How many post-mortems have you read or listened to since that spectacular debacle of an election on Tuesday? I’ve had enough of my share. I don’t agree that Romney was a horrible candidate. I still believe he was the only one left in the damaging primary that stood a chance. And maybe the polls showing him surging ahead before Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie’s bear hug of President Obama were right. What if Sandy struck November 7? Would we be talking about president-elect Romney, rather than a second term for Obama?
I keep hearing that conservatives need to change our message, or how we deliver our message. Some believe we should start pandering to every different demographic out there, with the exception of working white males, the way the Democrats have been doing for decades. Others say we just need to be more convincing in our arguments. They want the GOP to reach out to Latinos and soften their stance on illegal immigration. But even if they do that, how do they go about convincing people with statist mindsets to give up their belief in big government? Heather McDonald addressed this issue, and the answer is that you can’t.
If Republicans want to change their stance on immigration, they should do so on the merits, not out of a belief that only immigration policy stands between them and a Republican Hispanic majority. It is not immigration policy that creates the strong bond between Hispanics and the Democratic party, but the core Democratic principles of a more generous safety net, strong government intervention in the economy, and progressive taxation. Hispanics will prove to be even more decisive in the victory of Governor Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which raised upper-income taxes and the sales tax, than in the Obama election.
Andy McCarthy thinks perhaps some minds can be changed, but it will take a lot of time and the thought of winning over scores of Latinos is delusional.
There is no single-issue quick-fix to the challenge of ushering them into the Republican coalition. Rather, there is a choice to be made: either convince them that they are wrong, meaning make the unapologetic case for liberty and limited government; or fundamentally change who you are, meaning accommodate their statism.
The fact that this choice is easy to identify does not mean the right alternative is easy to implement. Convincing skeptics of the long-neglected case for freedom is going to take a long time — you can’t cede your leading institutions to statists for decades and expect to turn things around over night. But the second alternative, the one that is so easy — and obviously for some, so tempting — is surrender and steep decline. Accommodation only works in a normal political order where both sides have the same core values but differ on how to validate them. It does not work when one side is looking to vanquish the other. (Read More)
Who knows, maybe when the next recession hits, and the entitlement state comes crashing down people will arrive at the right conclusion – that the bigger government gets the worse things get and the less liberty we have. But I’m not even confident that will happen. While people were dumpster diving in New York City after Hurricane Sandy, voters were telling exit-pollsters that they were pleased with Obama’s response to the disaster. He showed up for a photo-op and looked presidential and bipartisan. Forget the people freezing and starving because the bloated government couldn’t get there fast enough to help anyone, as long as it looked like someone cared they were cool with it. Even in places like Greece, rather than facing reality the people there are rioting in the streets.
So, where do we go from here? Good question. Andy had some good ideas earlier. I’m meeting with a few people next week to see what we need to change. I think the ground game needs improvement. Here in my district we had the number one GOP call center in the country, but what good did it do us? Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle is waiting for the votes to be counted but it’s looking more and more like Dan Maffei is going to win. He took the Todd Akin comment on rape and turned it against Buerkle. He hammered her in ads and got the local media on his side, telling women that she is against reproductive rights and rape victims. Aside from the Obama campaign, it was one of the most despicable campaigns I’ve ever witnessed. That’s what we’re dealing with.
Not only were we up against Democrats who used every dirty trick in the book, and told any despicable lies they could dream up, the Dems used some really creepy technological tools to micro-target voters with messages tailored individually. Ironic isn’t it? They believe in collectivism, but when it comes to scaring up the vote individualism works for them.
The Republican party needs to be smarter when it comes to running campaigns. We the voters need to be smarter when choosing candidates at all levels. (Think Richard Mourdock, Todd Akin, Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell.) I’m not saying we should roll over and accept RINOs, only that we need to pick candidates who don’t scare voters and can win. We also need to start using some of the Democrats’ tactics against them. We don’t even need to lie about them, they’re so horrible. Perhaps the Super PACs can start investing money into educational campaigns in between elections in an effort to push back against the rotting culture that’s a petri dish for progressive ideas.
I’m just tossing ideas out here. We know that liberty and freedom are preferable to tyranny and statism. Talk to most Democrat voters and independents and they will agree with you. When you just talk about issues without mentioning parties or candidates most people are in agreement. The problem is they believe the lies the Democrats and the media tell them.
Okay, that’s enough rambling for one post. One thing I know for sure is that we’ve got our work cut out for us.