As President-elect Barack Obama sets up his administration’s cabinet, and rightfully measures the drapes in the Oval Office Democrats like myself relish these few victory weeks, and Republicans across the United States are suffering from Post-election Social and Political Vacuum Syndrome; yes, PSPV. And the symptoms are apparent in their rhetoric.
One reason Republicans lost this election in all three branches of government last week is that their dirty campaign tactics were too transparent to the American people. In the past, swiftboating and defamatory campaign lies have been the talented tour guides leading American consciousness through election cycles, and Republicans have had a successful history of de-Americanizing Democratic candidates.
But this year, it just didn’t work out for them. Even when the polls reflected that their negative tactics weren’t working, like The Little Engine that Could, they kept towing the campaign line that Obama and Democrats are socialists and that Obama associates with terrorists. Chugging along slowly, sweat dripping from the weight of those lies, they collectively muttered, “I think I can, I think I can,” only for their Straight Talk Express to be found rusted on the tracks. The congressmen and senators on for the ride were left wandering aimlessly.
No, the end of 2008 Republican story can not be found in any children’s fairy tale. Rather, the truth of this year’s Republican experience is being found in that old adage, “reality bites.” And almost immediately after the election, they attempted to salvage what they could of their party.
Last week Ian Nachreiner wrote in his column “Conservatives lost the battle, not the war,” that “People elected a socialistic liberal. He believes in universal health care and taking what you rightfully earn and give it to people who do nothing.” He went on to say that Obama “is the closest thing to a Marxist we have in our country and we will see the effects over the next four years.”
I’m not a socialist or an economist, but I thought the focus of socialism was based on the government gaining control of property and businesses, and therefore controlling the supply and demand, as well as the workforce. I haven’t heard Obama talk about annexing any property or businesses, or regulating supply and demand in America.
But I know what conservatives are referring to when they talk about Obama’s supposed socialism. They’re talking about the progressive tax system that Obama supports. A progressive tax is basically self-explanatory. As income increases, the income tax rate increases; therefore, poorer families pay a lower tax rate, while wealthier people pay higher taxes.
I think we could all use trickle-up economics for a while, instead of the devastating trickle-down economics we’ve been experiencing for the past eight years.
Other Republicans are attempting to explain what happened Nov. 4. Republican Governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford wrote an opinion article for CNN on the results of the election. “Republicans have campaigned on the conservative themes of lower taxes, less government and more freedom – they just haven’t governed that way.” he said.
“America didn’t turn away from conservatism, they turned away from many who faked it.”
He continued, “A political party works much like a brand. Companies like Caterpillar and John Deere earn loyal customers by consistently delivering what they advertise – they walk the walk.”
He’s right that a political party works a lot like a brand, and for him the catch phrase for the Republican brand is “lower taxes, less government and more freedom.” However, I don’t think the Republican brand’s problem is false advertisement. I think the Republican brand simply doesn’t work.
Stephanie England is an English junior and a Mustang Daily politcal columnist.