After last Tuesday’s election, many conservatives are ready to lay down and cry. Some Republicans are even saying the party needs a massive makeover if it ever wants to win another election.
Paula Baroff of UGA’s Red & Black is having none of it.
Buck up, conservatives — the stakes are too high for despair
Conservatives are dejected this week. After a decisive victory by President Barack Obama in the Electoral College and with the Senate remaining in the hands of Democrats, just less than half of America’s population is shaken and fearful of what the next four years will bring.
Conservatives know that this was no ordinary election. This was supposed to be a recall on Obama’s policies and crooked administration; a recall on the European-style Keynesianism found in his stimulus economic agenda; a recall on unnecessary subsidies and spending; and perhaps most importantly, a recall on the Affordable Care Act (nicknamed Obamacare), which has direct economic and political ramifications.
Now Obamacare will never be repealed. Planned Parenthood, left-leaning public media and “green” companies will continue to be subsidized by Uncle Sam. The Bush-era tax cuts will soon expire, and new Obamacare taxes will go into effect. There will be no supply-side policies under an Obama administration.
The Republicans retain control of the House, so there will likely be further gridlock in Washington, although there have been mixed signals; Republican House Speaker John Boehner recently pledged bipartisanship and offered to deal with the Obama administration. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, Nev.) said last week he would not work with a “severely conservative” agenda, and on Wednesday said he will push for a rule change to limit GOP filibusters.
Along with this, the stock market plummeted the day after the election with all major markets dropping over 2 percent. The Euro hit a two-month low.
So yes, conservatives are understandably unhappy, given that the country is sprinting toward the fiscal cliff. The disappointment isn’t that of any previous election, the “my-team-lost” frustration that accompanies resentment at the other party for winning.
This is genuine, deep sadness and hopeless fear.
This mood is understandable but cannot continue. We conservatives must be Reagan’s “happy warriors,” because Republicans never win with a depressed base; we need to pick ourselves up and bounce back from this terrible loss — because undeniably, it was a terrible loss.
It is important to remember that the Republican Party is in a good place politically. When Obama’s approval ratings sink along with the economy, there is a chance to take back the Senate. For the 2016 presidential election, Democrats have few plausible candidates — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, possibly, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Republicans have many young, smart candidates to choose from (although it’s going to be Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Remember that).
There is no reason to sink into depression over the fate of America; scratch that, there are many reasons to sink into depression over the fate of America, but the costs of doing so are too high. The bitter pleasure of quitting and crying, however tempting it looks at the moment, cannot trump the optimism and fighting spirit necessary to win in 2014 and 2016.
Buck up, conservatives — the stakes are too high for despair (The Red and Black)