Thursday, November 8, 2012

To All the Conservatives Out There

Despite the glee expressed in my last post, I'd like to reach out to all my conservative friends (or now, former friends) out there.  Its been a tough election, and an even tougher election night for you.  As much as you think that you are alone, or that no one knows how you feel, trust me, I do.

You see, eight years ago George W. Bush, a President I despised and thought was a disaster for this country, was reelected over John Kerry.  And as I will detail below, the parallels between 2004 and 2012 are absolutely striking.

In 2004 and 2012, the incumbent President faced a politician from Massachusetts with a reputation of being an elitist and a flip-flopper.  The bases of the opposition were energized, and found new ways to spend soft money like never before (we had the 527's, you had the Super Pacs).  Both challengers did extremely well in the first Presidential debate (I, for one, haven't forgotten about Poland), with the President making a comeback in the next two debates.  And both times, the losing side was sure, absolutely sure, that they would carry Ohio (2004 - the exit polls, and 2012 the unskew guy).   And, of course, both times, despite extreme enthusiasm by the challenging side, the incumbent President won because he was able to get his supporters to come out to the polls in large numbers.  

When Kerry lost in 2004, I was devastated because I realized that there was nothing more I, or any other Democrat, could have done to stop Bush from winning.  Our leadership just wasn't smart enough to beat Karl Rove, and there was more Republicans in the country than Democrats.  Sound familiar?

Despite all the jokes about Karl Rove blowing $390 million (!!!), and whatever can be said about Mitt Romney, you, my conservative brethren  did everything you could to win this campaign.  You spent more money than the President.  You had election officials in key states who shamelessly did everything they could to prevent Obama supporters from voting.   There was no stone left unturned.  You left it all out on the field, and for that, I salute you.  

In the next few months and weeks, you are going to hear a lot of excuses by the Republican Party leadership about why Obama won and Romney lost.  I've heard Limbaugh say that Romney was running against Santa Claus, and O'Reilly saying much the same thing.  I've heard Rove say that Obama's negativity discouraged Romney supporters from voting, and there will be plenty of bullshit out there, peddled by the people who said that Romney was a shoe-in, and that the polls were biased.  Do not believe them.  No, you lost for the same reason that Hillary Clinton and John Edwards lost to Obama in the 2008 primaries - Obama went out and found more voters. 

And these voters did not vote for Obama because he promised them free stuff - but because he had a plan that is kinda, sorta, working.  Because he represents a turn away from policies of George W. Bush, who, as you might remember, had an approval rating in the twenties when he left office.  Romney never articulated how he was going to be different - instead he looked like a plutocrat.  Most importantly, though, these voters came to the polls because Obama reached out to them in ways that Romney could not and did not.

Okay, I'm sorry to sound like I'm piling on - I don't mean to.  You worked your ass off, and damn if you didn't come close.  But you need to accept reality.  If you ran a campaign against Obama the man, as opposed to the Kenyan anti-colonial communist you think Obama is, you might have won.  Trust me, I know.  We Democrats kept running against Bush the idiot, instead of Bush the actual guy.

So, you might ask, why the hell am I writing this?  Its because America needs conservatives and conservatism just as much as it needs liberals and liberalism.  Neither side has all the answers, and we both have our excesses.  We need each other for balance. 

Lastly, as someone who got over the pain of 2004, here's my advice to you - take a walk.  Get some air, play some music, catch up on some old hobbies and/or chores.  Put politics aside for awhile.  Turn off Fox News (who's more interested in selling stuff than Republican wins).  Trust me, 2016 is a lot closer than you think.

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