If not a ban, I would settle for a moratorium on punditry until, let us say, Jan. 20 of the following year. That way someone might finally get something right.
Yes, Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, lost the election. That is inarguably a bummer, especially since the winner is Barack Obama, whose second term could actually sink the republic.
There is every reason to be concerned, but it is no time to be stupid. Allow me to offer some anti-punditry of my own and puncture some of the post-election pufferies that have been floated by our betters.
This was an easy election to win. We blew it. Fifty-three percent of the people who voted approved of Obama’s job performance. They approved because of a major media that have grown hopelessly complicit and corrupt. A Republican with Obama’s record would not have been re-nominated.
But the major media are dying. They are dying slowly, but the online news services – Google, Yahoo, AOL – are even more corrupt and less accountable than the major media, and their headlines are seen, at least, by the young and ignorant.
It is time for Republicans to rethink their policies. Why Republicans? Despite a sycophantic media, Obama improved on his 2008 percentage of the vote in only one state – Alaska – and that’s because Sarah Palin was not on the ticket. Some 7 million fewer people voted for Obama in 2012 than 2008. This is highly unusual. Two-term presidents from FDR to the present have improved their vote totals in a second campaign.
But what about the other elections? If you look at a county-by-county map, the country looks awfully red. Republicans held the House and hold 30 governorships. More to the point, the red states are performing much better than the blue ones. This will become too obvious to ignore in the next few years, especially as California collapses in a sea of red ink.
Social conservatives cost us the election. Oh, please. Consider Missouri. Senate candidate Todd Akin, the nation’s most impolitic conservative, had no negative coat tails. Romney improved on McCain’s performance in Missouri by 10 percent. Ditto Roger Mourdock in Indiana. Social conservatives are usually more fiscally conservative than fiscal conservatives. They are the Republican Party.
Rush Limbaugh et al. cost us the election “It’s time for Republican elected leaders to stand up and to repudiate this nonsense, and to repudiate it directly,” said Steve Schmidt, senior adviser to John McCain in 2008. The “nonsense” in question was that offered by Rush Limbaugh, among the most cogent and easily the most consequential political commentator in American history.
If anyone cost us the 2012 election, it was media suck-ups like Schmidt who so misunderstand their own party. The Beltway is full of them. So is Sunday morning TV.
Shouldn’t we downplay the abortion thing? I am not sure I remember it being mentioned. The tea party was organized solely around fiscal issues, so was the Romney campaign. Besides, abortion is the moral and civil rights issue of our day. It has pushed millions of committed activists into the Republican Party. Try telling them they are no longer wanted and see what happens to the party.
But what about the young? Obama’s greatest percentage decline occurred among those 18-29. We would have to consult with the Kardashians to create policy for the clueless 60 percent of this demographic who still found some reason to vote for Obama in 2012.
We did not do enough minority outreach. In Philadelphia, 59 precincts delivered 19,605 votes for Obama to zero for Romney. If the RNC spent every one of its dollars on those precincts, it would not have secured more than 100 votes unless it bought them outright.
But what about the Hispanic vote? As the New York Times had to concede, even if Mitt Romney had made historic gains among Hispanic voters, he would not have won the election. Plus, as Charles Murray has noted, Hispanics “aren’t more religious than everyone else … aren’t married more than everyone else … aren’t more conservative than everyone else.” In other words, they are not natural Republicans waiting to be tapped, and this is not the time to pander.
Mitt Romney was the wrong candidate. Whatever his natural instincts might be, Romney ran the most conservative campaign since Reagan. His VP choice was inspired. Between him and Ryan, they made fewer gaffes during the campaign than Biden did in the average day.
Romney’s debate performance on Oct. 3 was the best in televised history. The pundits tell him he should have done this and that more aggressively, but the media allowed him no margin of error. In the final analysis, no other announced candidate in 2012 would have done as well.
Bottom line: In its purest form, the Republican Party coheres around a simple conservative principle: limited constitutional government as close to home as possible with an emphasis on free men, free markets, traditional values and strong national defense.
The principle works for every country and every state that tries it. We can practice it better ourselves and sell it better to all Americans, but we would be fools to change it or cheapen it.