Saturday, November 10, 2012

Republicans: game change or temper tantrums?

News coming out after the presidential election is almost as interesting as the election itself.

On election night there was shock and awe in Romney’s camp at the news they were losing. According to the stories that came out later, they had decided not to listen to polls that showed President Obama ahead, and concentrate instead on their own internal polls. Those polls told them they were going to win. That sort of thinking reminds me of people who cover their ears and chant “la-la-la-la” rather than listen to what they don’t want to hear. The plan was to have a large fireworks show in Boston to celebrate a Romney victory. Obviously there was no show. Another plan was to launch a website for “President-elect Romney” which actually happened, but was then taken down after a few hours.

There was denial in the Romney camp that they were losing Ohio, despite the various news organizations, even Romney’s biggest ally, Fox News, projecting an Obama win in that state. To see Karl Rove, who had spent hundreds of millions of billionaires’ donated dollars to his Super PACs to defeat Democrats, squirming on Fox News, scolding them for their predictions on Ohio, was almost beyond belief. One wonders about the mentality behind such denial. Polls are well established by now. Pollsters have had decades to hone their skills. To hear normally pragmatic people who would pay attention to and trust polls go into such a meltdown was a big surprise to me and to anyone else who follows politics.

My guess is they listened to and believed radio blowhards like Rush Limbaugh who dissed the polls as being “skewed toward Obama.”

When the after-action report of the 2012 Presidential Election is written it will provide a guide for Republicans on what not to do next time. By 2014 they will make corrections, much like a coach makes corrections during halftime. When Team GOP takes the field again in a couple of years you can bet the game plan will be considerably tweaked.

On Wednesday morning I felt that a huge boil on the body politic had popped, but just a couple of days later I felt like it was reforming itself and sending out anew its tendrils of infection. I don't believe the Republicans in Congress will be any more cooperative with the president, despite an initial offer of bipartisanship. Why? After the shock of the election wore off, they again dug in their heels. It was too embarrassing a loss for them, and they will punish the American public for their humiliation.

I'm not going back on my prediction of a major change in their strategy for the next election, but I believe in the short-term we’ll be smelling smoke from scorched earth. Not only from Congress, but from pissed off Republican “job creators.” Pizza millionaire Papa John Schnatter announced he’d be cutting employee hours because of Obamacare. Employees who work over 30 hours a week have to be covered under the law, so he’s cutting their hours. Bob Murray of Ohio-based Murray Energy Corporation just laid off 102 coal miners in Utah because Obama was re-elected and Obama is “anti-coal.” These types of things could snowball, with more businesses following suit in the wake of Obama’s victory.  But it is not wise for a business like Papa John’s, which depends on customer good will, to be announcing they are throwing their employees under a bus because of Obama. Even the pouty pizza man knows that there are a lot of pizza restaurants out there, and many of them within the throwing distance of a 12” pepperoni pie from Papa John’s.

I believe that once the furor of Republican disappointment over misreading the electorate has died down, hopefully cooler heads will prevail. In Congress only fear of losing their plush jobs will force them into doing the right thing, and they’ve got until 2014 to quit misbehaving and get with the program. There’s not much anyone can do about that. But I’m watching to see if other businesses make the mistake of public temper tantrums. Pizza, anyone?


Kirk said...

I agree with everything you said. Just one thought on pizza. Not only are there a lot of pizza restaurants out there, there's also, at least in my neck of the woods, a lot of INDEPENDENT pizza restaurants out there. For some reason, pizza seems more resistant to dominance by national chains then either hamburgers or fried chicken.

Postino said...

Not only that, Kirk, but many times the indies have a much better product, which promotes customer.

On the one hand I understand a company which is paying slave wages not wanting to add paying for health insurance, but to come out to the American public and say that's what they're doing is some kind of suicide by publicity. I wonder if it will backfire on Papa John's, like the anti-gay marriage public stand did for Chick-fil-A a few months ago.

Postino said...

That top line on my comment should have ended with “customer loyalty.” My mistake.

DEMiller said...

Very well said, Postino. I agree totally.
The Republicans seem to be victims of their own narrow mindedness.