So... Obama somehow managed to win a second term, despite having a record that should have gotten him tossed out on his ear. What happened here? I mostly agree with Ace's list of things that hurt Romney, but what's going on beneath all that? The root problem, as I see it, is that we have far too many voters in this country who simply can't be reasoned with.
Many people on the left are Kool-Aid drinkers. They are firmly decided yet decidedly misinformed, the type of people who refuse to even speak to anyone that watches Fox News. They tend to think of themselves as highly-informed voters, but they deliberately seek out only the most rabidly left-wing media outlets and completely shun all dissenting opinions. If they even acknowledge that there is another side, it is only to present a cartoonish caricature of their political opponents... they don't have any interest in knowing what anyone on the right really thinks about anything.
For some voters, their problem is not so much willful ignorance as it is an overreliance on emotional thinking. They like to think of themselves as having an open mind, but their minds are so open that their brains have fallen out. They don't necessarily shun opposing views, but it can still be very difficult to reach such people... they don't process information in the same way that logical people do. You can hit them over the head with cold hard facts all day long and not even make a dent, because they base their votes more on how they feel than anything else... if the facts hurt their feelings, you aren't going to get very far with them. The only chance you have to win over people like this is with appeals to emotion... and the very next day the Democrats would probably just win them right back again by appealing to class envy, hurling false charges of racism or homophobia, stoking hatred of Christians or Jews, playing on imaginary fears of wars on lady parts, or arranging a well-timed photo op.
And then there are those who can't really be bothered to think at all. They are the product of a failed school system that doesn't teach kids how to think critically. They know all sorts of things, but they don't know how they know them. They might not seek out overtly political stuff, but most "straight" media coverage they get from our corrupt media is just a watered-down version of the delusional crap they would get from MSNBC... and even when they try their best to avoid that sort of stuff, it still finds them anyway in dribs and drabs thanks to all the left-wing talking points that permeate pop culture. They might call themselves apolitical, but they are Democrats by default. Some of these people can be converted, but they have to be mugged by reality first. That being said, if seeing both 9/11/2001 and 9/11/2012, and suffering through the worst economic recovery in our nation's history aren't enough to wake them up, then I don't know what will.
These are all long-term cultural problems we face here, they didn't just suddenly crop up on us overnight. And it seems to get a little bit worse every single year. I still remember my first run-in with this sort of thing... it was something that happened to me way back in grade school, but it stuck with me.
Ronald Reagan was running against Walter Mondale, and my fifth-grade teacher polled the class on who we would vote for... she gave us some ballots to fill out, but first she gave us a twenty minute lecture on the awfulness of Reagan and the wonderfulness of Mondale. I didn't know very much about politics at the time, but I was vaguely aware that my father was a Reagan voter, and I knew what my teacher was doing was very wrong. This was a push poll... I didn't know the proper term for it at the time, but I could see it for what it was and it made me very angry. As it turned out, I was the only kid in the whole class who didn't vote for Mondale. You'd think the teacher would be satisfied with how successful her push poll was, but no... she spent the rest of our time in class trying to track down and expose the identity of the sole Reagan voter. I stayed quiet, hoping she would just give up and get back to doing her job, but she didn't stop until she got every kid in class but me to fess up to who they voted for... she finally found me by the process of elimination. Then she got in my face and demanded to know why I voted for Reagan... so I got in her her face instead and called her every name I could think of, chasing her right out of her own classroom. I hated her guts from that day forward, and I never blindly took the word of any teacher again... any respect they got from me they had to earn.
That was 1984. I can only imagine how insufferable the teachers in that school are today, now that we're living in the Age of Obama. We can argue about Romney's strategery all we want, but what are we going to do about all these other problems? This isn't just about the next election. I fear this will take generations to fix, assuming we haven't already reached some sort of tipping point.
Update: Of course, folks on the right can be just as hard to reason with sometimes. Apparently some people were so butthurt about how the primaries turned out that they stopped identifying themselves as Republicans, which was part of where all the confusion about the polls came from. Also, by the sounds of it, Project ORCA turned out to be nothing short of a GOTV fiasco. Oh well. Maybe next time we'll somehow manage to get our act together, if the country lasts that long.
Update: Ugh... I'm really amazed that I'm still arguing with brainwashed Dems who are 100% certain that Mitt Romney's position on abortion is identical to Todd Akin's, while also having to take crap from people on the right who see no difference between Romney and Obama. It's almost enough to make me want to just say screw it and start picketing somewhere with some "Obama=Akin" signs.