It is abundantly clear that, when my wife and I moved from southeastern Pennsylvania to the Lowcountry of South Carolina in mid-2010, I failed to adjust my own metrics as to attitude and perception as needed due to the conservatives surrounding me here.
Hence the absurd overconfidence. In essence, I skewed my own poll.
For my abject failure as a political prognosticator, I apologize.
As for the election results themselves, I immediately want to blame someone on the right. I want to eat my own. Immediately, my gaze shifts to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and his decision to be a very gracious man at a time when businesslike would have done just fine. I look at Gary Johnson and his league of pure libertarian voters, the vast majority of them remnants of the Ron Paul Revolution, and the fact that but for his presence in the race, Florida may have gone red. I even find myself wondering about the wisdom of nominating the architect of RomneyCare in a race in which a contrast on healthcare philosophy was paramount.
Also, I find myself wondering about voter fraud. Our military members deserve more than anyone else to have their votes counted. Members of the New Black Panther Party should not be present at polling places, nor should polling places display artwork praising one candidate or the other. Election judges should not be wearing hats from one campaign or another. Party employees and campaign volunteers should not be advocating duplicate voting.
At the heart of it, though, is that we are witnessing a changed America, divided among takers and makers. We are seeing the result of an electorate that, much like a teenager stuck in the middle of a divorce learns to play one parent against another, has figured out how to vote itself more benefits at the expense of others — benefits that range from free contraceptives to unnecessarily subsidized children’s television.
We have seen a paradigm shift in America, evidenced by an electorate that willingly embraced class warfare, intentionally ratified “you didn’t build that,” and knowingly sustained the rule–not governance, but rule–of an administration that will gladly stifle economic growth in the name of punishing success and perpetuating dependence.
And, unless the GOP establishment and the rest of us on the right learns to adapt, considers what happened in 2004, in 2008 and tonight, and radically modifies its electoral approach, we are doomed to repeat this time and time again.
Tonight, we were taught that we cannot continue to buy right into the left’s social issue entrapment. They bait the more dull and PR-unconscious among us into taking the debate away from winning issues in favor of vaginal issues, and those people take the bait every single time. Todd Akin losing to Claire McCaskill and Richard Mourdock squandering Dick Lugar’s sure-thing GOP seat has proven that.
Tonight, we were also taught that moderation is not the answer for the GOP, either. Scott Brown lost to an avowed socialist, a former Talking Points Memo blogger who overtly faked Native American heritage. Brown was by no means perfect, but now instead of having another GOP senator, we have Sen. Votes With Fake Feathers prowling Capitol Hill.
In 2008, while licking our wounds and forcing myself to find some sort of bright side in that year’s unfortunate–but certainly more predictable, as far as my political prognostication was concerned–loss, I suggested that we needed to do two things in light of a loss caused by the abandonment of free market principles by George W. Bush and a lackluster McCain campaign trounced by an Obama campaign powerhouse: First, I said that the right needed to get younger, more vigorous, more technologically sound, and better capable of rebutting arguments from the left; second, I insisted that we needed to return to the basic tenets of conservatism: fiscal sanity, smaller government, strong national defense, and solid family values.
Despite tonight’s result, I believe that we have accomplished that first part. New Media continues to astound me, and it has been instrumental in fighting against the most offensive aspects of the Obama administration. And we’re going to need it to continue — Lord knows that, popular vote split be damned, President Obama will consider his policies, tendencies and failures all but ratified by the American people, and will most certainly not wander to the center as a lame duck president as some are predicting.
Insofar as the second part is concerned, however, I believe that the key lies not in a GOP returning to conservatism, but rather tacking toward and embracing libertarianism. The abandonment of laissez faire governance allowed social issues to distract from winning economic issues, and the doctrine of noninterventionism will better square with foreign policy attractive to the vast majority of America than the hawkish, neo-conservative, Bush Doctrine approach.
I have tacked in this general direction myself over the past four years, and as someone who more readily identifies myself as a libertarian than a conservative, I like to joke that I “get along with everybody, and get to argue with everybody as well.” It’s not a joke, though.
When we look at exit polling data and consider this election from a distance, it is my belief that we will see that the contraception stuff and “legitimate rape” stuff did more damage to us than we would have liked. Let’s get away from it! There is no reason why elected officials cannot address social issues in the way that I address abortion: “Personally, I am pro-life; however, I do not believe that the federal government should be in the business of legislating it.”
The key is embracing the wide margin of agreement that small government is good government. And the way to do so is by urging the GOP to tack libertarian. Had we done that this time around, perhaps those votes that went to Gary Johnson in Florida would have helped the Republican nomination win the Sunshine State.
The other key is that we need to place blame exactly where it belongs. We do not need to blame Mitt Romney — he is a genuinely decent man who, despite my misgivings, truly seemed to learn how to advocate the organic nature of fiscal conservatism. As noted before, this election was lost due to our electorate. To quote Cicero:
“Do not blame Caesar, blame the people of Rome who have so enthusiastically acclaimed and adored him and rejoiced in their loss of freedom and danced in his path and given him triumphal processions. Blame the people who hail him when he speaks in the Forum of the “new wonderful good society” which shall now be Rome’s, interpreted to mean “more money, more ease, more security, and more living fatly at the expense of the industrious”.”
Rome, of course, fell. Frankly, I believe America to be more resilient, but only time will truly tell.
Now, in the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be at Disney World. Seriously — I’m going tomorrow. I had hoped it would be a Super Bowl-like victory celebration, but it will be special nonetheless as a surprise for my six-year-old daughter.
Insofar as America’s Right is concerned, I hope to be here for the long haul. I cannot keep up the frenetic pace as I did throughout 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, but I’m not going anywhere. I hope that John Feeny isn’t, either, as he’s done some incredible work.
Be safe and be smart, America. This is not the end. This is trouble, for sure, and there will certainly be very hard times ahead, but we will eventually and inevitably prevail.