Confusion abounds in the wake of Mitt Romney’s election loss, but that doesn’t stop pundits from across the political spectrum from offering conservatives advice before the results are properly digested.
First off, conservatism did not lose in this election – conservative candidates lost. Candidates, who were flawed, didn’t really connect with the voters, ran on the wrong issues from not being attuned to their constituencies, or who fell into secular progressive traps and made huge verbal gaffes their opponents used against them were the ones who lost. Being a political candidate is a lot like being a murder suspect. Anything you say can and will be used against you.
Mitt Romney was, is, and always will be a moderate despite the spin from Team Obama portraying him as the conservative Grim Reaper. Many conservatives expressed their dislike of Romney during the primaries and many pointedly said they would not support him if he were the Republican nominee. Apparently, they kept their word as Romney’s vote count fell some two million short of John McCain’s in 2008. Mitt Romney has had his shot and lost, so it’s time for him to shuffle off of the stage.
Conservatives must be wary of anyone on the political left offering advice as they are not at all interested in helping conservatives defeat their agenda. The secular progressives are insisting that the Republican Party must become more moderate to attract minority support in the black and Latino communities. We’ve lost the last two presidential elections with extremely moderate candidates, so that is obviously not the answer.
We’re told the TEA Party is a bunch of extremists who cost Republicans several elections this cycle. Yet, it is the grassroots energy of TEA Party supporters who energized Republicans after Obama’s first term win and led to an overwhelming victory in the House of Representatives in 2010. A billion dollars of negative advertising left voters with the impression that the TEA Party is extreme, but there is nothing extreme in arguing for financial sustainability unless the gravy train mentality is totally out of control and beyond reason.
There is a fight being waged for the soul of the Republican Party between the establishment wing and TEA Party conservatives. The establishment wing favors big government just like the secular progressive wing of the Democrat Party because it keeps their legions of pollsters and Party hangers on employed. The grassroots TEA Party threatens this order and is resisted despite the energy it brings to the Party. The Republican establishment has sought to co-opt the TEA Party but has been unsuccessful due to suspicions by TEA Party members and shabby treatment by Party regulars who seek to put down the TEA Party at every opportunity. This is a shame because the TEA Party energy and grassroots organization coupled with the fundraising and infrastructure of the Republican Party would make a truly formidable political organization.
At the end of the day, nothing changed because voters weren’t offered anything new. They were presented with the status quo and they kept it. Romney avoided risks in his campaign and sought to coast to the election on the strength of his first debate performance. This was a huge mistake. He also failed to explain to voters why Obama’s secular progressive policies would damage the country and how they would hurt families. Latinos are very family oriented and many in the black community were appalled at Obama supporting gay marriage, but Romney failed to exploit these weaknesses with conservative arguments. He couldn’t because he isn’t conservative. As a moderate, he really doesn’t see a problem with these positions and the conservative base saw this.
It will be even more difficult to expand conservatism after this defeat because we will once again have to listen to four more years of how adherence to conservative positions cost us the election and how we need to abandon extreme conservatism. The secular progressives and their media acolytes have learned that Americans will believe anything if they hear it enough times. They will continue to denigrate conservatism, and we must develop effective tactics to counter their strategy if we ever hope to be competitive. We can no longer cede the public space to the opposition in the mistaken belief that Americans will surely not fall for such lies. They will and they do.
Technology is a wonderful thing and can increase productivity immensely when employed correctly, but this past election was won on good old-fashioned political principles such as get-out-the-vote efforts, grassroots connections, and getting supporters to the polls. We conservatives must employ technology effectively, but we must also be willing to do the unglamorous work at the local level required to win elections. We must have a grasp on the issues and frame them in ways that resonate with the local voters we encounter. We must take every opportunity to counter the media stereotype of conservatives while reinforcing the image of secular progressives as tax-and-spend Democrats.
President Obama, as expected, has declared that his win was a mandate for him to continue implementing all of the secular progressive policies he disavowed in the campaign. He is already closing off more federal lands to energy exploration despite his pledge during the debates to expand domestic energy production. Lisa Jackson at the EPA is preparing to release draconian rules limiting the use of fracking to unlock shale gas deposits, along with even more rules limiting the use of coal to produce electricity. Look for expansion of entitlement programs while our military is scaled back to unsustainable levels. Look for higher taxes on all Americans and recession as risk taking cools.
Before we rush to seize on any advice being offered for our future electoral success, let’s see how far these policies drive America into the ground. Then we can begin to offer an alternative that will turn America around and restore her place as the leader of freedom and democracy around the world. As a conservative American, I do not in any way wish to see my country suffer, and it especially bothers me to see suffering that could be prevented except that those in power put their secular progressive political ideologies over the problems of this country in order to maintain their grip on power.