|Obama wins, 11/6/12|
The election of 2012 is now over and we now know who caught "the greased pig in the field game of American politics" (Ambrose Bierce's definition of "presidency" in The Devil's Dictionary). Congratulations to Barrack Obama.
Yes, I plead guilty to suffering from confirmation bias which blinded me to the outcome of the election. All hail Nate Silver!
H.L. Mencken wrote that, "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." The people have spoken and now under President Obama we are all likely to "get it good and hard" over the next four years.
The House remains in Republican control. The Senate has a narrow Democratic majority. We are, therefore, stuck in gridlock for the foreseeable future. On the horizon we will see more debt, more economic difficulties, more incompetence and more cover-ups. We will now get to see how a lame duck flies. We will be led by a President with an out-sized ego who will never again face the voters and who bathes ever in the warm glow of media flattery. We seem now to be headed, not Forward, but into Full Reverse.
All the pundits on the right are asking the question "What went wrong with the Romney campaign?"
My answer derives from a careful study of James Bond and the recent movie "Skyfall"! In the opening scene of Skyfall (see my review, Skyfall, 10/27/12) James Bond is struggling with a killer on board a speeding train. Another MI6 agent, Moneypenny we later learn, is armed with a sniper rifle which she trains on the two struggling men. She is urged by Bond's boss "M" to "take the bloody shot." She does and Bond is hit and plunges into the abyss which, fortunately for him, turns out to be the movie's opening credits!
Why is this relevant for the recent election?
In 1980 President Carter tried to "take the bloody shot" and missed leaving American hostages stuck in Tehran and dead soldiers in the desert. He was defeated that fall by Ronald Reagan.
After 9/11 George W. Bush "took the bloody shots" in Afghanistan and Iraq and we are still living with the consequences both good and ill (Arab spring and many casualties). He left office under a cloud in 2009.
On May 2, 2011 President Obama, to his credit, "took the bloody shot" on Osama Bin Laden. Yes it was really the work of two administrations and many intelligence and military personnel but it was the right call by or Commander in chief. He was narrowly re-elected yesterday.
In my view, it was Obama's good call on targeting Osama bin Laden that was ultimately the difference in this election. This one action gave Obama the illusion of being an expert in foreign policy and polished his image as a 'tough guy". Romney shied away from even trying to confront Obama in their third and final debate on foreign policy.
Those who are in a position of authority to make executive actions, whether they are Presidents, Intelligence chiefs or soldiers on the battlefield act on the best information that is available to them at the time. They make judgement calls. Sometimes they miss, sometimes they hit the target and sometimes there is a whole bunch of collateral damage or friendly fire. Such are the fortunes of war.
President Obama has now received his reward from the electorate for hitting the Osama target. Their was very little that Romney or his team could have done differently to avoid that outcome.
We Americans have a "bias for action" (see earlier post, the American Bias for Action, 3/12/12) which sometime serves us well (e.g. Marshall Plan) and sometimes lands us in a heap of trouble (e.g. Fort Sumter).