Skip to comments.Time for Introspection, but Not Surrender
Posted on 11/09/2012 5:57:56 AM PST by Kaslin
Has the nation gone irreversibly blue? Did intraparty disunity sabotage Mitt Romney's presidential quest? Or is there some other explanation for the nation's re-election of a president with the worst record in decades?
I received an email from a brilliant conservative friend who wonders whether Republicans can ever win another election and thus whether the nation is forever lost. I ran into a college student at church the Sunday before the election, and despite his strong conservatism and high intelligence, he admitted confusion about the candidates' respective positions after the presidential debates.
My first reaction after the election verdict was to fear both that America's financial collapse is now inevitable and imminent and that America's implosion is inevitable because the election seemed to reveal that the majority of Americans no longer embrace America's founding principles.
Even with such fatalistic fears, I was exhorting my fellow conservatives on Twitter not to give up; no matter how bad things seem, we can reverse this. We must quit feeling sorry for ourselves; we must not accept this death sentence; and we must fight on.
After sifting through the evidence and reading everyone's ideas, I am feeling somewhat more optimistic but nevertheless recognize that the task before us is enormous.
I think we can break conservative post-mortem opinion into roughly three camps. The first is composed of the defeatists, who believe we have passed the tipping point because America now has more takers than producers. European socialism is here to stay.
The second is convinced that mostly demographic changes did us in but we can adapt. Minority groups are voting in greater percentages, and the Democratic Party is getting most of their votes. We have to alter our approach to immigration and develop other strategies to reach the Hispanic and African-American communities.
I worry that "outreach" could be a euphemism for pandering to identity politics instead of figuring out ways to convince all people, including minorities, of the superiority of conservative ideas. Unless we do that, we will have won the battle and lost the war.
The third group is conservatives who believe that Romney and the GOP didn't do a good enough job making the conservative case and rallying the base.
The second and third groups, at least, are not defeatist; they haven't given up on the party or, more importantly, on the country. They disagree in their diagnoses and thus in their solutions, but at least they see some light at the end of the tunnel.
I find myself not fitting neatly into any of these groups. I regret that I don't have much space to lay out my position, but I'll give you the highlights.
I admit I'm far from certain about my conclusions, but I believe that those who think they are are probably deceiving themselves. We have to sort through the rubble together with a healthy dose of humility, listen with open minds to one another's ideas and set upon a course. Otherwise, we will find ourselves in a bitter intramural struggle for control of the party, which could lead to splintering.
Exit polls reveal that millions of Republicans stayed home, with the GOP having garnered fewer votes than John McCain in 2008. This is why the pollsters turned out to be correct. They were basing their models on a weak Republican turnout. Many conservatives mistakenly thought that was absurd on its face, not just because Obama was no longer the messianic figure he was in 2008 and now had a disastrous record but because of the intensity we had witnessed ourselves from 2009 on.
A combination of factors coalesced to yield this result. Too many evangelicals didn't vote, not because of any anti-Mormon prejudice, in my view, but because they weren't convinced that Romney was legitimately pro-life. I know this happened. I received the emails. This anti-Romney campaign was intense and relentless. Those eager to expel social conservatives from the party should save themselves time and liquidate the Republican Party, which would not survive without them. We don't have to be strident, and we must address social issues more intelligently, but we can surely prevail on social issues against a party that tries to kick God out of its platform and is far more extreme than Republicans.
Also, many libertarians and other strong economic conservatives are fed up with the blurred distinctions between the parties and with Republican capitulation to monstrous federal government expansions and spending.
There was also a significant number of Republicans who weren't adequately informed about Obama's record or convinced that his second term would be as disastrous as many of us expect it will be.
As much as my respect grew for Romney in the campaign, I think in retrospect that he may have erred on the side of caution. In the foreign policy debate and otherwise in the campaign, he may have gone too soft on Obama and sketched the distinctions between his policies and Obama's in pale pastels rather than paint them in bold colors. He let him get away with Benghazi and, to a lesser extent, "Fast and Furious." All this left some voters believing, as did Frank Luntz's focus group, that though Obama wasn't such a nice guy after all, Romney wasn't so knowledgeable or competent on foreign policy as Obama was -- an outrageously erroneous conclusion but one Romney permitted by default. Romney also left Obama's most vulnerable issue, Obamacare -- his Achilles' heel, the galvanizing issue of the tea party movement itself and of the 2010 congressional campaigns -- on the cutting room floor, for obvious reasons.
As many of us conservatives have preached for years, contrary to the conventional wisdom of the establishment, though you must woo independents, you must first secure and energize your base. Romney performed well with independents, and I had talked myself into believing that he was motivating the base, as well, but hindsight reveals that he didn't quite close the sale with many of them, which is amazing considering Obama's record.
Obama did not reciprocate in positive and cautious campaigning. Even without presenting his own second-term agenda, through negative and targeted campaigning, he falsely depicted Romney as the one who hadn't presented specific plans to turn the economy around and reduce our debt. Further, he demonized Romney, distorted his record, scapegoated George W. Bush -- to the point that a large percentage of the public actually bought into this lunacy -- lied about his own record and worked his base into a frenzy through divisive race and class warfare.
It is difficult to compete against a sophisticated propaganda machine run by ruthless community organizers who have been refining their skills for decades. When you're up against that kind of opponent, you must fight back harder and more aggressively, and you must be unafraid to portray your opponent as the radical he is. Romney could have done a better job emphasizing the dire consequences that would result with Obama's re-election.
There is no question demographics have changed significantly and will continue to change. There is no doubt that large percentages of people are on government assistance, which makes the Republicans' future more challenging. But I reject the fatalistic conclusion that we can't turn this around.
Despite all the advantages of his incumbency, a hyper-corrupt liberal media establishment's protecting him and a ruthless but highly skilled propaganda machine, Obama won re-election by a relatively small margin.
Conservative ideas -- our founding principles -- are still salable, but it will require more than empty rhetoric. We must faithfully adhere to them in practice. Republicans have a mixed record on resisting the expansion of the welfare state, entitlements and the size and spending of the federal government. We just have to figure out how to make our case more effectively and to reach minorities and, yes, single women, without diluting our transcendent and universal principles. Outreach is fine, as long as it doesn't mean becoming mini-liberals, as we have seen with our forays into federal programs on education.
Though Republicans have had remarkably strong intervals in holding back government spending -- such as the Newt Gingrich Congress, for which Bill Clinton has forever co-opted the credit -- we haven't been so consistent in resisting spending as liberals have been relentless in expanding it. Even our beloved supply-siders have been negligent about the spending side of the equation. Keeping marginal tax rates low spurs economic growth, but neglecting restraints on federal spending smothers the private sector, which is the tale of Obama's first term. It also allows Democrats to deceitfully blame increasing deficits on growth-inducing tax cuts instead of the reckless spending that causes them.
So let's do a better job of walking the walk instead of merely talking the talk. Let's have a sincere discussion within the conservative movement and the Republican Party and then choose the best course on which to proceed.
We must never give up. America is not over.
THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO DO
SURROUND DC AND CHOKE THEM
The president with the "worst record in decades", defeated the most liberal candidate ever to run as a republican.
Run a Conservative G.O.P.e. and watch him/her, black, white or purple, win.
Sorry... I disagree. The voters, after seeing the effects of the flirtation with socialism said loudly they want the whole enchilada.
So, screw them. Let them have it... all of it.
They can get back in 36 months and let us know how it all worked out for them
Okay. Are you going to carry anything more “convincing” than a little sign?
Noo wrong it is not time for introspection, that is not the problem The problem is external evil that needs to be addressed.
Only the NUCLEAR OPTION is possible at this point:
Randy Barnett’s Bill of Federalism
Time for courage. Our Republic is dead—but it can be resucitated if we act quickly.
At the risk of being banned from the forum, I must address the elephant in the room that no one else - NO ONE - addresses - for the 100th time here:
Yes, demographic change is an issue. But it’s only 1/10th the giant that the elephant is.
The elephant no one is addressing is that for the first time we are seeing the electoral effect of a majority of Americans brainwashed into a Marxist/atheist world view for 16+ years by our educational system.
They feel, they don’t reason. They not only do not understand our nation’s history and constitution, they revile it as only serving “rich, old white men.” They are so dumbed down in all the disciplines that they cannot even reason.
This is the water piling up behind the dam, and the flood levels are only increasing.
Add to the Marxist control of our educational system the media - who continue to brainwash the public with what they all learned in school.
NO POLITICAL PARTY, even with today’s conservative outlets and forums like Free Republic and Fox News, can stop this flood until it’s dealt with at the source.
We are dealing with a greater and greater percentage of the populace who don’t think, only feel, and who are products of the educators. Soon - if not now - that flood will be unstoppable. All the conservative outlets and leaders alive will not be able to overcome the flood due to just the vast numbers.
And NO ONE is pointing this out, nor is anyone coming up with a solution.
Why do we need to have a discussion with the Republican Party? It has been obvious for some time that Conservatives are not welcome.
The Republican Party started ousting Conservatives long ago and will in the future become the mirror imagine of the other party.
Solution? Live your life based upon on your conservative principles and above all, enjoy life as it is all we really have this day.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this the last few days.
Folks we have got to get as organized as them or we will continue to lose. And we don’t have the right to despair or give up.. We owe it to our boys who died on the beaches at Normandy or the jungles of Vietnam. It is our duty to continue to fight until our last breath.
1.. We need our own MSNBC AND our own media...... We simply have to provide an alternative to that. FOX News is over.. they have clearly joined MSM now. This is the main way we get our message out more effectively.
2. The second way we get our message out there: My sisters are both dems and in teachers Unions. They have Union meetings each and every week. They are deeply into grass roots stuff and action. Now as conservatives, this is against our nature, but if we don’t start organizing and meeting and then acting with more purpose, our ideas will eventually just die out. Now these 2 sisters of mine they are just as busy as we all are. They have kids, they both work, they have husbands and dogs, and all that stuff.. Previously I didn’t give a damn about that kind of stuff and point in fact, it always seemed creepy to me and a bit Marxist.. this community organizing crap. BUT IT WORKS.. I’m think more along the lines of J Galt societies ..that kind of thing..we’ve got to organize into teams.
3. We have got to get better candidates into the field. I shuttered when I looked at our field. We had no one. We had a very weak bench. We have got to come up with a strong figure head, or we won’t win. We need a John Wayne. He has got to have a strong male presence that is clearly demonstrated, huevos is you will. I have only seen that twice in my lifetime, 1st it was Eisenhower, then Reagan. We need a man’s man.. That is the way we get the women’s vote. Because otherwise you have to be their girlfriend, and that is what our current Prez is... he’s got their back, he’s their buddy.. he’s a gossip partner to them, he is their Ellen Degeneres. He is a neutered male, my God just look at this wife. But that is critical.
McCain, 2008 popular vote: 58,319,442
Romney, 2012 popular vote: 58,163,978
4 years of population growth and Romney didn’t draw what McCain did......
and by the way, I’m not against the idea of scrapping the Republican party. It might take us 20 years to build a new powerful party, however.. We have a branding problem, It may not be able to be fixed.
We have to find a name and brand that is strong, won’t back down and can’t be ridiculed as “tea baggers”. the very thought of Tea is not exactly a strong powerful image.
just thinking outside of the box here. I might be wrong.
Tell that to that wimp Boner.
Thanks for the encouragement....I agree completely.
And, being a mirror-image of the liberals - they will never win national office again....
Like California - now a one party state - we will become essentially a one party nation - with a minority that can only raise their voices in protest, and then be condemned....
Sun-Tzu said two of the most important things to win a battle was to know your enemy, which the Repubs don’t - and know your own strengths and weaknesses - which they also do not.