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Winning the Outside Chance

Winning the Outside Chance

By William Rivers Pitt
7 November 2012

The most expensive election in the history of money is now in the books, and for the moment, the lesson is plain: money cannot, in fact, buy you love. Mitt Romney, the Republican Party, and the awesomely powerful dark-money barons backing them up - the guys you'll never meet who have no problem writing checks with eight zeroes to the left of the decimal - failed to deliver the goods ... and there will be hell to pay because of it.

I won't lie: the pyrotechnical display of rage, recrimination and ridiculousness that is about to explode on the right flank of American politics is something I plan to enjoy to the fullest possible extent. The Big Money boys who invested in scaring voters about Brown People will blame the Useful Idiots they themselves created, you know, the ones who think Medicare isn't a government program and have poorly-lettered signs to prove it, and those people will blame the Party for failing to properly support candidates like Akin and Mourdock because Akin and Mourdock made the mistake of saying out loud what they actually think about, well, everything ... and the chickens will all come home to roost. The party that has spent the last forty years building a base of voters who think dinosaurs aren't real because they aren't mentioned in the Bible just got kneecapped by their own grand plan...and the truth of it, as it unspools, will be something I intend to revel in.

For a little while, anyway. The sad fact is that the GOP, in its desire to remain relevant at all costs, has fostered a voting base that believes anyone who isn't in line with their way of thinking is un-American, and dangerous ... which is why so many of them apparently had no qualms about stealing the right to vote from their fellow citizens in states all across the land. Why not? It's a matter of National Security for them, or so they've been told. Those un-Christian terrorist liberals aren't real Americans, so it isn't actually a crime against the country and the Constitution to take from them their most basic right ... because they don't have rights ... right?

That's what they believe, what they have to believe in order to justify disenfranchising so many people. I'll bet most of the folks who got their hands dirty "safeguarding" the ballot from The Enemy Within are probably good and decent people, in the main. They think they're doing The Lord's Work, because that's what they've been told: from the church pulpit, from the bully pulpit, by their pastors and their leaders, for years on end. The lesson stuck, and here we are, smack dab in the middle of a country torn in half by design, because it's the easy way to win.

Oh, P.S., something like two billion dollars got spent seeing this jangled carnival to a conclusion, a fact you should retain and redeploy the next time you hear some austerity-loving benefit-slashing politician try to tell you America is too broke to take care of its own. For the record, the tab for Tuesday night ran nine zeroes to the left of the decimal, which tells you everything you need to know about where we've set our priorities.

That is the country right now, and all the bunting and balloons in the wide world can't pretty it up.

Mr. Obama gets four more years, which was the best possible outcome given the choice at hand. Mr. Romney gets shame and ignominy, likely in large doses after the simmering GOP civil war breaks wide open in the aftermath of all this. In the meantime, all the huge, bleeding problems we had on Monday remain with us. Afghanistan grinds on, the drones are still killing children, the dark-money barons still hold sway despite this setback, and while Mr. Obama got a nice cheer for mentioning "our warming planet" during his victory speech, the fact remains that a very large clock is ticking down to a very present deadline regarding our ability to survive the ravaged environment we have unleashed on ourselves.

Don't be smug. All we won on Tuesday night was the outside chance of not losing. What is made of that very slim margin is entirely up to you.


William Rivers Pitt is a Truthout editor and columnist. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know," "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence" and "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation." He lives and works in Boston.

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