Within the last half-century, it seems to have become a tradition in American politics for the losing party in a presidential election to distance itself from their candidate. But the vehemence with which Mitt Romney is being urged to leave the stage has been quite remarkable.
He did himself no favors when he spoke with his donors after the election and said that president Obama won by essentially bribing the young and women and minority voters with ‘big gifts’, thus reiterating the claims he made in his infamous 47% speech, which was widely seen as doing him great harm by denigrating nearly half the population as shiftless moochers. It is interesting how policies that promise to benefit the poor or middle class are seen as shameless bribes while handing out tax cuts for the wealthy is portrayed as being good for the country.
Tim Pawlenty and Newt Gingrich are among the others who have piled on, the latter probably anxious to deflect blame away from himself for his ferocious attacks on Romney during the primaries that were seen as doing him great harm.
Interestingly, the strongest criticism of Romney was by Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, a one-time rising star in the party whose luster has been somewhat diminished. He seems to be trying to make a comeback and stake a claim to be the leader of a reformed Republican party, condemning Romney’s remarks as being indicative of the Republicans being a ‘stupid party’. Mind you, this is coming from someone who signed legislation that allows the teaching of creationism in public school science classes, a craven act of pandering to the religious right that alone takes him to the head of the class in stupidity.
Jindal knows he needs to walk a tightrope and not alienate the significant portion of the Republican party who heartily believe Romney’s analysis, and so he says that they need to shut up those who make “offensive and bizarre comments” (and we all know who he is referring to) and ‘modernize’ the GOP but not ‘moderate’ it. (Translation: The GOP needs to find more palatable ways of conveying the same old hateful message.)
The Daily Show has its own take on Romney’s ‘gifts’ message.
(This clip appeared on November 15, 2012. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)