Holiday reflections: What I'm thankful for
Looking back on 2012 during this post-election Thanksgiving season, there is much to be thankful for:
Thank you, John Roberts, for supplying the swing Supreme Court vote that has cemented Obamacare as the law of the land.
Thank you, Fox News blondette Megyn Kelly, for slam-dunking Karl Rove on election night. When Rove tried to scold Fox for rightfully awarding Ohio to President Obama, and when he insisted (via his pseudo stats) that Ohio was still in play for the GOP, Kelly oh so deliciously socked him in the kisser: "Is this just math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?"
Thank you, mystery videographer, whoever you are, for surreptitiously recording Mitt Romney at that infamous private fat-cat fundraiser, and exposing his authentic plutocratic 'tude to the outside world. The insults he hurled at virtually half the American people, during that May dinner, helped cement his (true) image as an out-of-touch Daddy Warbucks; indeed, the mystery videographer was further vindicated two weeks ago when Romney, still in the throes of sore-loseritis, repeated the same insults during a phoner with disappointed fat-cat donors.
Speaking of fat cats, thank you, Sheldon Adelson, for tapping your casino money and single-handedly sustaining the primary season candidacy of Newt Gingrich. Thanks to Adelson's generous super PAC largesse, Newt was the one who put the Bain Capital issue on the table, eviscerating Romney's vulture capitalist career with a 30-minute documentary entitled "King of Bain." The Obama team should at least show their gratitude by sending Adelson a fruit basket.
Thank you, Dick Morris, for perpetuating the P.T. Barnum huckster tradition. Morris has never recovered from the summer of '96, when he was outed for shacking up with a hooker (a quickie scandal that forced him to quit the Clinton re-election campaign). But, luckily for us, Morris is still around to shamelessly entertain - to wit, his autumn prediction on Fox News that Romney "is going to win by a landslide.....Romney is going to carry 325 electoral votes." Which brings to mind this priceless quip from political columnist Roger Simon: "When people tell me I'm the worst political analyst in the world, I always say, 'Not while Dick Morris is alive.'"
Thank you, ACLU and allies, for waging the successful legal battle that defeated the GOP's voter suppression efforts in Pennsylvania. It was clear from the outset that the governing Republicans' photo-ID law was a transparent attempt to keep non-whites away from the polls in November, but the fun part came in July, when the ACLU et al forced the GOP's lawyers to admit in a sworn affadavit that the party's oft-stated rationale - photo IDs are needed to combat voter fraud - was just a con job. From the signed confession: "There have been no investigations and prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania...The (state is) not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania...(The state) will not offer any evidence or argument that in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in November in the absence of the Photo ID law."
Thank you, voters in Florida's 18th congressional district, for ridding us of Allen West. The vote count took two weeks, but West finally conceded (at 3 am., on Facebook). It's deeply satisfying that the tea party's marquee wingnut will no longer foul the House, although part of me would've liked to have seen him return to the Hill and offer evidentiary proof for his recent claim that "78 to 81" House Democrats are communists.
Thank you, Nate Silver, for being smart, for being right, and for braving the usual abuse from the usual suspects who, post-election, lack the good grace and decency to admit they were wrong.
Thank you, Rush Limbaugh, for calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" - and inadvertently giving her a national platform to talk intelligently about women's issues.
Thank you, voters in Arizona's 9th congressional district, for electing America's first openly bisexual House member. Kyrsten Sinema will join at least five other open gays in the chamber, an exhibition of 21st-century pluralism that is surely detonating many heads on the religious right.
Thank you, Freedom of Information Act, for enabling us to measure the chasm that often separates a politician's words from a politician's actions. Case in point, Paul Ryan. The right-wing ideologue kept insisting this summer that Obama's economic stimulus was evil and corrupt - until he was forced to explain why in 2009 he had written four letters seeking stimulus money for his Wisconsin constituents. (For instance, Dec. 18, 2009: He told the Obama administration that the Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp. would use stimulus money to create "sustainable demand for green jobs" and "reduce greenhouse gas emissions.") The Wall Street Journal originally unearthed those letters, via the FOIA. Ryan's lame spin on his own hypocrisy: The letters "should have been handled differently."
Thank you, Ohio Art Company, for obtaining the U.S. rights to a magic-screen toy invented by Frenchman Andre Cassagnes and, in 1960, renaming it "Etch A Sketch" - thereby giving a Romney aide the unwittingly perfect household metaphor to describe the candidate's dearth of convictions. (When asked whether Romney was too conservative to win in November, Eric Fehrnstrom replied: "You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can shake it up and restart all over again.") Would Romney's critics have gotten the same toy traction if Ohio Art had retained Cassagnes' original name - L'Ecran Magique?
And lastly, I'm especially thankful that election night didn't turn into election week, with all of us waiting for frickin Florida to get its tally together.
Lincoln is the smartest film ever made about the often grimy yet occasionally transcendent art of politics. My Sunday newspaper column.
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