The degree of sheer, unfiltered hate that was directed at President Obama in this last election cycle was striking in the way the ‘fringe’ of the Republican Party was embraced by conservative media outlets, particularly Fox News. And without question that vitriol, that sheer disgust for President Obama, was manifested in the way some (and certainly not all) of my Republican friends behaved these past couple of years. Birds of a feather flock together, and when you were around them yet were the lone supporter of Team Blue, let me tell you, it’s been no fun.
Oh how I long for the old days when I could have good-natured banter about politics with my golf buddies who happened to be Republicans. Today, that’s near impossible. They just hate the guy. It’s visceral. So many of those guys, who were genuinely moderate say 10 years ago, have gone to a darker place, in my view. But if you are constantly exposing yourself to the incessant drum beat that Barack Obama is evil on Fox News, you can sadly understand how it happens.
I read the Facebook posts of some of my Republican friends and the hate toward President Obama just oozes from their sentences. There is so much that I don’t like about Mitt Romney and what he believes, but I don’t come close to hating the guy.
For Fox News to allow birthers and crazies like Donald Trump and Dick Morris and countless others to be so prominent in their broadcast is a great example of how Team Red really screwed up. Team Obama would NEVER, EVER allow those kind of guys to dominate air time on liberal or 'middle road’ media outlets. They don’t think like that. They are much, much smarter than that: they knew they already had the base wrapped up. Why would you adopt a strategy so seething with blind rage and hate and think it wouldn’t totally turn off independents? It makes absolutely no sense.
And you know what happened? That sheer hate that was so heavily promoted by Fox and others fired up the Republican base BIG TIME. Yard signs went up at a frenetic pace around the country, and non-statistical oriented pundits like Peggy Noonan took note and tried to quantify that observation into a possible Romney win. No question, the AGING WHITE GUY WAS FIRED UP.
But it had the opposite effect on the uncommitted, female, independent, Latino, young vote.
To my Republican friends, the reason so many of you are in total shock today is that if you always listen or read these media outlets, and wake up every morning watching the trio of Steve Doocy, Getchen Carlson and Brian Kilmeade (Do you really, truly think their reporting is fair and balanced? No you don’t!), you sort of have drunk the Kool-Aid and been in a reality distortion field. You were told over and over that Romney was going to win, and implicit in their reporting was the underlying vibe that it was really OK to hate President Obama.
Blind rage and hate is a losing strategy. It will fire up your base, but it will really turn off a HUGE part of the electorate. And let’s not forget how it fired up Team Blue! Trust me, their internal polls for months were telling them that the 'hate Barack’ strategy was going to backfire. They were clearly concerned about all the attack ads in the last week of the campaign (unknown territory for them, compared to 2008); but they knew the real mean-spirited stuff was a complete turn-off to so many that weren’t already sold on Romney.