Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rabbi Pruzansky On Why Obama Won and How We Are Lost

Rabbi Steven Pruzansky writes about "The Decline and Fall of The American Empire" in a post-election commentary on his blog. Bottom line: we can't compete with a party that promises "free stuff", and a growing electorate that wants, and will continue to expect that.

I see how that works in my own life.  I have a small fine art photography business on a popular handmade website. The people who sell the most in my category are the ones who consistently offer BOGOs (buy one get one free), or substantially reduce their work through sales.  This is why companies like Groupon and Social Living do so well. People want something for nothing, or at least very cheap.  American enterprise can't compete with citizens who don't care about quality as long as it's cheap.

He discusses other reasons why he believes Barack Obama won another four years, and why this country is in a free fall. It's well worth a read.

The most charitable way of explaining the election results of 2012 is that Americans voted for the status quo – for the incumbent President and for a divided Congress. They must enjoy gridlock, partisanship, incompetence, economic stagnation and avoidance of responsibility. And fewer people voted. As I write, with almost all the votes counted, President Obama has won fewer votes than John McCain won in 2008, and more than ten million off his own 2008 total.

But as we awake from the nightmare, it is important to eschew the facile explanations for the Romney defeat that will prevail among the chattering classes. Romney did not lose because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy that devastated this area, nor did he lose because he ran a poor campaign, nor did he lose because the Republicans could have chosen better candidates, nor did he lose because Obama benefited from a slight uptick in the economy due to the business cycle.

Romney lost because he didn’t get enough votes to win.

That might seem obvious, but not for the obvious reasons. Romney lost because the conservative virtues – the traditional American virtues – of liberty, hard work, free enterprise, private initiative and aspirations to moral greatness – no longer inspire or animate a majority of the electorate. The notion of the “Reagan Democrat” is one cliché that should be permanently retired.

Ronald Reagan himself could not win an election in today’s America.

The simplest reason why Romney lost was because it is impossible to compete against free stuff. Every businessman knows this; that is why the “loss leader” or the giveaway is such a powerful marketing tool. Obama’s America is one in which free stuff is given away: the adults among the 47,000,000 on food stamps clearly recognized for whom they should vote, and so they did, by the tens of millions; those who – courtesy of Obama – receive two full years of unemployment benefits (which, of course, both disincentivizes looking for work and also motivates people to work off the books while collecting their windfall) surely know for whom to vote; so too those who anticipate “free” health care, who expect the government to pay their mortgages, who look for the government to give them jobs. The lure of free stuff is irresistible.
Read the rest here.

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