving 200,822 votes, Wittman spent about $3.30 per vote.

Evidently, Cantor doubts his ability to win an election on his "merits."

Richard Amrhine is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.

Richard Amrhine is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.

Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.