Sorry this is so late in the posting, but I’m still recovering from my just ended vacation, and this also gave me time to adequately coalesce my thoughts on what went down last night. First off, Say Uncle has a pretty good wrap-up of the post election coverage by a lot of other bloggers right at this link, so check that out.
As to the actual election itself, I can tell you quite succinctly why the Republicans lost. It’s because of George Bush, and the continued abandonment of actual conservative policies over the last 8 years. George Bush was not a popular president at the time of this election, and Obama was able to successfully turn the election into a referendum on George Bush. Combine that with an economic crisis, and people will vote for the guy that seems to be the most different from the guy they don’t like.
Secondly, guns were not an issue this election. That was an incredibly successful strategy right there, because by running as far away from the gun issue as possible, Obama was able to avoid the kind of mobilization that you saw from conservatives in 1994 and 2000. He and the Democrats were able to motivate their base and get them out to the polls; the margin of victory is such that even in battleground states we can not (and we should not) cry “election fraud”. The bottom line on that issue is that Obama won, fair and square, and he will be my next president. None of this “not my president bullcrap”, not from me. He won the election, and as such has earned the right to receive emails and letters from me about policies for the next four years.
So, we lost – but it’s not a total disaster. Dave Kopel points out that last night wasn’t a total disaster for the right to keep and bear arms.
The new House of Representatives will have a pro-gun majority on a normal vote. The Pelosi-Hoyer leadership will certainly not be pro-Second Amendment; but that leadership has recognized that its majority is precarious without pro-gun Democrats. However, a generally sympathetic majority does not guarantee victory for the pro-rights side if the President invests major political capital, as President Clinton did in 1994 to pass the ban on so-called “assault weapons” by a single vote.
Plus, in Indiana, we were able to keep our pro-gun majority in both of our houses, as well as keeping our extremely pro-gun (and possible presidential candidate in 2012) governor Mitch Daniels (MY MAN MITCH) in the statehouse. So again, not a total loss.
Of course, all of this leads to the question, “where do we go from here”, not only as conservatives but as a Republican party. Well, first off, we need to control ourselves. This election is a loss, yes, but it’s not the end of the world. If we as a nation made it through at various times Woodrow Wilson, FDR, and Jimmy Carter, I believe that we will make it through this. Politics, like most things, are cyclical; so we will eventually be given an opportunity in the future. I deeply hope that the Republican party takes this a wake up call, and realizes that you can’t try to act like a Democrat and say you’re a Republican and still hope to win. Last night on CNN, Alex Castellanos accurately pointed out that a lot of what Obama was saying and promising during his campaign were values traditionally associated with Republicans, tax cuts, smaller government, etc. I dearly hope that the Republican party takes that message to heart.
As for me, I would like offer my congratulations to President-Elect Barack Obama. For all our disagreements, I am pleased to see that in a country where 60 years ago a black person couldn’t vote, we have now elected one to the highest office in the land.
On a personal note, I am quite frankly glad this election is over. I have worked long and hard on this, and I will be glad to have a break from politics for a bit. I look forward to spending the next few months writing about firearms.