2004 seems so long ago.

I was 18 then, and that was the last time I got overt and in-your-face about politics.  Back in the early days of “Oh Goodie!” (which I will re-post and re-release over my own dead body), I laid it on thick with the Anti-Bush comics, and the Anti-Bush banners.  I even had a custom banner I had made myself rattling off the names of the Democratic nominees (Dean, Clark, Sharpton, etc) and the phrase “Anyone but Bush!”.

Well, we got Kerry.  And we lost.  I realized then that you can’t run a Presidential campaign based solely around beating the other guy.  You have to offer a genuine alternative to people and a plan for what you would do.  What’s more, you have to tell people your plan.  I can’t tell you how many times I face-palmed when John Kerry would say “I have a plan” during the debates, but then would refer people to his website.  You have literally millions of Americans watching you at that moment.  You have this huge national platform to make yourself known and state your opinions clearly, and you refer people to your website?!

Perhaps I hoped against hope, but deep down I think I knew Kerry didn’t have a chance.  Really, he and the Democrats blew it.  Bush’s first term had been a disaster, and if the Democrats had focused, they might have won.  But they didn’t.

I’ve seen so much of how I used to be in the Tea Party the last four years.  I’ve seen so much of Kerry in Mitt Romney’s campaign, right down to the website referrals during the debates.  All I keep thinking is “I hope I wasn’t this insufferable back then”.

…I probably was.

“-“

I learned last summer, when I was calling my senators and representatives about SOPA and PIPA, that politics makes strange bedfellows.  I disagree with Peter Roskam on almost all of his platforms, but he was patient enough to hear me go on for 20 minutes about why SOPA was bad (and hear me invoke “Transformers” and “My Little Pony” while doing it).  I was surprised, but delighted to see that Illinois’ Republican senator Mark Kirk had firmly come out against PIPA, sensing the damage such legislation could bring.  I was supremely annoyed when Democratic senator Dick Durbin’s staff ranted at me like I didn’t know what I was talking about, and that he doubled down on his support for the bill.

A big thing for me (and I wish more people would embrace) is that even if I disagree with you, that doesn’t mean I think you’re dumb.  I don’t get it, but I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong.  That goes for taste in movies, music, and especially taste in politics.  I also wish people would realize our stances on things aren’t always so clear cut, even if you support an issue.

Example: I’m pro-choice, but still would prefer women use abortion as a last resort (as I think most people do).  I support marijuana legalization, but I find most of the supporters annoying and make serious discussion of the topic hard to do.  By contrast, I’m rather fiscally conservative, believe that American should have the right to own guns if they wish (but still pass mandatory background checks), and believe that if you’re going to live and work in this country, you have to speak English.

If you agree or disagree with any of these stances, I’ll happily discuss them with you.  Acting like someone is “stupid” or “wrong” demonizes them.  It makes them seem inhuman, and that’s unforgivable.

In 2008, I voted for Obama.  In 2012, I voted for Obama again.  I’m not shy in saying that.  I won’t pretend he’s been perfect the last four years, but he’s worked hard and, in my opinion, done a lot of good.  He ended the war in Iraq, got Osama Bin Laden, kept the economy from collapsing in on itself (even if unemployment is still a huge problem), took a firm stance supporting gay marriage, and passed a monumental healthcare bill.

That being said, I would have gladly heard an alternative from an opposing candidate.  The economy hadn’t collapsed, but it hadn’t improved as much as it could have, and that was a legitimate point to attack Obama on.  But I quickly lost patience for people who kept rattling on about him being a Secret Muslim, or people harping on about his birth certificate.  I will say straight up I have no patience for conspiracy theorists, simply because they harp on bullshit when we have more important things to worry about.  I put “birthers” up there with people who think the moon landing was faked, or who think 9/11 was an inside job.

I’d like to paraphrase an old quote I heard once: “For all the time, money, energy, and resources it would take to fake the moon landing, and the number of people you’d have to keep quiet…at the end of the day, it’d just be easier to actually land on the moon.”  What’s more, stuff like that doesn’t matter because it’s in the past.  Why don’t we focus on right now and what we can do?

My point is if the Republicans had gotten a really good candidate, they would have stood a chance.  But they didn’t do that, did they?  Romney seemed to be an early favorite, but the GOP seemed to try to get anyone but him.  They considered Palin, Gingrich, Santorum, Cain, Bachman, Pawlenty, Trump, etc.  Did any of these people offer anything substantial?  Nope.  The GOP just wanted to beat Obama, so they threw out anything out there hoping it would stick, so they wouldn’t have to go with Romney.  They were saying “Anyone but Obama”, but it seemed more like “Anyone but Romney”.

And when the nomination was all but secured, Romney seemed intent on insulting everyone when he wasn’t getting upstaged by Clint Eastwood yelling at a chair.  I find it amazing to say this, but he literally insulted half of the country.  I didn’t realize it until I started writing this post how many gaffes and memes Romney inspired.  Here’s a shortlist:

– “47 Percent”
– “Binders Full of Women”
– “Windows on an aircraft”
– “Corporations are people”
– “Clean coal”
– “It would be helpful to be Latino”
– “Middle income is $200,000”
– “My wife drives a couple of Cadillacs”
– “My friends own a few NASCAR teams”

It’s a simple fact that if you want anything, you have to appeal to people.  You have to get them on your side.  You have to be gentle and charismatic.  Romney was as gentle as an axe to the temple, and seemed to take active pride in giving everyone the middle finger.  He even refused to distance himself from the awful rape comments made by men like Akin and MourdockAll while talking about getting rid of Big Bird to boot!  

I don’t care who you are, you do not take the side of rape in any situation, especially when you’re running for President!  What the hell is wrong with you?!

I think the worst thing for me though was him faking charity.  There was Paul Ryan and his fake soup kitchen photo-op that was quickly debunked, but it was his response to Hurricane Sandy that I found especially reprehensible.  Sandy was special because even though it was only on the East Coast, its effects could be felt across the country.  This was a time to put aside politics and get to helping people who were genuinely in need.

What did Romney do?  Aside from calling the hurricane relief “immoral”, he faked a photo op with people donating food.  How low can you possibly get?  It wasn’t just limited to Romney either, with Donald Trump dangling his $5 million in front of Obama’s face demanding to see his college records.  Men like Romney and Trump are far from broke, to put it lightly.  It’s well within their grasp to be genuinely charitable, which would have benefited those whose lives were ruined by the hurricane, and gotten them more genuine support.  But they had to do their warped publicity stunts and come off looking like assholes.

How much of a screw-up are you if you’re a Republican and can’t win Florida?  How much of a screw-up are you when Bloomberg and Christie cross party lines and endorse Obama?  How much of a screw-up are you to get curb-stomped in an election with a moderately unpopular incumbent?  Especially when your cronies were trying to suppress voters and rig voting machines to boot?

You could have won…but you screwed it all up.

“-“

Obama got re-elected, we got our first openly gay senator, a dozen more female senators to boot, gay marriage legalized in a bunch of new states, Akin and Mourdock voted out, and even some marijuana legalization!  It’s a liberal dream come true.  There’s still tons of hard work to be done, but even Obama knows that.  And he seems up to the task.

Republicans?  You need to completely re-invent your game.  Going with Palin and the Tea Party straight up did not work.  You need to go more moderate, stop attacking on social issues, and act like damn adults.  If you presented any candidate who was calm, compassionate, charismatic, and wanted to work to make the country better, I’d gladly listen to him or her.  Nominating John McCain (a moderate) was one of the smartest moves you made in ’08, because he’s a man people can respect even if they don’t agree with him.  Nominating Sarah Palin was one of your worst mistakes.  She’s not interested in helping people.  She’s just interested in saying whatever will get her support.  There’s big stuff that needs to be done and we have no time for people who aren’t willing to do it.

As for Romney…well…

…Congratulations.  You’re John Kerry.

Welcome to the other side of the fence.