47% was not a gaffe

There are silly mis-statements that should have no bearing on the outcome of the election. To call them out amounts to “neener neener” and Americans who are undecided or could change their vote are not influenced by them. Who cares if Romney says windows on planes should open? People who are voting for him will forgive it. People who aren’t voting for him think it’s significant. But no votes change.

But the 47% line was not like that. It was an unusually clear statement of something very obvious about the Republican philosophy. Actually unprecedented. So important that it could not just bring down Romney, but it should also cause people who vote Republican to take another look at whether that’s wise.

I used to vote Republican, for the reason I think a lot of people still do. I want a strong country, one that doesn’t waffle. I thought the Democrats were nominating people who, as Romney suggests about Obama, were asking for forgiveness. It started with Carter, again, as he says. I see his election as a response to Watergate and Vietnam. We had just spent a decade doing horrible things, and when the truth was out, we didn’t trust ourselves. So we elected someone who would never commit the sins of Johnson and Nixon. It was the right choice for 1976. But then we forgot, and we elected a series of Presidents who in the end were much worse than either Johnson or Nixon. How much worse? Well the 47% idea really spells it out.

What we need is to find a balance between the horrible governments of the Republicans and the anemic governments of the Democrats. That’s why Clinton is so popular now. Even his Oval Office blowjobs look good. We don’t want a saint. But we don’t want Cheney or Romney either (don’t kid yourself about who we elected in 2000 and 2004, it wasn’t Bush, it was Cheney, Bush is a campaigner, a very good one, Cheney is governance).

It would be nice if we Americans could talk to each other about this, instead of talking through the assholes we keep nominating. That said, Obama is not a terrible compromise, despite the atrocities Greenwald keeps reporting. That will change when we change. He’s wrong to blame the government. As long as the Democrats have to run in the Republican environment, they’re going to have to keep doing the shit they do to keep the bankers, oil industry, pharma, defense industry etc happy. If we ever decide to use our power, even for a moment, that might change.


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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