Earlier this evening I heard Chris Matthews remark on "Hardball" that President Obama is winning this race "in spite" of all the contemptible Republican tactics: charges of unAmericanism, a "food-stamp" presidency, come-and-get-it welfare dispensations, the president's through-and-through Otherness ... you are all too familiar with the filth.
My instant reaction to Matthews' observation was that the antithesis is likely true (or truer); that President Obama is winning this race because of Republican contemptibility, not in spite of it (none of which is to deny, it should go without saying, Obama's enormous political skills). If Republicans remain the undisputed champions of only one thing in this political universe, it is that they can always be counted on to blunderingly overreach, to patently overplay their hand, to make complete and absolute asses of themselves.
This attribute became strikingly clear under Gingrich's House regime--adolescent tantrums and government shutdowns, anyone?--and they've only become better at it. They have since disgracefully overplayed their hand in the ideological denial of climate change, in exploiting older religious conservatives at the cost of younger (and more conscientious) evangelicals, in "shrinking" government by brazenly bloating plutocratic wallets as well as deficits, in huckstering patriotic wars of vast national-security injury, in catering to ever-whiter and narrower slices of the nation's immensely diversifying demographics--in short, for the sake of that very next "win," they have played themselves straight into ethical bankruptcy.
They've nothing left. They squandered years of potentially competitive cooperation and thoughtful partisanship; they cornered themselves into wilder- and wilder-eyed extremism; they bet the farm on ... what? In heaven's name what?
So I put the rather loaded question to you: Are they now really losing in spite of all that?