DOWD: Romney is president…of another country

Keywords Forefront / Opinion

Maureen DowdIt makes sense that Mitt Romney and his advisers are still gobsmacked by the fact that they’re not commandeering the West Wing.

Team Romney, after all, resoundingly won the election of the country he was wooing: white male America.

Maybe the group can retreat to a man cave in a Whiter House, with mahogany paneling, brown leather Chesterfields, a moose head over the fireplace and an elevator for the presidential limo.

In its delusional death spiral, the white male patriarchy made little effort not to alienate women. The election had the largest gender gap in the history of the Gallup poll, with Obama winning the vote of single women by 36 percentage points.

As W.’s former aide Karen Hughes put it on Politico, “If another Republican man says anything about rape other than it is a horrific, violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue.”

Romney was an unpalatable candidate. And shocking as it may seem, his strategists weren’t blowing smoke when they said they were going to win; they were just clueless.

Until now, Republicans and Fox News have excelled at conjuring alternate realities. But this time, they made the mistake of believing their fake world actually existed.

Romney and Tea Party loonies dismissed half the country as chattel and moochers who did not belong in their “traditional” America. But the more they insulted the president with birther cracks, the more they tried to force chastity belts on women, and the more they made Hispanics, blacks and gays feel like the help, the more these groups burned to prove that, knitted together, they could give the dead-enders of white male domination the boot.

The election about the economy also sounded the death knell for the Republican culture wars.

Romney was still running in an illusory country where husbands told wives how to vote, and the wives who worked had better get home in time to cook dinner. But in the real country, many wives were urging husbands not to vote for a Brylcreemed boss out of a ’50s boardroom whose party was helping to revive a 50-year-old debate over contraception.

If 2008 was about exalting the One, 2012 was about the disenchanted Democratic base deciding: “We are the Ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Last time, Obama lifted up the base with his message of hope and change; this time the base lifted up Obama, with the hope he will change. He has not led the Obama army to leverage power, so now the army is leading Obama.

The president’s record-high rate of deporting illegal immigrants infuriated Latinos. Now, on issues from loosening immigration laws to taxing the rich to gay rights to climate change to legalizing pot, the country has leapt ahead, pulling the sometimes listless and ruminating president by the hand, urging him to hurry up.

More women voted than men. Five women were newly elected to the Senate, and the number of women in the House will increase by at least three. New Hampshire will be the first state to send an all-female delegation to Congress. Live Pink or Dye.

Meanwhile, as Bill Maher said, “all the Republican men who talked about lady parts during the campaign, they all lost.”

The voters anointed a lesbian senator, and three new gay congressmen will make a total of five in January. Plus, three states voted to legalize same-sex marriage. Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, told The Washington Post’s Ned Martel that gays, whose donations helped offset the Republican “super PACs,” wanted to see an openly gay cabinet secretary and an openly gay ambassador to a G-20 nation.

Bill O’Reilly said Obama’s voters wanted “stuff.” He was right. They want Barry to stop bogarting the change.•

Dowd is a New York Times columnist. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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