November 9, 2012 1:08 PM
Drop the despair, no time for moderation
Posted by Laura
Since Mitt Romney lost in an electoral landslide on Tuesday night, I feel like I’ve become the chief psychologist for conservatives. Republicans are wondering whether all is lost, whether the country has changed so much that there is no hope of a conservative ever winning the presidency again. This frustration and dejection is understandable. I, too, thought Romney would pull out a victory -- and I, like many Republicans, am extremely disappointed.
Just knowing that the monstrosity of Obamacare is here to stay and that we may lose the Supreme Court for a generation is heartbreaking. The autopsy of what went wrong is ongoing. There will be conflicting opinions on the cause of death for the Romney campaign and all those senate races. I happen to think that Mitt Romney ran an overly cautious & defensive campaign, which allowed the other side to define him. Some establishment Republican types say this requires the party to be less conservative, more moderate. It’s no surprise that Democrats agree. I find THIS depressing.
Conservatism won huge for the GOP in 2010, and beat back a union-backed recall in Wisconsin, but in two years has become unmarketable? Nice try. To paraphrase George Will -- for Mitt Romney conservatism was a second language, he was never comfortable articulating it or arguing it. So of course Latinos, women, and new voters weren’t sold on it either. In that vacuum, they bought the malevolent portrait of Romney relentlessly pushed by Team Obama and their SuperPAC friends. But the urge to despair is a losing proposition.
Five days after Barry Goldwater’s landslide loss to Lyndon Johnson in 1964, conservatives including William F. Buckley and Brent Bozell (Sr), didn’t waste time cursing the darkness. They founded something called the American Conservative Union, and plotted out a short and long-term strategy for their movement. The pathway was cleared for fresh voices and approaches. A-C-U friend Ronald Reagan became governor of California in 1967. The movement slowly rebuilt and grew.
In his 1980 victory, Reagan converted Democrats not by adopting Democrat views, but by convincing them that conservative solutions offered the only hope for American renewal. We should follow the same strategy now. When Barack Obama's Democrat party lost big in 2010, did he retreat from liberalism? No. On the contrary, he renewed his dedication to pursuing a progressive agenda--moving on gay marriage, partial amnesty, and the HHS mandate--and got those constituencies to show up at the polls and forget how bad the economy is. Meanwhile, he nixed a deal to work with John Boehner, only to use GOP "obstructionism" during campaign. All infuriatingly effective.