First Principles

In search of the Unified Theory of Conservatism

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Uff Da.

November 7th, 2012 · 9 Comments

Obama wins.  Republicans lose everywhere they could have lost in the Senate.  No wave.  No repudiation.  No change.  No mandate either way, and yet everyone will claim one.

Let me say this at the outset – I hope like hell that I’m wrong about what we’re in store for in the next four years.  I hope my friends who voted for and still support the president are wiser than me.  I hope that Obamacare bends the cost curve down and that it provides good health to Americans in an economically sustainable way.  I hope the economy comes screaming back to life, with the GDP growing at 5%+ every quarter for the duration.  I hope unemployment plummets.  I hope that Obama will make a serious effort to balance the budget.  I hope a Democrat wins in a landslide in 2016 because things are going so well.  I hope Iran will be prevented from getting a nuke because the Islamists are enchanted with him as a global healer.  I hope Obama stops considering me his “enemy.”

No tongue-in-cheek – I hope this will be so with all of my being, even as I know it won’t be so.


There will be a lot of blame on the candidate, the press, and all sorts of allegations of fraud.  Some of that will be fair, but not all or even most of it.

Romney was a great candidate for this time and this moment.  He was Mr. Fixit in a world that needed fixing.  There are nits to pick, but he was on offense, he hit a strong stride laying out a clear case for responsible budgeting and the promotion of free markets.  He focused on the economy and not the losing social issues.  His organization was strong.  He EARNED record Republican support, among Republicans who were initially mistrustful of him.  None of the three other GOP candidates who remained in contention by the time the caucuses came to Nevada could have done as well – no, Paulestineans, the good doctor would have fared a great deal worse.  But he was necessarily selling the virtues of delayed gratification, and Americans are apparently finished with such quaint notions.

The press was bad – the Benghazi blackout is only the worst of their shamelessness.  But the press hated Reagan, too.  The country is just a different place.  And frankly, the press (gauging from the polls) had a much better read on what the United States is in 2016 than I did.

And absent hard, hard proof, I don’t want to hear about voter fraud.  While fraud is a real problem, the perception of fraud is worse – one of the reason voter ID would be such a boon is that it would make sore loser fraud allegations easy to ignore.  If a critical mass of people really start thinking our elections are all rigged, they will reach for the only alternative to seizing political power the world has ever known – violence.  Those who would pour gasoline on that fire are enemies of liberty, and I repudiate it all in advance.

Hell, I can’t even blame the disaster that our State GOP turned itself into this last year, although they did us no favors in down ballot races.  Thank God the Constitutional offices weren’t up this year.

Nope – I’m proud of the case Romney made, and I’m proud to have voted for him in the caucus.  And everyone knew what his case was.  But the American people chose to reject the virtues of delayed gratification.  We chose to embrace perpetual childhood with Government as our all-powerful parent.  The demographics and culture has shifted, and it won’t shift back until we hit a hard, painful bottom – if ever.

Politics isn’t about “left” and “right”.  It’s about “up” and “down”.  It’s a vector equation, not a study in static points positioned on a stable graph.  Some of my moderate friends who voted for the President aren’t “liberal”, but they nonetheless voted to give the government a greater role in – and control of – our lives, and I think a lot of them are going to be surprised (and not in a good way) at just how far and fast Obama is about to take things to the left.


Four years ago, I was disappointed in Obama’s victory, but still generally optimistic.  Now?  Not so much.  We’ve seen what he’s about, and seen the results – why would anyone honestly expect anything to be different?  A friendly media can only put so much lipstick on a pig.  Things that can’t go on forever, don’t, and our credit card culture of dependency is a perfect example of that.  I don’t think most Obama voters intended it, but intentions aside, they voted to put the pedal to the metal on the road to decline.

The reason I was wrong about Romney strength (and I WAY overestimated GOP strength) is because this isn’t the same country it was even a decade ago, and I didn’t appreciate that fact.  2010 was a dead cat bounce for conservatism in a lot of ways. Republicans will still win elections, but only as custodians and now open advocates of an ever-increasing welfare state.  America is now fully center left, and that means we have to fully run out of other people’s money before we get off the social welfare state highway.  That won’t be a pleasant experience when it happens, and its happening is inevitable.  Again, things that can’t go on forever, don’t.

Even a decade ago, though, there were signs, signs that my own tribalism blinded me to.  Shame on me.  Our choice of decline is a bi-partisan one, and we are all responsible.  Ironically, my liberal friends in 2004 and 2008 were right in a lot of ways – Bush was doing tremendous damage to the nation’s economy via the expansion of both our social welfare state and our credit card spending.  On national security he was right but insufficiently focused.  He set dangerous precedents in expanding the power of the executive, and of the federal government over the States.  But Obama has literally quadrupled down on all of these sins (literally at least with regard to the deficits).  I still would have voted the way I voted in those past elections, correctly judging the alternative to be worse, but we should have been more vigilant then.

It’s going to get worse.  In very, very large part because of Obama’s “I won, so shut up” type of “leadership,” two halves of this country will continue to engage in all-or-nothing trench warfare.  Yes, there is no shortage of Republican blame, but the guy at the top sets the tone – it was the entire promise of his campaign in 2008, and he threw it in the garbage about an hour after his inauguration.  But Obama, who should be humbled by his significant loss of support even in a victory (and a still-very possible popular vote loss), won’t be, and he will be even more imperious now with nothing further to lose.  Presidents NEED ego, but they also need perspective and humility.  I’m angered and even frightened that the President considers me an “enemy” that he got “revenge” on.  And I’m terrified that he will see this victory as a sweeping mandate for the farthest left government this nation has ever seen.

Well, it’s his now.  I don’t want to hear another God damned word about the “mess I inherited”. And don’t ask this “enemy” for help – you got your “revenge” on me, Mr. President.  Please forgive me if I’m not effusive in my desire to offer my congratulations to someone who won by arguing I want to go all Taliban on women in America, or who thinks that talent, hard work, and success should be resented rather than celebrated.  And I’m not alone.

I so wanted to like and respect this President four years ago.  Not any more.  I will be every bit as gracious towards him in the years to come as he has been to me.  Let’s hope, again, that I’m wrong – this time about the President’s attitude going forward.  I have no place left in my heart for Barack Obama, but even now I don’t want to give up on my President of my Country.

I’m going to step back for awhile.  I didn’t realize how strong the tide I was swimming against was anyway, so I’m going to get out of the water for a bit, hunker down, prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.  And hey – I was wrong about where this country was, so maybe I’m wrong about where it’s going.  Either way, the nation is now on a course a majority of her citizens set, and there’s nothing I can do to change it for awhile at least. Like I said last night, there is comfort in certainty!

You have the helm, my liberal friends.  And to my less-than-liberal friends who nonetheless picked this helmsman, my kids are depending on you having picked the right guy.  Again, I pray with all my might that you all are wiser than me.


Yesterday, I posted this Robert Heinlein quote on my Facebook page.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Expect to hear a lot about “bad luck” in the coming years.

Here’s hoping – again and forever – that I’m wrong.

Tags: Campaign '12