Watching the brilliant HBO movie, “Game Change” and hearing Steve Schmidt’s (McCain’s chief strategist in his 2008 Presidential campaign) affirmations and insights about the campaign, the central message is inescapable, Republicans are willing to win at any cost, including the destruction of the country.

Schmidt has been refreshingly candid about what occurred and justifiably has acquired the respect of many Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike. He’s expressed that the idea of Sarah Palin being one 72 year old’s heartbeat away from the presidency is “frightening”. He has said that if he had it to do over again, he wouldn’t have brought Palin onto the ticket just to win at any cost and would have accepted losing by a wider margin but doing so with principles and the best intentions for the country’s welfare.

Republicans with integrity is a good thing and Schmidt should be commended indeed. He is however not running any of the campaigns in the GOP Presidential primary and his enlightenment appears lost on them.

Watching Mitt Romney pander so blatantly this week in the South, saying “y’all” and “cheesy grits” like he was a tourist from Russia (“In Russia, the grits pander to you!”), was amusing but also underlines just how willing he is to do absolutely anything just to win including total humiliation. Opposing birth control, ending Medicare, taking away health care from 30 million Americans, taxing the poorest Americans while cutting taxes on the wealthiest, violating the Constitution to allow religious laws supremacy over constitutional laws and making the judicial branch subservient to Congress…these Republican candidates will say or promise or do anything, no matter how dangerous it is to the country, as long as it means they’ll win.

Consider what the GOP in Congress has tried to do over the years that Barack Obama has been President. They have openly and intentionally tried to keep America in a torturous recession (and worsen it)…to turn public opinion against Obama so they could win back the White House. Their corporate owners have done the same, sitting on over $2 trillion in cash and record profits but withholding most of that from creating jobs (most of the jobs being created now and fueling a recovery are coming from small businesses, not corporate hiring). And are the oil companies just sitting innocently on the sidelines as they gouge Americans on skyrocketing gas prices and stoke unhappiness with Obama?

Anything to win.

As for the GOP Presidential candidates, Rick Santorum would inflict his radical Dominionist beliefs on the nation if he won the Presidency, taking away freedoms and protections for women, minorities, the poor, the elderly, etc. Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney would also shred the safety nets for the poor and elderly, drag the US into war with Iran to prove they’re “strong leaders” and destroy the progressive tax system by cutting taxes on the wealthy and raising taxes on the poor.

As the old saying goes, for the GOP, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. Nothing else really matters. Foisting an ignorant, poorly educated, incompetent and dishonest person like Sarah Palin onto the public and possibly into becoming the leader of the United States of America is past any concept of concern for the fate of Americans and the nation itself.

The concept of winning at any cost is proliferate in our society. There have been the teacher-assisted cheating scandals at schools, the rampant use of performance enhancing drugs in sports, the manipulation of the law to let the guilty go free or the fraudulent nuisance suit pay off big time.

Some doctors cheat Medicare, some citizens cheat Welfare, greed for power and money can always be justified by telling oneself, “I should have it.”

Some people have to see America as “the winner” in the world and are willing to overlook and even support torture, oppression, prejudice, declining education standards and many other destructive actions just so they can keep declaring “We’re Number One!” and boast American Exceptionalism.

And terrible things can be perpetrated when people are dedicated to winning no matter the cost.

The GOP has set the (opposite of) gold standard in winning at any cost. They have forced millions of Americans to suffer longer through this sustained recession, just to win in 2012. They have damaged the nation’s credit rating and brought it to the brink of default and global economic collapse…just to win. They are, in the end, willing to destroy the country in order to win control over it.

Elections in the US should not be an existential conflict. For those of us on the Left, it should be upsetting and disappointing to see Republicans in power and moving things in their direction but the fate of the nation shouldn’t be at stake. We can and should have a two (or more) party system where a battle of ideals and principles is engaged, we don’t want a tyrannical one-party state.

The problem is that when people only care about winning, they stand for nothing else. They don’t stand for serving the people, economic principles or any principles at all. They just want to win power and through it, distribute wealth and power to those they are in league with. Working to win at any cost is just like pillaging…only the Huns were far more honest about their pursuits.

There has to be a reason for Americans to make someone or a party “a winner”. There has to be some worthy goal for winning. If it is just to have power or to take power away from a party the public is mad at, then the greedy become winners and the American public become “losers”.

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KillgoreTroutCharnelAlphaBitchfunksandsKQµårk 死神 Recent comment authors
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Thank you for giving me a chance to say I agree with an author. The GOP is willing to burn anyone just to win elections and make things worse for everyone to make Obama look bad and to blame him for all problems. GOP tantrums impact poor people and they know it. I’ve been a quiet Democratic all my 51 years, served under Ronald Reagan and fought under Bush I, my sons fought under Bush II. None of this will matter if the GOP party dumps money into SD campaigns (previously done and who knows the money bribes involved…typical). I’ve lived around local Republicans, suffered minority profiling, and if there is a sense of any political opposition–“we” suffer. Banking moves from slim to none for development, the same with petroleum prices, jobs, healthcare–no need to reform tantrum. A true GOP tyrant starves enemies, gives gifts “out of magnanimity” to those who behave, and has “convenient compassion” if enough people can be manipulated. Not even a sincere individual can vouch for the actions of the overall GOP policies that are completely self-serving. Decent people support the GOP system for practical protections by “being nice” in letting the biggest bully fight for them out of sight, and indecent people are willing to bully, rule, win, profit at any expense of suffering. Far too vested in particular profitable parameters and outcomes, the GOP makes a mockery of justice. An “R” in front of any politicians name makes any foul untouchable and legal, cheating a way of business, and self-righteous indignation a consistent attitude. Each Republican I hear on TV makes my case stronger.


very well said, Charnel and welcome to the Planet. I think you’ll like it here. You can speak your mind here without worrying about undue censorship.

KQµårk 死神

Brilliant brief on the subject AdLib.

No candidate exemplifies this destructive winning at any cost mentality than Rmoney. He’s the epitome of the Wall Street winner that means everyone else in society loses. Romney was in a win win situation his whole life. Bain Capital always got paid if jobs where created or destroyed because the only real job of Bain Capital was to concentrate wealth for Romney and a relatively few cronies.

He’s also a walking metaphor for American Exceptionalism. Because his family has a pedigree and are religious as a candidate he does not have to expose honorable values since he’s entitled to be exceptional just for who he is, not by his actions. This is why he can lie or flip flop so easily and without justifying his actions because all he has to do is look the part.


A fine think piece. You put a lot together here, Ad Lib. Linking the Palin debacle to the current crowed of unsuitables to the willingness in the American heart to put winning ahead of everything is quite an undertaking. You did it.

Two interesting side notes for you both anecdotal:

1) Oh yes, the GOP knew they were doing a terrible thing in nominating Sarah. And despite my current admiration for Mr. Schmidt, I still hold him responsible for the near disaster. Once he knew how bad she was he should have pushed McCain to drop her and failing that, resigned. But he did not.

A GOP operative I know well says that it was a “joke” in the McCain campaign that he would be the first president who would start his term with his cabinet having signed a 25th Amendment statement. That statement, signed by a majority of the cabinet (fifty percent plus one) would declare that the President is incapacitated and unable to discharge the powers and duties of HER office. That’s right, if Palin were to assume the office in any way for any amount of time, the Cabinet would transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that Palin could not function in the office. The “joke” went on to say that the grounds (although none are really required) would be her emotional instability. Congress would be prepared for this and would assemble immediate and vote its concurrence at which time the Speaker of the House would assume the Office of President and Ms. Palin would be pushed to resign or face impeachment.

It’s funny, my friend did not smile once when he was telling me this joke.

2) That $2 Trillion that is sitting off to the side…..Here is a story from the WSJ (…It backs up your statement about where the jobs are coming from- small business. I know a hi-tech startup owner whose business is doing great (123 employees in less than one year; will double by September)….but in order to launch it he had to beg and borrow from dozens of sources. A friend who was a high powered assured him that he had everything necessary to get the loan he wanted but that the bank just wasn’t making many loans because……His banker friend made him a personal loan. I wonder how low the unemployment level would be if Big Business was as dedicated to making jobs as Small Business.


Murph,the main reason big banks aren’t lending is because they don’t have to. They’re lending to the federal govt. and getting a risk-free 3%. Until that changes, why bother lending to anyone else? Mid-sized and smaller banks and lenders are the ones doing the grunt work in America right now.


Agreed. And they are holding onto capital to take advantage of other investments which will benefit them above and beyond the prime rate variances they can now get. We bailed them out and then they used that money to make money. So wrong.


AdLib, another good article. The first mistake by the Repugs is that they see the election as a game. It is not a game. I looked up the definition of the word election is:

“Formal process by which voters make their political choices on public issues or candidates for public office. The use of elections in the modern era dates to the emergence of representative government in Europe and North America since the 17th century. Regular elections serve to hold leaders accountable for their performance and permit an exchange of influence between the governors and the governed. The availability of alternatives is a necessary condition. Votes may be secret or public.”

There is nothing about it being a game or there being winners or losers. It is a process of choice. But, the Republicans have an allergic reaction to that word “Choice”. So, it has to be a game. I won’t look up the word game for you because that will tell you it is a competition that has winners and losers.

So, while I was looking up words, I thought I would look up the word Liberal in connection to when it is used to describe the Liberal Media. In my understanding of the word, I didn’t think that was bad. If you look at the definition of the word as an adjective it reads:

Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.

Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
Tending to give freely; generous: a liberal benefactor.
Generous in amount; ample: a liberal serving of potatoes.
Not strict or literal; loose or approximate: a liberal translation.
Of, relating to, or based on the traditional arts and sciences of a college or university curriculum: a liberal education.
Archaic. Permissible or appropriate for a person of free birth; befitting a lady or gentleman.
Obsolete. Morally unrestrained; licentious.

The noun uses:
A person with liberal ideas or opinions.
Liberal A member of a Liberal political party.

So if you use the word as an adjective and not political, shouldn’t all news be liberal?

Now, while I was looking up the word liberal I came across the following which shows how the Conservatives see us Liberals. Note how they tried to make their “Conservapedia” look like Wikipedia. WARNING: Read with condition. May cause you to throw things, yell, turn your stomach, hit the wall, and spit on your computer screen.

I don’t know if this has much to do with your article, AdLib. I did think the name Game Change was a good title for the movie and the way the Republicans think about the election.



Fantastic insight. The only thing I would add is to put Gingrich in the same equation as Santorum. His buddies are dominionists and rightwing religious fanatics. He hinted at Palin in a seat of power which makes him no better than McCain. He is best friends with David Barton the history reconstructionist. Catholic means radical christian to him. I would bet if you wiki’d the people closest to him I have not mentioned you would find more dominionists. Of course I do not believe he has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning but he could use delegates as the spoiler between S and M and I am not talking about sex.

I am not sure where this country went down the rabbit hole but we did. We had some bright shining moments(years) in our history but it really has been filled with a constant fight to either maintain upward mobility, get upward mobility or stare at it from afar. There has never been a truly tranquil period in our history. Some were better than others but never tranquil or without wars(of some type), fraud and deceit.

I sound like a pessimist but maybe that is why we strive for winning at any cost. It allows us to live in that perfect bubble even if only for a short while. I wish people were more idealistic and for certain we have many but try this one equation.

Tell a group of mixed educational levels that you never felt the need to go to college. Out of 15 with 5 highly educated 5 highly intelligent but no formal university and 5 who never went to college what do you think the reaction of each group would be, knowing you do not know their own status? My bet is at least 10 would try to change your mind or try to make you feel small because you do not have the “obvious” benefit of a formal collage education when, in fact, college cannot improve your knowledge, your own pursuit of knowledge makes the difference. However because of our innate teaching most of us would think what a shame you did not go or don’t you know you have to have that formal education to be succesful? It does not matter that it is not true, that is what we have been told.


Thanks, AdLib – this represents, to me, a restoration of the evil that swept the nation in the 40s and 50s. The drumbeat of fearmongering, of lies and deception, those were the hallmark of HUAC, of McCarthy, or the Birchers – ALL of whom have ties to the current crop.

I read one maybe good thing out of the “defund Rush” campaign and that is that both broadcasters AND advertisers are thinking about offering counter programming to, well, people such as us. If that were to occur, we would have a greater chance of holding broadcasters accountable for what they say. There would be more fact-based discussion than we can find anywhere but the “chart-happy” folks on evening MSNBC. It would be second only to Civics as important sources of info on how our system works. So we need to keep pressure on advertisers not just to de-fund Rush but to fund other broadcasting opportunities. THAT would be good for us all.


Beautiful! I loved every word (even though I hated the facts). You have really cut to the core of the problem with this insightful piece. Thank you.