A guest post from reader Edgar Harris

Now that the election is over and the results are in, the Republican Party is attempting to understand just what happened on November 6. It’s understandable if Republicans are at a bit of a loss. Going into this election season Obama looked like the underdog. The economic recovery has been anemic at best, and even Obama’s core achievement, Obamacare, remains largely unpopular. Obama was vulnerable, and yet he not only won by an electoral landslide, but Democrats also managed to pick up seats in the Senate and the House.

In trying to understand what happened, many Republicans are falling prey to their worst instincts. Many Republicans are concluding that Americans voted for Obama because they feel entitled to things. We can see examples of this in Bill O’Reilly’s election tirade, or Ann Coulter’s meltdown. This fits nicely with the Republican narrative of dividing the nation into givers and takers. However this narrative is not only wildly inaccurate (92% of Americans believe hard work is key to getting ahead), it’s also insulting to the rest of us. What’s worse, it keeps Republicans from understanding the real reasons why they lost the election. Until Republicans understand why they were rejected they cannot hope to recover from their predicament.

I’m hoping to help Republicans understand why they lost. I’m afraid I can’t explain why other people voted for Obama, but I can explain why I voted for Obama. In response to a comment I made on one of Scott A. Robinson’s post, Jason Hudson asked me to name my top two reasons for supporting Obama. I’m going to do you three better, here’s five:

5. Too Many Mitts As a former Conservative I can appreciate changing positions. Sometimes we learn new information that conflicts with our current views, so we change our views to match the facts. What I can’t abide is someone that constantly changes their positions to better align with the political climate. Mitt Romney has changed positions on health care, foreign policy, global warming, and abortion, just to name a few. Each time Romney changed positions it was in response to the political climate.

4. Immigration Any reasonable immigration policy needs to take into account that we’re talking about real people with real families and real lives. A humane policy needs to provide a path to citizenship even for those that here illegally. Breaking up families with deportation is neither humane nor beneficial. Obama supports comprehensive immigration reform while Romney made calls for “self-deportation”.

3. No To Brinkmanship In their book “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks” Mann and Ornstein tell the story of the Conrad-Gregg Act. Conrad-Gregg enjoyed wide bipartisan support. It was even co-sponsored by several Republicans. However once Obama endorsed Conrad-Gregg every single Republican joined to filibuster the act, because they decided it was more important to stop Obama from getting credit than it was to do the right thing for their country (Mann Ornstein x). This is just one example of Republicans refusal to work with Obama. There is also the all too familiar hostage taking strategy Republicans employed during the deficit ceiling debates. Had Obama lost we would have sent a message that hostage taking and brinkmanship are winning political strategies. That’s not the right message to send to our politicians.

2. No To Zombies Do you ever wonder if tax cuts for the highest incomes really stimulate the economy? Do you have a hard time buying into trickle-down economics? You’re not alone. There are numerous studies that show tax cuts for the highest quintile have no measurable impact on the economy’s performance, including the CRS report that was blocked by the GOP. In fact there really isn’t any strong evidence to back these ideas up. These are dead ideas that manage to keep living, or as John Quiggin called them in his book “Zombie Economics”, Zombies. These ideas limp on in large part because they are taken as articles of faith within the Republican Party. When I voted for Obama I voted to shoot these ideas in the head.

1. Obamacare Health care in this country is an embarrassment. We spend more on healthcare than people in other industrialized nations and we don’t live as long. Furthermore we were ranked last among 6 other industrialized nations for providing the best healthcare. The status quo is not working for us. Obamacare, for all its warts, tries to address many of these issues. If Obama lost, it no doubt would have been in large part a reaction to Obamacare. Politicians have great survival instincts, and health care reform would have become a poisoned pill. No Obamacare would mean an end to health care reform for at least twenty years. Note: This is the one item on this list that includes an expansion of entitlements by expanding Medicaid. I can assure you these expansions won’t extend to me.

There you have my top five reasons for voting for Obama. There are certainly more, but I wanted to keep the list easily digestible. I think it’s important to point out that of the five items on this list, three of those items are reasons I voted against Romney and only two are reasons I voted for Obama. My vote for Obama was just as much a vote against Romney and the Republican Party as it was a vote for Obama.

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