The dominant media narrative surrounding Obama’s candidacy and the position of the business community was one of polar opposites. A stunning majority of America’s businesses rallied behind Romney because of his commitment to reducing taxes and the regulatory burden. But now that the election’s over, the business press is revealing just how wrong this narrative was. The Wall Street Journal recently tried to understand “how Mitt Romney lost despite business support”, and what the Journal found is that Obama’s economic positions that concern business are either little or no different than Romney’s. This would clarify why center-right media groups like the Economist and the Financial Times threw their support behind Barack Obama.
As the Financial Times points out, “Obama has often been curiously aloof. He has been notably cool toward business.” He’s been aloof in that just days after the election and passionately asserting that he has no mandate (despite winning by more than 100 electoral votes), he demanded that Republicans support his Grand Bargain tax deal, thus lowering corporate tax rates from 35% to 28%. This was, in fact, a position he took during the 2011 State of the Union address, while forcefully making the case to the business community that the Affordable Care Act was derived from pro-business policy engineers.
So if Mitt Romney couldn’t pull off a victory with full business support, which is a premise only legitimized by both parties’ platforms to assure victory, how could Romney lose? The Journal’s David Henninger ponders: “Maybe nominating a former businessman to run through the president’s poisoned wells of public opinion was a mistake. Interesting to ponder, though, that in the United States “business experience” is now a political liability. So we default to the professional politicians.”
“The Republican Party needs to rethink strategy” according to Bill O’Reilly and Dick Morris, both of whom predicted a full-proof Romney victory. This was shortly after explaining to their middle class viewership that the country is now divided between “providers and takers”, and the takers have now outnumbered the providers. This may have something to do with the fact that the “providers” control 95% of the country’s total capital. Charles Krauthammer rejects this claim, however, arguing that the Republicans don’t have a policy problem, but a marketing problem, and that “Obama has no mandate”.
This sort of condescending, disdainful judgement of the public has pervaded the political right since Obama’s re-election, in which “liberalism was triumphant”, writes Glenn Greenwald. But as he continues, he notes that the conservative media is rhetorically expressing contempt, but the liberals in power are far more contemptuous by purposefully ignoring the liberal mandate and shifting away from the electorate’s positions.