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Palm Beach Post, January 17, 2012.....
Florida Republicans say the latest voter registration and absentee ballot figures point to a GOP enthusiasm advantage over Democrats heading into the 2012 presidential election.
The election "enthusiasm gap" talk is a relatively new entry in the game of bullsh*t played by the Very Serious People every 2 years. How does one actually measure enthusiasm? For my money, the way to measure how enthusiastic voters are is to, pardon the simplicity, count the number of votes after the election. Even then, any claims of higher or lower enthusiasm on behalf of voters is nothing more than pure speculation.
In Florida, before Tuesday's primary, 446,000 Republicans had requested absentee ballots compared with only 307,744 in the 2008 primary....140,000 more. In 2012 the gap between Democratic registration in the state and Republican registration found Democrats leading by 4.3%. In 2008 Democrats led by 5.8%.
Those numbers were seen as evidence that Florida Republicans were hot to trot to get out to vote and get on with the business of taking their country back from the foreign President Obama. The "enthusiasm gap", it is being called.....and by jimminy, this year Republicans are really, really enthusiastic about the upcoming election. You may have heard something about all this from one of the millionaires reading a teleprompter while pretending to be a journalist on teevee. The oft-repeated messaging?...Republicans, when we're talking this fall's general election, are 'roided up on enthusiasm.
So how did all that enthusiasm work out in Tuesday's Florida primary? Using The Reverend's enthusiasm measuring stick....how many Republican voters actually voted in Florida on Tuesday.....we find that 1.660,000 Floridians voted in the GOP primary. In 2008's Florida primary 1,940,000 registered Republicans voted in the GOP primary. I suppose 15% fewer GOP primary voters in 2012 as compared to 2008 could, somehow, demonstrate greater GOP voter enthusiasm this year than 4 years ago.....but you'll have to forgive me for not seeing it.
Furthermore....even though I concede that Republicans in 2012 are really, really, really angry, angry, angry at Obama and the Communists he brought in with him to the White House....exit polls from Florida's Tuesday GOP primary demonstrated that 38% of those enthusiastic GOP voters down in Florida would like "someone else to run for the nomination." Someone else other than Romney and Gingrich, the candidates who finished first and second, respectively, on Tuesday.
To boot, only 51% of Florida GOP primary voters who voted for the eventual winner, Mitt Romney, said that they were "satisfied with the Republican candidates." All chubbed up on enthusiasm and nowhere to go, I suppose. Or as Jimi Hendrix once put it..."I know what I want but I just don't know."
So, once again, whatever this "enthusiasm gap" Republican voters are supposed to have opened up on Democratic voters......color me skeptical. I'm not seeing it.....no matter how many times conservative-pumping teevee anchors and guests repeat it.
What I see is a political party in peril. At war with itself. Teetering more closely to the edge of fragmentation each and every month we go forward. Out of touch with the American public yet still holding on for dear life to their shredded, rotted, and proven-failure-policies of out-of-touchness.
Republicans are experiencing their own little civil war this primary campaign. That's why Johnny Mac McCain called recently for an end to any more GOP candidates debates. Too embarrassing to the party. Too divisive. Making the GOP look as if they are not united.
For the last number of years the GOP has been purging their party of candidates who have shown a willingness to compromise with the
Eventually....I'm hoping this election cycle.....the Republican Party will implode from their misguided, self-imposed purification process....and start to rebuild their party by jettisoning their extremist elements.
Contrary to Village lore....America is not a conservative-right nation. A conservative-right nation would not be in favor, by 70-75%, of increasing taxes on only the rich. A conservative-right nation would not prefer, by 54%, to have abortion remain legal. A conservative-right nation would not be moving ever closer to legalizing marriage for gays.
Republicans and angry conservatives can insist all they want that America is a conservative-right nation.....just as they have been insisting that Republican voters are way more enthusiastic than Democratic voters about this year's election cycle.
But just like in Tuesday's primary down in Florida....it's only the evidence that counts.