A Great Night for US Democracy

Exclusive: President Obama’s reelection was a victory for him and the Democrats but also for the principles of democracy. The Republicans sabotaged the economy, sought to suppress the vote and flooded TV screens with attack ads, but young people and minorities led the way in rejecting these tactics, says Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

In the end, after a long ordeal lasting much of the last four years, the American people rejected the politics of Republican hostage-taking. Rather than reward the GOP for making the U.S. economy “scream,” voters – by a margin of nearly three million ballots – reelected President Barack Obama.

The ruthless Republican strategy began on the day Obama took office, Jan. 20, 2009. It was a plan to delegitimize, denigrate and destroy the first African-American president. But it failed as young people, blacks, Hispanics and other minorities rallied to defend their choice from four years ago, turning out in strong numbers and refusing to submit.

Some young Obama voters were passing out granola bars to people waiting in a long line to vote. (Photo credit: barackobama.com)

Though President Obama’s numbers were down among whites, who increased their support for the Republican candidate compared to 2008, other demographic groups, including women, voted for Obama’s reelection in overwhelming numbers.

In doing so, the voters not only rejected the GOP scheme of taking the U.S. economy hostage (by obstructing Obama’s proposals to create jobs and forcing a crisis over the nation’s credit rating last year), but they withstood Republican efforts to suppress their votes, and they rebuffed the unprecedented expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars lavished on attack ads mostly paid for by pro-Republican billionaires.

So, Election Night turned out to be a great night for American democracy. The most brazen offensive by plutocrats in modern U.S. history had been turned back. Besides Obama’s reelection, Democrats actually gained seats in the U.S. Senate, contrary to the expectation that they might lose their majority.

The GOP did retain its majority in the House of Representatives – benefiting from redistricting in many states controlled by Republican governors and legislatures – but it appears the Republican majority will be several seats smaller after a few close races are decided.

The Big Question

Thus, the big question on the day after this GOP debacle is whether the defeat will lead to the kind of soul-searching that could convince the Republicans to look in the mirror and begin to remake themselves more in the image of the responsible pro-business party that many of us remember from the Eisenhower era of the 1950s.

Will the Republicans finally repudiate the win-at-all-cost tactics of Richard Nixon, including his Southern Strategy and its not-so-subtle appeals to racism and xenophobic resentments? Will the GOP accept facts and science on crucial issues like global warming – or will the party continue to insist on fantasies and rely on propaganda?

Will the Republicans finally recognize that the American Republic was created by Founders who embraced government as crucial to build the nation and who devised the Constitution to create a vibrant central authority with strong powers to promote the “general welfare”? The Framers did not disdain government as today’s Tea Party pretends. [See Robert Parry's America's Stolen Narrative.]

The answers to these questions will not be easy for the GOP, which has not only internalized ruthlessness over the past four-plus decades but has implanted know-nothingism in the party’s DNA. And the Republicans have generally profited from this approach. It’s hard to abandon tactics that have worked. [For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “How to Save the GOP.”]

There’s also the reality of the Right’s massive infrastructure of angry media personalities, mercenary think tanks and ugly attack groups – all of which have a strong self-interest in the status quo. Even if some GOP leaders wanted to change course, they’d have to confront these entrenched propagandists, the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Fox News, ready to denounce any responsible Republicans as traitors.

Faced with this prospect of internecine warfare, the Republican Party might well opt to just continue down the same path toward consolidating the white vote and suppressing the votes of others, while investing even more in propaganda to create public confusion and resuming the GOP’s obstructionist ways.

But the hard truth for the Republicans is that those tactics didn’t succeed in 2012. The GOP took the U.S. economy hostage and told the American people that their only choice was to elect Mitt Romney and then follow the instructions from the Republican Congress.

More than 60 million American voters called the GOP’s bluff.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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36 comments on “A Great Night for US Democracy

  1. James J. Hinde on said:

    Many thanks for persevering with your insightful and trustworthy articles and expose’s of treachery in high places. James

  2. Democracy… principles of democracy…

    wow, what a goddamned enabler of fascism Parry has become. The people who are covering up the mass murder of 3000 americans of 911 by the zionists, the drug traffickers in chief (the CIA, pentagon etc) and this guy is talking about what a great night for democracy…

    how low you have fallen Mr Parry.

    • Jack Worrick on said:

      “Fascism”. You, and a bunch of people in these comments, keep using that term. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      Also, Zionists? Where did they come from?

      • Frances in California on said:

        Jack, these are real sore losers, y’see? They’re out of a job now because the campaign is over. They were getting paid by the word to produce this dreck before; now, they hit the unemployment lines and complain (always, they complain); but real work is beyond them so they’ll be on the dole until their time runs out; then they’ll complain some more about “immigrants” or other Scapegoat-du-Jour, and wait around for someone to hire them to be cowardly verbal thugs some more. Don’t pay them any heed, oh, and definitely don’t buy anything they try to sell you.

        • Jack Worrick on said:

          Oh the irony. They’re out of a job, must be lazy folks looking for handouts from above to help them out!

          Why don’t they try their own message of “suck it up, stop being lazy, and work harder!” ?

    • Nick, you wouldn’t happen to live in Colorado or Washington would you? Lay off the weed a little buddy.

      • Rod Timmons on said:

        Not a PotHead but seems some of these phoney right-wing Conservatives could use a joint or two to start dealing with reality of the country let lone the world !

  3. exomike on said:

    Man, It’s Fascists all the way down. Parry is saluting the fact that we actually got to elect the lesser of two evils against an incredible Elite Fascists machine. I thought Obama blew it in his first two years but If “we gave Dubya two terms. What’s your problem? Let’s see what Obama does in his second term.

  4. I don’t see any soul searching in the Republican party anytime soon- especially today’s incarnation of the party (or “organization” as Chomsky recently referred to the GOP). It should’ve happened after Watergate, but instead they doubled down on their virulently anti-democratic and criminal ways (the October Surprise, and the Iran Contra affair to name just two examples that Mr. Perry has written so well about) and just became more adept and skilled at cover-ups. It’s scary to imagine what they might be planning in Washington over the next four years as well as the increase in terrorist activities around the country.

  5. To do soul searching, you first have to have a soul.

  6. gregorylkruse on said:

    People who think Obama is a fascist probably never met one. I didn’t notice any Roman Catholic bishops at his rallies.

  7. nora king on said:

    The ordeal did lasr four years, as The 2008 victory for Obama unleashed personal racism, scapegoating and general unpleasantness by rural motorcycle gangs against “race-mixers” like myself. I could no longer have a drink at the local bar without attracting venom as a percieved Obama surrogate. The fact that Republican leaders and T Party activists shared a conviction that Obama and perhaps all Mexicans could be made to vanish with four years of visciousness has been dispelled.

    The Republican supression of the vote led to a moving resurgence of perseverance to stand on line I remember from the people of Philadelphia in 1978 when we defeated Frank Rizzo. The fight for our rights goes on.

    For the guy who throws the word ‘fascism’ around…perhaps you csn respect the risk Mr. Parry took in the face of real fascist danger. He and my old buddy Brian Barger risked their lives to tell us the most important stories of their young manhood. Show some respect for the subtulties of real life.

  8. Sanity prevailed, and President Obama can continue his good work.

    • paschn on said:

      “President Obama’s reelection was a victory for him and the Democrats but also for the principles of democracy”

      I hope to Christ someone will pinch me awake. If not, I swear some of these articles are written by bona-fide citizens of Bizzarro world. Whom, in their right mind and not paid off by AIPAC or Wall Street, could possibly write such drivel!? Obama, (the slightly lesser of two very evils), aka Barry Sotero signs into law the National Defense Authorization Act, among many, many other NON-democratic legislation, which has even further left this dying nation with as little constitution as Israel, bald-faced lied about bringing the gullible home from wars we couldn’t afford, (not before but especially not after the royal, government sanctioned, raping we are being exposed to by the Rothschilds’ global,[thanks to the West],Central Banking Cabal), to slaughter a people who’s only “crime” was to refuse the useless toilet paper printed by the Federal Reserve as payment for their oil, and strong dislike of allowing a usurous Central Bank to bleed them dry as it has AmeriKa? Are those the the democratic principles mentioned in your rhetorical article?
      The only thing re-electing that phoney traitor has done is slightly delay the next war for Israel in Iran!

      http://www.roitov.com/articles/obama2.htm

      Already you can see signs of the nasty, evil little machinations of “Bibi” and company twisting arms, buying more legislators,(with our tax dollars), making more threats to the IAEA to feed the lemmings more garbage to attack a country with NO nukes, (israel has AT LEAST 300 according to Mordechai Vanunu, since the ’80′s along with all the WMD’s we were lied into believing Hussein had), allows more inspections than needed to maintain good standing with the IAEA, to which israel does NOT belong and refuses to join and unlike Israel and CERTAINLY AmeriKa, hasn’t attacked another nation in over 200 years. Similar tactics I’m sure were used against Judge Goldstone to force him to “crawfish” on his correct-the-first-time labeling of Israel as a terrorist nation for their most recent slaughter on beleagered Palestine. I guess the best way to insure plenty of “useless eaters” for wars fought for a foreign nation is to;

      1.) Slowly send all their jobs to foreign nations while those useless eaters smile blankly and drool over this week’s play-offs, which leaves them only 2 nasty alternative, become a sycophant-cop or a sycophant soldier.
      or
      2.) Continue the concerted efforts, (successful efforts obviously), to keep their I.Q.s as close to 2 digits as possible and still be able to fire a weapon, rape a child or fire a depleted uranium round to destroy the victim nation/people for the next 20 generations.

      Or maybe, just maybe Wall Street et al are pissed off because, unlike AmeriKa/Israel, Iran offers free higher education to it’s people which has deprived the “money lenders” the opportunity to nail Iranians with 1 trillion dollars in student loan debt @ 10% interest to prepare them for jobs that don’t exist so they can be the first PHD on their block to flip burgers or haul trash as they have here in AmeriKa? It doesn’t take too much imagination to see that…It DOES, however, take a mind still able to think objectively/critically..right bore-at?

      • paschinshit go to hell you medievalist antisemitic bastard

        • Come on Borat, In order for one to be “antisemite” the object of their anti-ness would have to actually be semitic. If one were to use a term such as antiashkenazi or antikhazar it might be more accurate.

          Also, too slowly and too late people are seeing the truth about that neologistic blather and even some of the “semitic” are confessing it’s a sham….

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUGVPBO9_cA

      • Jack Worrick on said:

        What are you talking about?

        Please tell me you’re just another conspiracy nut and that you believe everything that you have just said. It’ll make it easier for me to dismiss you.

        • Frances in California on said:

          Jack, he is a conspiracy nut and actually believes everything that he just said. This morning I was on the bus with a schizophrenic woman; she literally babbled all the way from Hollywood to UCLA – and in two languages! Nothing she said made any sense – kinda like our friend . . .

  9. Vivek Jain on said:

    Yeah, a GREAT night for democracy. What nonsense.

    Does Parry not know that Dr. Jill Stein and her running mate Cheri Honkala were arrested and excluded from the “debate” at Hofstra? They were restrained and handcuffed to a metal chair for eight hours.
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/16/green-party-candidate-jill-stein-arrested-outside-debate

    Would democracy require billions of dollars to give the public the illusion that it has choice at the ballot box?

    What about the 21 page agreement between the two liars running to be the messenger-servants of the ruling class?
    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/read-the-21-page-debate-agreement-between-signed-by-the-romney-and-obama-campaigns

    Parry’s done some great journalism in the past but this Obamaphilia is really offensive and unprofessional.

    • Jack Worrick on said:

      Jill Stein and her running mate did not have the credentials to enter the building. It’s crystal clear why they were arrested, because they were two unregistered people trying to get into a debate room that held both Obama and Romney. If someone tried to run into a presidential debate hall, claiming that they are “Jill Stein” and “Cheri Honkala” but they didn’t have credentials to prove it, would you let them in to see Obama and Romney? Of course not, they could have been terrorists or spies.

      Second, that 21 page agreement (which you clearly did not read) was an agreement between Obama and Romney’s lawyers. It set the guidelines and parameters for the debate, what the topic was, what kind of things they could and could not say (can talk about: proposed policy changes, can’t talk about: sponsors, etc.) It has nothing to do with “messenger-servants of the ruling class”.

      I’m ashamed that people like you are allowed to vote, causing sensationalism all over the place with your conspiracy theories and worthless hyperlinking to articles that you, yourself, have not perused.

      • “…can talk about: proposed policy changes, can’t talk about: sponsors, etc.) It has nothing to do with “messenger-servants of the ruling class”. Huh? That has EVERYTHING to do with being “messenger-servants of the ruling class”! If you self-edit and constrict your dialogue to a few campaign talking points (as defined by corporate-style lawyers), then, as others have remarked, the debate simply becomes / became dual political infomercials.

  10. Rehmat on said:

    American democracy has just been declared ‘kosher’ by two war criminals, Netanyahu and Barak – both of whom have been indicted by a Turkish tribunal for ordering the murder of nine Turk aid workers on Gaza Flotilla two years ago.

    Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has lauded Barack Obama re-election by claiming that under Obama administration Israel-US ties had been stronger than ever – reported Israeli daily Ha’aretz on November 7, 2012. Both Israeli defence minister Ehud Barak and Israeli ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren were overjoyed by Obama victory , saying they don’t foresee any changes in Washington’s blind support for the Zionist entity.

    http://rehmat1.com/2012/11/07/netanyahu-obama-victory-is-good-for-israel/

  11. elmerfudzie on said:

    It’s night alright, midnight, for democracy. After lording over the reenactments of both the NDAA and the Patriot Acts not to mention, failure to close GTMO and rectify it’s attendant atrocities, Obama’s second term signals a corrosive beltway that favors plutocracy, rigorous prosecution of government whistle blowers, failure to arrest and prosecute banksters, failure to recover taxable treasures. For example, works of art, precious metal and other similar dubious digital transfers that surreptitiously left out shores for tax havens in Panama City, Grand Cayman Islands among other tax dodging hideouts. We are all waiting for this man to return us the America we sacrificed so much for. Obama can accomplish this by honoring those historic documents crafted by our founding fathers, preserved and protected so diligently at the Library of Congress. I do not believe that the people of this nation can tolerate any more open hypocrisy from Congress or the WH. By the sin of omission, Obama has failed to re-open the Warren Report, excuse me, the 911 Commission Report, further his failure extends into protecting Goldman Sachs ET AL from Judicial prosecution. He may have already and irrevocably provoked militant elements within the Pakistani Army by a continued drone warfare program, these same elements may have ready access to nuclear weapons. As a staunch and long time Democrat, I can say that there are many of us who are at our screaming limits, tolerating the countless abnormalities in D.C. politics and if it fails to really change, the sheer weight of endless deceptions will result in a sudden and total collapse of it’s dignity and authority. Obama may be riding high now in popularity and polls but so did Nixon just before his resignation. America will NOT go the way of Greece, we will NOT subjugate ourselves to the whims of fiat currency controllers or banksters but we will use the process of impeachment. So have a seat MR President, it’s all yours but get this, it’s a hot one and like all the rest of us, you can be fired.

    • paschn on said:

      Very, very well put. Unfortunately, I’m afraid you have greatly over-estimated the consciousness, courage and focus of what is, sadly, the remnants of a once decent Christ-loving, God fearing people.

      • elmerfudzie on said:

        Obama lit a fire under my butt not unlike Bush Jr did, both of whom are new world order lackeys. At least the Yale graduate had an excuse, being associated with that University and worse, was under tutelage by his fathers many dark and classified influences. Not to wander too far off the subject but Bush Jr claimed to have found God while sitting in a coffee shop, well enough but I’m LOL and crying too. Obama does not project the obvious silliness of his predecessor therefor has NO excuse, he’s quite above the usual bar and more educated in terms of travels and formal education. Obama, the Harvard constitutional lawyer who peculiarly enough embraces those viewpoints of Cass Sunstein, in my view a Bill of Rights felon. This is in sharp contrast to his presidential predecessor, who never visited Europe until his election and enjoyed oil speculation above all else. For reasons unknown, total idiots as well as high brow intellectuals are extremes that cause our presidential leadership to stumble. Either condition tends to somehow degrade their competence. For example; Mr. Clinton has a distinctive Rhodes scholarship but this did not translate into any help for our poor nor did those credentials bridle his mendacity! I apologize again for digressing. We’re stuck with this Obama character, who was and remains an active deputy of the CIA. Obama traveled, surreptitiously under special assignment by the Langley crowd to visit of all places, The Islamic Republic of Pakistan circa 1972. No chump behind that nice natural tan folks. At that time American citizens were not permitted to visit Pakistan without good reason and approval from the State Department. It begs the question, what was and is the deal? Who’s really sitting in the WH these days?

  12. CORNEL WILLIAMS on said:

    Robert Parry, you have continued the fight against the right wingers even during the darkest days of American Democracy. Even while the MSNBC crew remains silent when their right wing guests praise the fraud, Ronald Reagan, you have fought to tell the truth about this imposter, while his revisionist history crew continues to confuse a new generation unaware of the facts related to his Presidency.
    Regarding Obama, he will go down in history as one of the all time great Presidents. Now, the right wingers cannot stop it. They’re very confused, angry, and just can’t understand why people don’t think like them.
    But don’t you stop until the history of Ronald Reagan is corrected for future generations. Why aren’t you ever invited on MSNBC? I’ve seen you on Democracy Now. What’s wrong with MSNBC?

  13. mike jones on said:

    This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read. Obama spent 100 million dollars in attack ads against Romney BEFORE he was even nominated by the Republican party. Please explain that?

    • Jack Worrick on said:

      Compared to the billions Romney spent?

      Where’s your proof that Obama spent 100 million in attack ads? My recollection of this past year was that Romney was shooting himself in the foot over and over again with his silly remarks about the 47%, trying to abuse the incident in Benghazi, etc. etc.

  14. Joey Dean on said:

    Im jsut glad the sheeple were able to see through Romneys BS Lies!

    http://www.in-anon.tk

  15. the only reason the teens voted for him is because he’s a nigger.

  16. The lesser of two evils, but barely. I would have preferred Romney to win, not because I think he would be good for the country but at least because he does what he says he will do. Obama has shown nothing but a duplicitous nature, flowing platitudes from one side of his mouth while raising an iron fist on the other side. The troops are not home, Guantanamo has expanded, as has the drone campaign. More wars, more borrowing, no future.

  17. It would be lovely to imagine that President Obama won the election because of his great personality vs Mit Romney’s out of touch eliteness during the 2012 election but the reality is probably that voters registered their complaint of corporate elitism as governance in America (which sent the message that companies are not people too), and that job or no job, elitists don’t have a mandate over American politics, at least, not for voters.

    Apparently, they don’t have one either over the electoral college unless it was so flawed that it was rigged for Obama to win.

    While many claim it is because of race, or gifts, the simple explanation is that during classic and historic times past, America had two parties and the decision was much harder because of their classic ideas…..but that was because the GOP wasn’t invested in the outcome due to corporate lobbying.

    Corporate ownership of the GOP changes everything, and it may mean that the Democrats must carry both parties into the future since the GOP decided where their bread is buttered, and decided to accommodate that element, with a little help from their friends. But that has been a growing phenomenon in both parties lately, and Americans are none too pleased with the results.

    Still able to appeal to Americans emotionally, the Democrats have much to prove that their passionate undertaking is not all windowdressing, or the next election will be very much more difficult for both parties…due to preexisting conditions of the GOP and potentially empty promises from Democrats.

    The lesser of two evils is only marginally effective if those expectations that were given lift at the Democratic Convention and the voting process are unable to take flight during the second administration of President Obama.

    The most useful thing both parties could do “for change” is to reject corporate personhood, and put government and public service back at the center of the action and allow neither side to toy with the self indulgence that is so tempting for either side. Only one master can be served supposedly, but Congress continually loses its way about who it works for, and it shows badly, but more careful deception is not the answer that Americans are looking for.