GAHANNA, Ohio — Late Tuesday night, the pundits on TV began jabbering incomprehensibly along the lines of, “What does it mean?”
The American people — or, at the very least, a sufficient plurality of them — decided that they want another four years of clumsy policy failures and vengeful “progressivism,” as Democrats nowadays describe their agenda for wrecking what remains of our constitutional republic. Even before the unmitigated political disaster of November 6, 2012, a date that will live in infamy, the prospects of salvaging the United States were not particularly hopeful. Now, however, we are permanently and irretrievably screwed.
Let’s not mince words, eh? It was one thing, obviously, for the electorate to choose Barack Obama in 2008, when Bush-era “brand damage” was still a fresh irritant in the wounds of a war-weary nation. Four years ago, Obama was untested and enshrouded in the glowing mantle of Hope. No intelligent person could possibly believe that “Lightworker” crap anymore, but then again, it’s been a long time since any intelligent person believed anything a Democrat said. The cretins and dimwits have become an effective governing majority, and the question for conservatives at this point is perhaps not, “What does it mean?” but rather, “Why should we bother ourselves resisting it any longer?”
Alas, as always, the duty of the Right is to manfully endure, to survive the defeat and stubbornly oppose the vaunting foe, and so this brutal shock, this electoral catastrophe, must be absorbed and digested. At some point next week or next month or next year, then, we shall recover our morale and plot some new stratagem for the future. In the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s debacle, however, it is difficult to see any glimmer of light amid the encroaching gloom. Surely, there are many Americans who now sympathize with that New York infantryman who, in the bleak winter of 1862, when the Union’s Army of the Potomac was under the incompetent command of Gen. Ambrose Burnside, wrote home in forlorn complaint: “Mother, do not wonder that my loyalty is growing weak.… I am sick and tired of the disaster and the fools that bring disaster upon us.”
The search for scapegoats always attends political defeat, and Republicans have no shortage of candidates for the role, beginning with Todd Akin, whose ill-considered remarks about “legitimate rape” during an August interview set off a nationwide demand that he quit as the GOP nominee against Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Akin went down to ignominious defeat Tuesday, as did Indiana’s Richard Mourdock, who upset Republican Sen. Richard Lugar in the primary but then imploded after making Akin-esque comments about rape and abortion. Perhaps pro-life groups should sponsor a training session for political candidates, teaching them how to answer “gotcha” questions without either ceding anything to the abortion lobby or offending voters with off-the-cuff comments about rape. But Akin and Mourdock were just two names on a long list of bloodbaths for GOP Senate candidates, a massacre that also defeated Republican candidates in Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, Maine, Massachusetts and elsewhere.
The list of fools who have brought this disaster upon us certainly also will include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the gelatinous clown who (a) hogged up a prime time spot at the Republican convention to sing his own praises; (b) embraced Obama as the hero of Hurricane Sandy; and (c) then refused to appear at campaign events in support of Romney’s presidential campaign. Good luck with the remainder of your political future, governor. It is unlikely Republicans shall soon forget your perfidious betrayal.
Well, then, what shall we say of Mitt Romney himself? He did not run a bad campaign. He excited the party’s conservative base with his choice of Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate, and Romney’s stunning victory in the first presidential debate Oct. 3 ignited a surge of momentum that seemed destined to carry him all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. I fondly recall the night after the debate when, in Fisherville, Virginia, a crowd twice the size of the town turned out to cheer Romney and Ryan at a jubilant rally. A few minutes before 1 a.m. this morning, the TV networks called Obama the winner in Virginia, a result that seemed impossible a month ago. The margin of Romney’s defeat in Virginia — as in the other major battleground states of Florida and Ohio — was quite slender, but it was a defeat nonetheless.
Romney’s campaign staff furiously challenged the fact of their defeat, so that the loser’s concession speech was postponed until the wee hours of the morning. One can scarcely blame them for refusing to admit such a grim reality, but the reality could not be escaped. When Romney finally took the stage in Boston, he graciously said, “I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.” Prayers notwithstanding, the only success the current president is likely to have is in guiding our nation straight toward a destination that proverbially waits at the end of a road paved with good intentions.
What is left to hope for? That the American people will soon regret their choice? That another four years of economic stagnation and escalating debt will cure them of their insane appetite for charismatic liberals? If four years of endless failure have not rid them of this madness, the disease may well be terminal. Perhaps others will still see some cause for hope, and in another few weeks my friends may persuade me to see it, too. But today I will hear no such talk, and I doubt I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow. At the moment, I am convinced America is doomed beyond all hope of redemption, and any talk of the future fills me with dread and horror.