November 7, 2012

GOP Winners and Losers

The time for soul-searching, second-guessing and recriminations among Republicans has begun. In taking stock of the party for the future, picking winners and losers helps understand what to toss overboard and what to build upon. Despite the election results, The Refugee refuses to put Gov. Romney in the loser category; he proved himself to be a man of honor, integrity and unimpeachable character. "Loser" and "Romney" should never be used in the same sentence.

Winners:

Paul Ryan - Rep. Ryan proved himself to be articulate, a good campaigner and a champion of responsible government. He proved that he is presidential material and a standard-bearer for the party.

Marco Rubio - Sen. Rubio gave a block-buster speech at the convention, banked a lot of IOUs with tireless campaigning and proved that he can build a bridge between the GOP and the Hispanic community. He, too, is presidential material.

Susana Martinez - Gov. Martinez entered the national stage with grace, power and brilliance. While perhaps not yet a recognized national player, she could be awesome as #2 on a ticket with either Rubio or Ryan.

Entitlement Reform - Given that a major new entitlement has now been enshrined, this winner would seem counter-intuitive. Nevertheless, entitlement reform no longer seems to be the third rail of politics. Romney/Ryan introduced it as an adult conversation, which will likely give it a seat at any budget negotiations table. Whether or not it will be served is questionable, but at least it's got a menu.

House GOP members - Although the Left likes to say that the House must now compromise, GOP members were re-elected just as surely as the president. Their power is enhanced as the only counterweight to Eurosocialism.

Losers:

Chris Christie (GOAT - NJ) - After one of the worst keynote convention speeches in memory, self-serving campaigning and the undeserved bear-hug of Obama post-Sandy, the Christie national brand is permanently damaged among Republicans. He refused to step up when his party and his country needed him most. He had best not expect us to step up if he decides that he needs us in 2016.

Social conservatives - Social-issues conservatives have proved that they cannot win anything larger than a House seat. The national attitude toward gay rights, abortion and immigration have changed permanently. As The Refugee's father used to say, "You can't legislate morality." Social-issues conservatives must come to the realization that social change comes through persuasion, not legislation. The fact is, if people became convinced that abortion is wrong, it wouldn't matter what the Supreme Court said; abortion would halt. By all means, preach, advertise and prosthyletize - but get personal religious values out of the party platform.

GOP SuperPACs - GOP SuperPACs had an enormous amount of material to pound Obama with. Not only did they fail to do so, they failed to defend Romney from the relentless attacks from Democrat SuperPACs. They squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-conceived and totally ineffective messaging.

Readers will note that The Refugee did not put the Tea Party into either category. The Tea Party fundamentally stands for fiscal conservatism and must continue to do so. The Refugee is convinced that fiscal conservatism can still be a big political winner, but no longer overrides social issues for the majority of voters. Social conservatives have sailed under the Tea Party flag, but we must begin to separate the two.

2012 Election Posted by Boulder Refugee at November 7, 2012 8:20 PM

Spot. ON. I am a "social conservative" but agree that moral suasion is the approach to get results.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 7, 2012 10:55 PM


I do not wholly agree that SIC's lost the election. Equally viable theories are:

- unwillingness to go negative;
- the Free Stuff argument beat the Freedom argument.

Look at Greece; they have been firmly and repeatedly told their stuff aint free, and I've seen no budging of the demand to get it anyway.

I do have to agree with JG and Coulter: if the GOP can't win against THIS crowd, record, etc., then it needs torn down. It could take a lot of burning.

My positive hope is the house will develop serious backbone, and play it's cards carefully (and be really ready to "go negative") even to the point of forcing a constitutional crisis over "No Budget" Reid.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 8, 2012 12:46 AM

I agree on your winners and do not hold Gov. Romney culpable for the loss.

But when social conservatives are removed from the party, we lack the numbers to win. When they are included, they scare off others. I no longer see a path to achieve the ends of liberty through the means of politics. It's 749 and they just called Wisconsin Blue and North Carolina is too close. One sees this is not going to work.

If we are going to continue playing, I must add Immigration to your loser column. Tell the fastest growing segment of the electorate that we need a wall to keep them out. Wonder why you lose the 30 - 70. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Next election, add 100000000 voters now reliant on government for health care. Game over. Two hundred thirty three years was a great run.

Posted by: Jk at November 8, 2012 3:06 AM

JK! Buddy! Come off the roof! Don't jump! It'll be OK!! Your friend, The Refugee, will address this in a post later today.

NB, SICs didn't lose the presidential election, but have a miserable record running for the Senate. More later.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 8, 2012 8:15 AM

I look forward to The Refugee's follow up because I value his opinion. But I am not despondent. You can leave the sharp objects and my belt around le condo d'Amour; I'm fine.

But I spend an inordinate amount of time on politics and liberty theory. I enjoy it and it has become something that defines me. The shock you feel through my terrible typing is that I no longer believe that it is going to work.

I questioned whether to put the Debbie Downer comment under your excellent post, but you're suggesting that this old GOP car needs a tune up and I suggest it is totaled.

Pragmatism, fusionism, Libertario Delenda Est -- none of these is going to work. Yaron Brook and my brother say we have to reeducate people and change their priorities and beliefs: trading Ayn Rand's wisdom for the Ooompa Loompah's. How's that going to work?

My Facebook friends will gloat for another day or two and forget politics for four years. But they'll be back in 2016 with no more appreciation for liberty or limited government. (Today's meme: a picture of Senators-elect Tammy Baldwin and Elizabeth Warren and Sen. McCaskill with the headline "We Brought Binders Full of Women to the US Senate!) It's so precious I could just barf.

I don't care for quitters, but I need a reasonable vision or target of success. We have broken the safeguards that restrain government and I don't see that they can be restored through the political process.

Posted by: jk at November 8, 2012 10:33 AM

Rand saw this coming 60-plus years ago. Her "cautionary tale" may yet become a blueprint. But just as we don't have a magical static elecricity engine, we don't all have to physically move to a hidden Shangri-la, or even break the law. 51% only applies to democracy, but thanks to progressive taxation it only takes 25% to wipe out 86% of government's revenue. And this is approximately the same share of the population who self-identify as Taxed Enough Already.

Think of an 'Operation Chaos' type of popular movement where net tax payers make a united effort to cut their incomes... live off their savings for a while... start in January 2015 and defer income until, say, January 2017. (Two years might not be enough. Might need to start earlier. '14? '13??)

Posted by: johngalt at November 8, 2012 12:28 PM | What do you think? [6]