Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coaching Advice For The Defeated

It's been an interesting day or so since the announcement that President Barack Obama was re-elected for his second term.

To start with, we've received some great praise from readers like you, both in writing and verbally, for our work guiding you and others through the tumultuous election period. We're proud that we can make you laugh with Paul's cartoons, while guiding you to the sage advice of our friends and media colleagues, like Nate Silver and his team at FiveThirtyEight. We are immensely humbled by your words of praise, and are even more motivated to deliver to you the best journalism that we can.

Motivating people to improve is a key ability of those in self-sacrificing jobs like politician or coach. The best coaches and politicians are usually those individuals who aren't in it for their own selfish benefit, and who aren't blinded by their own propaganda telling them how great they are.

For our friends in the Republican Party, they found that out the hard way on Tuesday night - so we've got a few important pieces of advice they may want to pay attention to, if they don't want their political party to become the next relic of history.

Our first nugget of wisdom is to look at the calendar. This is 2012, a dozen years into the 21st century. As writer Ta-Nehisi Coates pointedly noted this week, this isn't 1968 - the hippies punch back now. As conservative writer Ross Douthat admitted in a similar if stunned fashion, the age of Reagan is now officially over.

Other than rich old, white men - and those white men who think that "someday" they'll be rich too - the Republican Party has driven everyone else away. That group of 'everyone else' includes women, gays and lesbians, minorities including blacks and latinos, and the working class - who all had a pretty incredible night on Tuesday.

If Republicans continue to focus on satisfying rich, old, extremist conservative white, men, they will be extinct as a political party in another dozen years. As Meghan McCain said again on Wednesday, the Republican Party must change or die.

The second big piece of advice we have to give to our friends on the right is that it's time to get rid of the right-wing media echo chamber.

On election night, the propaganda network that poses as news, Fox, had a complete meltdown. Karl Rove, the man once touted as George W. Bush's political brain literally could not face the facts of the election as they were being presented to him. Many of the other members of the Fox election team seemed to be having similar problems with reality. In short, the Republicans on Fox believed their own propaganda - and got humiliated with the facts. Conservative radio on the day after the election wasn't much better.

You cannot win the long-term political war by simply screaming louder, or simply throwing more money at the problem without actually changing your approach to it. If anything, the 2012 election proved that.

Our final piece of advice to those on the political right is a simple reality check, though nothing like the walloping Republicans received this year: If you're in the Republican Party, it's long past time for you to clean house.

We have said for years that not all Republicans are bad, just as all Democrats and Independents aren't good. There are bad Republicans though, and they have been leading your party. They are the kind of people sports coaches call "juicers." They get amped up on their own fake substances, lie to themselves, lie to everyone else, and do flashy things for a short time.

They are also the kinds of players who burn out easy - and get blown out of the game forever, when they're finally caught.

Take the advice we've offered here, Republicans: It's time you looked forward too.

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