The host of a popular sports talk radio show in this region of the country often advises would-be national champion football teams that fall by the wayside to “sit down and shut up.”
In the wake of a national election that saw President Obama score a convincing victory and stun those who believed Romney would win, the command can certainly fit the political world. Once again, a sports analogy has filled the bill.
Following is my short list of Republican strategists, ambassador-wannabes and government-overthrow promoters who seriously need to consider taking the advice.
Karl Rove, Dick Morris, John Sununu, Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich and, foremost of all, Rush Limbaugh should find a corner and hush.
Notice, please, that I did not include Mr. Romney among that group. He elegantly enunciated the notion of all sides in Washington working together for the common good. Now that Mr. Obama has been re-elected, it is up to him to lead in that manner — despite showing no such predilection during his first term.
Rove, who directed efforts that led to George W. Bush’s being elected governor of Texas and then president, was apparently so surprised by the results that he refused to trust the television networks and pundits who declared Mr. Obama the winner at around 11:30 p.m. on election night. Rove had put all of his marbles on the possible GOP vote in some rural areas of Ohio. But as the night wore on, the outcome got worse and worse for Romney. Clearly, Rove had misplaced his steelie.
The others in that cast of characters had spent four years trying to undo what the American electorate had decided when Mr. Obama was elected in 2008. They did not take Tuesday’s defeat well. The idea of being a “good loser” never dawned on them, particularly Mr. Trump who was quoted by ABC News as calling the election “a total sham and a travesty.”
Mr. Romney was smarter and more magnanimous in accepting defeat and the will of the American people. His concession speech had grace and appeal. I never thought him of him as a great candidate. Just because someone wants to be president — and carries that desire from election to election — doesn’t automatically make them the right person for the job.
Mr. Romney stumbled several times throughout the Republican primary and general election. His propensity to talk about his friends in high places and to talk down to those famous “47-percenters” among us (myself included) proved to be among the hurdles that he could not overcome.
I believe that the United States of America could benefit from a commission to study our system of governance in terms of re-teaching our politicians how to work together — an idea that most of us were exposed to in our formative years. “United” should be more than merely a part of the country’s name.
Gone should be the days of having leaders of one party declare that they would spend the next four years working to block the winner’s plans, as Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky did four years ago.
Save a seat on that commission for Mr. Romney.
Mac Gordon is a retired reporter who lives near Blakely and writes an occasional opinion column for The Albany Herald.