Why Obama won

To understand why Barack Obama and Harry Reid won historically powerful victories I would cite columns I wrote, including “Hillary women will save Obama,” “Morning in Ohio,” “The great USA comeback,” “Why Dems are winning,” “Why Romney is losing,” “Bill Clinton's big message,” “Conservative crack-up” and “Bob Dole, American vet.”

The reason I cited the first seven columns is obvious. Let me explain why I included “Bob Dole, American vet,” which was a tribute to one of America's great Republicans and one of America's great veterans and heroes.

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My Bob Dole column was an attempt to articulate, as cogently as I could, that there are people in the other party who deserve the highest commendation a columnist can attempt to offer. I have often praised the courage of veterans and the important work done on their behalf by President Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden as well as the great work on behalf of veterans by Republicans such as Bob Dole and John McCain.

Similarly, even during an election year, I have made it a point to praise in columns the sons of Republicans as well as Democrats who have served our country. The sons of Sarah Palin, Jon Huntsman and John McCain deserve praise for serving our country with equal honor alongside the son of Joe and Jill Biden and the sons of daughters of countless Americans, regardless of their political party.

For these reasons, even in the heat of the election year, I made it a point to offer high praise for a man who has been called Mr. Republican, Bob Dole, and for the sons of high-level Republicans who recently sought national office.

There is an attitude of contempt and disrespect that has poisoned our politics and finds many homes in the Republican Party. Democrats are not immune to this. While I was a strong supporter of President Obama and Democrats, I was proud that my strong criticism of one of the campaign ads of an Obama super-PAC that unfairly implied that Mitt Romney was responsible for the death of a woman was bannered on the Romney campaign website and quoted approvingly on Fox News.

I did not see such respectful treatment of my work supporting Democrats in these places, which is the heart of why Republicans lost this election for the White House and Senate.

There is an attitude of contempt, derision and disrespect that permeates Republican politics and Republican and conservative media. There are attitudes that permeate Republican politics and Republican media that are outside of traditional Republicanism and outside of American discourse. Democrats are demonized and liberals are hated and alternate opinion is often treated as though it does not exist, and even worse, treated as though it is unpatriotic.

No president should ever have to defend his Americanism, citizenship or Christianity, and every Republican should have had, but often did not have, the integrity and decency to denounce these attacks.

There is a poison that permeates the GOP and pollutes the Republican brand, and there is a partisan distemper among far too many in Republican politics and their allies in Republican media.

My guess is that this accounts for the extraordinary role played by Chris Christie in the closing days of the campaign and my certainty is that this disrespect, contempt and derision in many Republican circles accounts for why progressives voted in larger number than expected, why so many women were alienated and alarmed, and why enough independents were repulsed by what has become of Republicanism that they supported an imperfect Obama or abstained from supporting repellant Republicans.

There are some Republicans whom I hope would take this to heart, but I doubt they will, and until they do, the Republican brand will decay and Republicans will lose presidential elections they should have won, which is what happened on Nov. 6, 2012.