Conservatism did not lose on November 6th. The conservative case was not on the ballot and was never made in 2012. Obama won a purely tactical victory over an incompetent Romney campaign.
He received 7,000,000 fewer votes than George W. Bush in 2004.
Barack Obama received about the same number of votes as John McCain in 2008. Obama received 9,000,000 fewer votes in 2012 that he received in 2008.
If you had told me before Election Day that Barack Obama’s vote total would drop 13 percent from what it was in 2008, I would have broken out the champagne, party hats, and plastic horns.
This election was no mandate for Obama.
Had Romney even slightly exceeded McCain’s 2008 vote total, he would have won the election.
Incredibly, Romney got a smaller share of the Mormon vote than Bush did.
The Romney campaign will go down in history as one of the most incompetent and ineffective Presidential campaigns of all time by a major national party nominee.
Who would have thought that the Republican nominee this year would be unable to match even John McCain’s pathetic 2008 vote total?
Most of us thought McCain’s campaign was incredibly weak at the time.
Today, McCain looks like a pillar of strength when compared to the Romney effort.
Plus, look what McCain was up against. We had just had the financial collapse. George W. Bush was among the most unpopular Presidents in American history. Bush’s claims about WMDs being in Iraq were apparently wrong, so we got into a war that was completely unnecessary. The U.S. economy was in free-fall collapse.
Meanwhile, Obama was hailed as the Messiah in 2008. He dispatched Hillary Clinton in the primaries, who was thought to be unstoppable. He was filling football stadiums with his speeches. People in audiences were fainting just because they were in his presence.
Yet McCain was able to get more votes than Mitt Romney.
Now consider all the advantages Romney had going for him.
The economy is still dead on its back. Most Americans disagree with Obama’s big government, tax-and-spend approach. Most Americans oppose ObamaCare and want ObamaCare repealed.
Other than killing bin Laden, there is literally nothing Obama can point to that has worked.
We now have a $16.3 TRILLION national debt — $6 TRILLION more than on Obama’s first day on the job. And Obama’s big solution is to spend more. The unemployment rate is higher than it was on Obama’s first day in office four years ago. We are becoming like Greece in terms of debt. The price of a gallon of gas has doubled. The real estate market is still in crash mode. We have 49 million Americans on food stamps, up from 34 million on Obama’s first day in office. The dollar has lost half its value. The Middle East is on fire.
What has Obama done that has worked?
How is it possible that Romney was unable even to match McCain’s vote total?
This is what happens when you run a campaign that has no theme — really no rationale.
Romney’s campaign theme was basically this:
“I’ll raise your take-home pay and get the economy moving again. Obama is a nice guy, but his policies just aren’t working. Time to try something new.”
Romney’s entire message summarized was: Obama failed, so give me the keys to the car.
But everyone knows we fail all the time. I fail everyday. I get things wrong all the time. That, by itself, doesn’t mean I’m incompetent or that I’m going to keep failing. I try to learn from my mistakes and failures. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have had plenty of failures, made plenty of mistakes.
Show me someone who hasn’t failed, and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t take risks and who hasn’t achieved much in life. Ronald Reagan had plenty of big failures.
So just pointing out over and over again that someone is failing doesn’t tell you anything. In fact, that might even gin up sympathy for the person if you over do it.
The question is: What’s causing the failure?
And is there any prospect that you are learning from your mistakes?
Is it Obama’s fault that Obama is failing?
Or is the failure due to factors beyond Obama’s control?
Romney never connected the dots on WHY Obama’s policies aren’t working.
Obama’s policies are not working because they are built on a philosophy that’s wrong, ideas that are wrong — socialist ideas that have never worked.
Obama’s policies aren’t working because he’s a deficit spender. He thinks we aren’t spending enough. He thinks if we spend more, the U.S. economy will come back.
This is like thinking the answer to your massive credit card debt is to just spend more — that the more you spend and go into debt, the richer you’ll get.
That, in a nutshell, is the Obama prescription for the economy.
Obama’s socialistic, anti-capitalist philosophy is also causing the failure and leading to policies that are the exact opposite of the direction we should be heading.
It’s not that Obama is missing the target. We can understand shooting at a target and missing. It’s that he’s shooting in the opposite direction of the target. So no matter how often he shoots, the arrow will land even farther away from the target than from where it was launched.
In other words, America would be far better off if Obama would have done absolutely nothing than what he did. And Obama has promised to do more of the same.
So America’s economic crisis will continue to get worse — will soon turn into a full blown economic collapse if we don’t reverse course, if we don’t do exactly the opposite of what Obama wants to do . . . in every area.
There is literally no Obama policy that is the correct prescription for the economy.
Everything Obama is doing is making the economy worse. The economy continues to limp along, despite Obama. In fact, it looks like we are about to dip into another recession.
Obama believes in big government, the more government the better. Obama’s answer to America’s economic problems is always to grow government — to spend more, to hire more government bureaucrats, to build more government bureaucracies.
He’s a believer in top-down government-imposed solutions. He doesn’t believe much in the idea that free markets and free people will produce much better results over the long term — that free-market capitalism is the surest path to prosperity. His answer to every problem is to write more regulations, pass more laws, create more government programs.
He now wants to have a Secretary of Business — as though this is the answer to the lack of new business formation. We now have the lowest rate of new business start-ups on record.
Economic growth always comes from new business start-ups. But it’s very tough for new businesses to form and grow in the current regulatory environment — especially with ObamaCare now lurking.
Obama is a European-style Socialist, at best. Never mind that countries like France, Spain and Greece now have unemployment rates of about 25 percent.
This is where we’re heading. Obama’s supporters call America’s current economic stagnation the “new normal.”
They think America was too rich anyway and needed to be taken down a few pegs.
So that’s what’s happening.
Obama told us he’s out to “fundamentally transform” America.
What if you told your wife you want to “fundamentally transform” her?
Is that sending a message that you love your wife?
Does someone who wants to “fundamentally transform” America love America?
But there were no ads, no mentions from the Romney camp about Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform” America.
That would have been a great debate to have. What exactly does Obama have in mind with his promise to “fundamentally transform” America?
It’s a debate that surely would have raised more than a few eyebrows in the electorate.
It would be nice if Romney had asked Obama this question during one of the debates. This would have made a great ad.
Most Americans aren’t Socialists, don’t want America to be like Europe — don’t think this should be the “new normal” and certainly don’t want to “fundamentally transform” America.
Every survey shows that most Americans want less government. Only 20 percent of Americans describe themselves as liberal, while 40 percent describe themselves as conservative.
But Romney never once called Obama a Leftist — or even a big spending, big government, tax-and-spend liberal.
If he had, the American people would better understand why every Obama policy leads to more failure.
It’s inexplicable that Obama’s job approval rating kept rising during the campaign.
At the start of the campaign, Obama’s job approval rating was about 45 percent. By the end of the campaign it was 50 percent.
When has that ever happened during the course of a political campaign?
The more Romney’s ads aired, the higher Obama’s job approval would rise.
This should tell you something. At a minimum, it should tell you to stop running these ads — to get some new ads, get a new message.
Conservatives consistently win elections that are about big ideas and big themes — about the overall direction the country should be heading. But we tend to lose tactical elections — when the election is about small issues (like “legitimate rape,” “Big Bird,” and free condoms).
Obama won a tactical election victory because this turned out not to be an election about ideas at all. No ideas were even discussed. So some people even ended up letting Hurricane Sandy decide their vote.
Who could even tell who the conservative was and who the liberal was in this race based on the content of these campaigns?
It’s not that Obama is any kind of political juggernaut. He received 9,000,000 fewer votes in 2012 than in 2008. By any standard, that’s failure — when an incumbent President can’t even come close to matching his previous vote total.
When that happens, the incumbent President loses. Certainly always has in the past.
But not this time . . . because Romney turned in an even more pathetic performance.
And that was the big wild card of this Election.
We expected Obama’s vote total to decline dramatically from what it was in 2008 — down to McCain’s level.
The fact that that happened is why I was predicting a landslide election victory for Romney — despite his shockingly weak campaign.
What no one expected was Romney’s inability even to match McCain’s 2008 vote total.
What no one expected was Romney getting 2,000,000 fewer votes than even McCain’s weak and inept campaign.
How is this even possible?
When you think about it, Mitt Romney only had one good moment in this election — and that was his first debate with Obama. He did a good job there.
But that was it. The election was over for Romney until that first debate because the Romney campaign allowed Obama to define him. That first debate gave Romney some new life. But then he went back into a cautious prevent-defense mode and tried to run out the clock — which never works.
You can’t beat something with absolutely nothing, which is what Romney tried to do.
He kept telling us he was going to create 12,000,000 new jobs.
Why not 6,000,000 . . . or 20,000,000?
Where are these jobs coming from? Where does this 12,000,000 number come from?
Romney never told us, just made the claim over and over again without ever connecting the dots, without ever saying how.
This is like saying “On Tuesday you’ll be on Mars.”
When will Republicans learn the formula for winning national campaigns?
And that’s simply to copy the Reagan formula.
We win by talking about our principles and big themes. We win when we talk about the benefits of liberty, of capitalism, of shrinking the number of government bureaucrats.
We win when we talk about America’s founding principles, as stated in our Declaration of Independence. We win when we talk about why America’s experiment in liberty and limited government was so successful — made America the most prosperous nation in human history.
We win when we educate the American people about liberty and its benefits.
We win when we talk about America being a “shining city on a hill” — a beacon of liberty and prosperity for all the world to follow.
People want to be part of something bigger than themselves.
It’s not just about the money. Romney kept talking about the $4,300 average decline in yearly take-home pay for the American household.
That’s certainly important to people. But the question is: WHY is this happening?
People want to know “WHY?” . . . because, if we don’t know WHY, how can we be sure you have the right answers.
Romney never answered that question.
So Obama was able to say plausibly that we’re victims of a global decline, or that he inherited a mess from Bush. Romney never made the case that the root of the problem is Obama’s Socialistic world-view — his false Utopian ideology that has never worked.
Romney made his campaign all about the money. “I’ll help you get higher take-home pay.”
But is this really all people want?
People also want a brighter future for their children and grandchildren. People also want freedom — not to be bossed around by government bureaucrats or harassed relentlessly by the IRS.
People want to be left alone by the government.
Is Bill Gates all about the money?
Or is he more about building something really big and consequential?
The American Dream is about a lot more than money. It’s about freedom. It’s about a society that allows people the freedom to have big dreams and big goals, whatever they may be. It’s about that “Shining City on Hill” that Ronald Reagan and the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock always talked about building — a Shining City on a Hill that can be a beacon of liberty, light and civilization for the rest of the world to follow.
Romney would have done well to talk about why so many people used to want to come to America, but no longer do.
Isn’t it interesting that immigration to America has slowed to a trickle since Obama’s first day in office?
People just aren’t so keen on coming to America anymore.
So that’s one way to control immigration and secure our border. Turn America into a dump. Then we won’t have the problem of trying to control immigration. But that’s not quite the immigration policy we want, is it?
We win when we talk about socialism’s dismal record throughout history. This could then be reinforced by talking about Obama’s dismal record — where he is trying his best to march America toward his Socialist vision.
But we never heard Romney talk about any of this. Romney never painted a picture of how bleak America’s future will be if Obama is allowed to take America down the road he’s taking us. The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek paints the picture, as does George Orwell’s 1984.
The Romney campaign hardly mentioned ObamaCare, including . . .
- the 21 new taxes and tax increases that are part of ObamaCare and that kick in on January 1, 2013
- the 16,000 IRS agents that are being hired now to enforce ObamaCare
- the 159 new government agencies that are being built to administer ObamaCare
- the 15-member Health Care Rationing Board that’s key t0o ObamaCare’s “cost containment” strategy.
It’s basically the North Korean health care strategy. North Korea has universal health care for its citizens. But they only spend $1 per year per citizen on health care, so you have to conduct your own amputations (a true fact, by the way).
That’s certainly one way to cut health care costs!
The issue is not whether you can get health care. It’s the quality of your health care.
But no discussion of any of this from the Romney camp.
Obama keeps complaining that Americans spend more than anyone else on health care.
But that’s a meaningless statement. We also spend more on housing, on food, on our cars, on vacations, on everything — because we are Americans. We are the most prosperous nation in human history and we can afford to. But Romney never really engaged Obama philosophically, never engaged him on first principles.
We never had a real debate about what kind of a future we want for America — what kind of a society we want to pass onto our children and grandchildren.
I really don’t mind losing an election like that. If the American people choose socialism over freedom, so be it. But let’s at least have that debate. We didn’t in this election. Instead we had an election about Big Bird, free condoms, “legitimate rape,” and Hurricane Sandy.
For a reminder of what a winning conservative message sounds like, listen to Ronald Reagan’s great “A Time for Choosing Convention” speech on behalf of Barry Goldwater in 1964:
This great speech became the basis of Ronald Reagan’s future political career.
Almost every word in this speech applies today.
Republicans just need to study this speech and do this. This is how you inspire people. He inspired a lot of Democrats with these speeches — created tens of millions of what became known as “Reagan Democrats.”
Reagan was able to get 37 percent of the Hispanic vote compared to 27 percent for Romney. Reagan won more Hispanics over to his side with his ideas and principles than Romney and the current GOP leadership is winning with their no-principles, no-ideas approach.
Here’s more from Reagan . . .
Reagan’s Great 1980 Convention Speech . . .
Reagan’s debate performance against Carter . . .
What stands out is how much tougher Reagan was against Carter than Romney was against Obama.
Winning doesn’t get any simpler than this.
The Romney campaign had no theme. After more than one billion dollars spent on campaign ads, we still have no idea what Romney would have actually done as President.
There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. Just study the speeches and campaigns of a winner.
Almost all the arguments Reagan made against Carter apply today, only more so.
Conservativism did not lose on Tuesday. Conservatism was not on the ballot.
I’m not sure what was on the ballot. But it certainly wasn’t conservative ideas and principles.
The conservative case was never made in 2012.
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