Step one: acknowledge it was a disaster.
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The only way to fight back against these abuses will be to win the allegiances of large—not narrow—public majorities. And to win those allegiances, conservatives must move well outside of our comfort zones, not just in terms of whom we talk to, but also in terms of whom we hire as consultants, where we advertise, and how we build our coalitions.
Meanwhile, we may need to pick our battles. Even with a Republican House majority protected via clever redistricting, we won’t be able to fight on every front. We might need to use flanking maneuvers, political guerrilla warfare, and pinpoint attacks rather than full frontal charges. Yet when it comes to defending the Constitution, or defending truly essential principles, we must be fiercely defiant against anything Obama throws at us. If this man in the Oval Office truly wants to transform America rather than just reform it, he must be resisted with every legal weapon we can muster.
YOU WANT SPECIFICS? Specific issues have been begging to be used for years. Eminent domain. School choice. Voter ID. Parental choice for abortions. Race-neutral justice. Conservative judges. Law and order (not just against crime, but also against prosecutorial abuse). Repeal of mandates that invade basic rights. Ethics.
In one state referendum or another, for almost every one of those issues, voters approved amendments taking the conservative side (or opposed amendments pushed by the left). When elective judgeships were at stake, voters across the country moved courts further rightward. Huge majorities even of ethnic-minority populations support voter ID laws (although conservatives must also work for reforms that make the actual process of voting easier and less time-consuming). School choice offers inroads for support from black voters and perhaps especially Latinos. (Pro–charter school amendments passed in Georgia and Washington State.) And an astonishing 82 percent of Virginia voters supported limits on eminent domain.
Here’s something our dull-witted consultants fail to understand: Focusing on one main theme (uh, yeah, we know the economy is bad) does not preclude the use of other issues as honorable wedges to leverage voter turnout among discrete slices of the citizenry who might otherwise stay home. If Romney, for instance, had piggybacked on the eminent domain issue, it might not only have shifted key votes in Virginia but might also have positioned him against big corporations that often are behind municipal land grabs—and, Lord knows, Romney needed to fight the perception of corporate fat cat if he wanted to earn the votes of white laborers in Ohio, who instead just declined to cast ballots.
Conservatives must not delude ourselves: The 2012 elections were a disaster. Barack Obama has the upper hand and will try to use it for terrible ends. But for the many (we’ve all heard them) who say we now are doomed, it’s time to reconsider. We’re not in yet in perdition; we’re retraining ourselves in Valley Forge.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online