2012 is going out with a political whimper, not a bang. No budget deal and political gridlock is how we started the year and it appears to be how we will end it. After possibly the longest and certainly the most expensive presidential election season in history, the country decided “never mind” and sent the same configuration back to work. The Republicans still control the House, the Democrats still control the Senate, and Obama is still president. What a gyp! This could go down as the biggest “no-decision” in election history. It also could be considered a candidate for the biggest political failure of 2012 award. Here are the 12 biggest political failures in 2012.
1) Mitt Romney Loses the Election
Romney was the prohibitive favorite. Romney won the Republican primary and was automatically staked with 47% of the vote. He only had to convince 4% of the other 53% of voters that a president with approval ratings below or at 50% and an unemployment rate of 8% should not be re-elected, and he had a billion dollars to boot. And he lost – badly. The election night results which were expected to be announced over breakfast the following morning were announced before the polls closed on the West Coast.
2) Republican Pollsters and Pundits Lose Their Mojo
Could you be so wrong that you would self-destruct on national TV and lose all dignity? Yes you can. Scott Rasmussen, Karl Rove, Dick Morris ... they will forever be remembered as the “Gang that Couldn’t Poll Straight.”
3) The Libertarian Party and the “liberty movement”
The party of serious mathematicians points out that Gary Johnson received more votes than any previous liberty candidate. They note that he received twice as many votes as the prior candidate. They ignore that he received only 1% of the general election and only 300,000 more votes than the LP candidate in 1980. That is 10,000 votes per year for 30 years. At that rate they will get to 62 million (Obama’s total) in 6,200 years. At which time they will announce that they are not giving up their guns because although it has never happened it is still possible that the American government will turn tyrannical. They missed the goal of receiving 5% of the general election vote, were shunned at the Republican National Convention and were blacklisted from the nationally televised debates. To be fair, if they continue to double their vote total it will only take six presidential cycles at which point they will say we are not giving up our guns because although … you get the point.
4) The Performance of the 112th Congress
In August they hit rock bottom with the lowest approval rating in congressional history. Name something that they accomplished, I’ll wait. Time’s up.
5) “Democratic” Elections
Egypt elected Mohamed Morsi who took office in June, and tried to write absolute power into the constitution. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was reelected in October and reaffirmed his commitment to socialism. “Today a new cycle of the Bolivarian government begins. Today we have demonstrated -- comrades, compatriots -- that our democracy is one of the best in the world” For those of you looking to add President Obama’s name to this list: “Forward.”
6) Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act
This is the "Indefinite Detention without trial" clause. The Fifth Amendment says the government cannot imprison a person for no reason and with no evidence presented or access to legal counsel. It can now. Obama’ administration defended its inclusion and an amendment to remove it failed.
7) The Explanation of the Benghazi Attack
The administration said that a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad was the cause for the attack on the Benghazi consulate. They stuck to that story for two weeks. It cost UN Ambassador Susan Rice a chance to be the next secretary of state. It tarnished the credibility of the administration and it disrespected the ultimate sacrifice paid by those who died in the attack The final report allayed any theory of a cover-up but the communication process was one big failure.
8) The War on Women's Personal Health Care Rights
Those who sought to roll back time on women personal healthcare rights took a lot of losses. Personhood bills, invasive medical procedures and archaic views on rape were some of the political battles that were fought. The government ruled that all institutions providing public services have to adhere to the law. There were some losses but overall the fight to protect women’ personal healthcare rights was a net positive. Speaking of which....
9) Todd Akin and Richard E. Mourdock Senate Races
These two may have cost the Republicans the Senate with their outrageous comments on rape. Akin said “If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Not to be outdone, Mourdock then chimed in by saying that “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended to happen.”
10) The Failure to Recall Governor Scott Walker
After his passage of a bill that ended collective bargaining rights for public employees, Walker’s opponents launched a campaign to recall him. The battle became a microcosm of the political ideology splitting the country. The role of government, public attitudes towards the influence of unions, and campaign financing were the key issues being decided. Outside money poured into the state as both sides waged a battle for political survival. Walker survived the recall bid and that changed Wisconsin from a “true-blue” Democrat state to a swing state.
11) The failure to Repeal the Affordable Care Act
The repeal of “Obamacare” was the cornerstone of the conservative movement. Those on the right, conservatives, libertarians, Republicans, etc. made it part of their political mission. The House voted 33 times to repeal the law. The effort failed – for now – when the Supreme Court deemed the law constitutional. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed to continue the fight. “I have noted there are essentially three major routes to repeal of the president’s law: the courts, the presidential election process and the congressional oversight process. With two of those three routes having come up short, the third and final one becomes more important than ever.”
12) Voter Suppression Efforts
The attempt to suppress voter rights failed all over the country. Voter rights advocates won key victories in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, and South Carolina. The Republican effort to suppress voter rights failed so badly that in the end they lost the election.