[Guest post by DRJ]
I agree with Steven Den Beste that Obama’s election isn’t the end of the world and that Americans will be disenchanted with how Democrats govern. And FWIW I think Obama will govern from the far left instead of the center.
I also agree with Dr. Helen‘s post entitled “It’s the Economy, Stupid” that this election may have resulted in part from concerns about the economy. I especially agree with this statement:
“But to think that the entire philosophy of individual rights, small government, national security and gun rights is lost on a new generation of voters based on this one election is not only foolish, it shows a degree of cynicism that may not be accurate.”
Ed Morrissey noticed that up to 7 million GOP voters stayed home or switched to Obama and, like Dr. Helen, Morrissey thinks conservatism is the answer and not the problem:
“If the GOP wants to win 60 million votes in future national elections, it has to stand for something other than being Democrat Lite. The Republican Party needs clarity, purpose, and most importantly, an end to the hypocrisy of talking smaller government while porking up their districts. When given only a choice between real Democrats and fake Democrats, Americans will choose the former, which we found out in 2006.”
These opinions are reinforced by a business conversation I had this morning with a college-educated, Western Pennsylvania professional. She told me she was afraid she would lose her job under an Obama Administration but she nevertheless didn’t vote because she knew there was no real difference between Republicans and Democrats, including Bush, McCain and even Obama. As she said, “The Parties have come together and there isn’t much difference between them.”
I hesitate to draw conclusions from one conversation but I have this nagging feeling she’s not alone. Washington DC politics have become talking points that blend together into endless discussion of the need for bipartisanship. No wonder voters think there is no difference in the Parties and that the main difference is the way candidates look and talk.
For many conservatives, McCain’s maverick strain was not a selling point and his pick of Palin was not enough to reassure them. I understand those concerns. Does anyone doubt that, as President, the first thing McCain would have done is pursue a bipartisan agreement with the Democratic-controlled Congress? While that might be a good political tactic, it reinforces the idea that Washington politicians are interchangeable.
Thus, I wonder if part of Obama’s appeal is that voters believe he is more likely to stand for something, even if they don’t know exactly what it is.
Today’s politicians avoid the label of Washington insiders to distance themselves from Beltway politics but along the way conservatives have forgotten why they need to be different. McCain was a maverick but that’s not the kind of difference conservatives want. We want politicians whose values are different than the Stepford politicians of Washington DC and in tune with Dr. Helen’s “philosophy of individual rights, small government, national security and gun rights.”
If we can find conservative candidates who stand for something, I think many of those 7 million voters will come back.