The Rightosphere Copes with Defeat
Reaction to the election is a far cry from the lefty blogosphere's response to 2000 and 2004.
November 6, 2008 - 12:00 am
Conservatives have a deep distrust of polling agencies.
Therefore, they tend to simply disregard unpleasant poll numbers. This often causes a lot of conservatives to get the wrong idea about what’s going to happen in an election — and the blogosphere is not immune to that sort of thinking.
As late as October 27, 53% of right-of-center bloggers believed John McCain was going to win the election.
Clearly, that proved to be wishful thinking. With so many conservatives thinking McCain was going to win, you’d think the howling would have been unearthly after Obama’s victory. There should be conservatives threatening to move overseas, on medication, heading off to the psychologist, and non-stop attacks on the American people for being so stupid. Why not? After all, that’s what the left did after their loss in 2004.
And yet, the most common reaction across the right side of the blogosphere was either a congratulations to Obama, a recognition that having the first black president was a historic moment for America, or some combination thereof.
Beyond that, there was a real sense of the need to get back to work rebuilding the conservative movement to get ready for 2010 and, naturally, a dread of what the Democrats may do to the country over the next four years.
Here are some of the more intriguing reactions to the election results from around the right side of the blogosphere.
I will never be a conservative who writes paeans to Obama’s uplifting message and transcendent candidacy. I don’t find him either uplifting or transcendent, and would argue that his opportunism precludes both. But I will try my best to hope for good judgment, pray for pragmatism, and never wish ill for the country just because it would mean ill for Obama and his party. …
This is America. We all live to regroup and fight another day. Soon, we’ll be back to talking about Obama’s self-involved speeches and their inefficacy against rogue regimes going nuclear. And, we may be delving into the small matter of his campaign contributions. But for tonight, congrats to Obama. It was a race well run.
— Mary Katharine Ham at the Weekly Standard
Perhaps the most important statistic for conservatives to keep in mind today — as pundits pore over and pour out exit-poll data to tell us What It Means — is this: 53 percent of Republican primary voters did not vote for John McCain. …
Conservatives who sought to prevent McCain’s nomination cannot be blamed for his defeat. And it is his defeat, not yours. …
Don’t blame yourself, and don’t listen to the pundits who are trying to spin Tuesday’s result as demonstrating the failure of conservatism. The only failure of conservatism in this election cycle was the failure to produce a consensus alternative to McCain.
— Robert Stacy McCain at The American Spectator
Obama’s victory will not with one fell swoop change the lives of black Americans. The black community will still face the problems that they had yesterday. Electing Obama will not decrease teen pregnancy or the crime rate among black men. Obama will have the opportunity to use the bully pulpit to address those problems and speak out about the need for increased responsibility in the black community. He has already done that somewhat, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more of that from him. And all those blacks celebrating his victory will have to realize that having a black man in the White House will not suddenly change their lives any more than having black mayors in all the major cities has improved their lives.
Look at the crowds of white people who went to Obama rallies and the faces of young white kids celebrating his victory. And then just think about how it was in our lifetimes when blacks could not vote throughout the South. And now the capital of the Confederacy went for an African American man for the presidency. Even for conservatives, this is an amazing moment to marvel at and savor. We have come so far since when I was a child and that is a good thing.
— Betsy Newmark at Betsy’s Blog
I’m not pleased, but I’m hoping that 2-4 years in the political wilderness purify conservatives and bring them back to their Reagan roots, and that 2-4 years of unadulterated Democratic rule are sufficient to put the fear of God into ordinary Americans, without actually destroying the fabric of our country.
I still can’t quite swallow the fact that Americans willingly handed their country over to a man whose resume (thin, at best) and associations (scary and terroristic) are such that most Americans would be frightened to hire him as their children’s babysitter.
The good news is that perhaps this will be the death of the McCain Republicans and reclaim the party for conservative principles. A message was sent to the GOP, and I hope they got it. Also, can this finally be the end of the AmeriKKKa crap? A black man just broke the highest ceiling in the country. Any person, regardless of age, sex, or gender, can do anything they want to in this country if they’re willing to work hard enough for it. Barack Obama just proved that. So let’s close that racism chapter, hmm?
I think this election is going to be a “coming of age” moment for a lot of people. They say, “Be careful what you wish for,” and a lot of people got their wish yesterday.
And now they’re bound to be disappointed. Not even Jesus could satisfy all the expectations of Obama’s most vocal supporters or fulfill all the promises Obama has made.
I think Obama is going to turn out to be the worst president since Carter, and for the same reason: good intentions do not guarantee good results. Idealists often stub their toes on the wayward rocks of reality, and fall on their faces. And the world doesn’t respond to benign behavior benignly.
— Steven Den Beste at Chizumatic
OK, so we just re-elected Carter.
How bad were the late 70s, anyways? They gave us the Sex Pistols, Blondie, and the Talking Heads. And Star Wars. And Apocalypse Now.
And the Ayatollah Khomeni. And long, long gas lines. And runaway inflation. And disco.
Dear Lord, can this country stand four more years of disco?
One of the last things Dean Barnett said to me was that, as best he could tell, Barack Obama is “a good guy and a decent man.” I don’t think he’d mind me telling you that, especially under the circumstances. It’s a testament to his generosity of spirit that even in the heat of a campaign, with every reason to think the worst of his opponent, Dean couldn’t help but give him the benefit of the doubt. That’s Barnett all over, and that’s what made him an indispensable man whom we’ve been forced, horrendously, to dispense with.
I offer that as comfort to those of you who have no faith in The One but who do have faith in, and abiding affection for, DB. My guess is he’d have handled the news tonight with the same magnanimity that distinguished all of his writing. So in that spirit, congratulations to Barry O on a race superbly run and to our country for not having let the wrong reasons deter it from making the wrong choice. I’ll never be a fan, but I swear I’ll never take a nutroots posture either in relishing his failures because it helps my party. Like it or not, he’s my president. As a great man once said, country first.
— AllahPundit at Hot Air
I’m off to the mall to sell razor blades so people can scrape off their “Question Authority” bumper stickers. Just remember: Dissent is still the highest form of patriotism. Except now it will be practiced by the lowest form of people.
There are people lowdown enough to know in advance who and what was elected yesterday, and to have voted for the Moonbat Messiah anyway. What they have done to this country is beyond forgiveness.
But an ultra-radical leftist like Obama could not be elected in a center-right country, or even a center-left country, without a great deal of deception. Thanks to a radicalized liberal media willing to sacrifice its own long-term credibility to put a leftist in power, Obama was never publicly vetted. Moderates did not vote for a real person, but for a two-dimensional phantom temporarily conjured into being by hype. …
Bush’s subpar performance will soon fade from memory, as Obama’s malignant collectivist ideology and lack of qualifications become impossible for the media to hide. One way or another, the full extent of his radical past and associations will become public knowledge. As promised by Plugs Biden, Obama will be tested, and he isn’t likely to pass.
— Van Helsing, Moonbattery
The economic global meltdown is only just starting to roll: if you think the subprime mortgage crisis was the biggie, just wait until you see the fallout from the fun and frolics of the impending mess in other areas, such as debt swaps. This is all going to get worse, a lot worse, and Obama is going to do absolutely everything to dig the holes deeper. Looking back on this period ten to twenty years from now, the Republicans crying into their beer tonight will be saying, “Thank Christ it was not us in office then.”
The lesser evil is not going to win this time and much as it may not seem that way now — or any time soon I suspect — in the long run this has a far, far better chance of leading to the rebirth of a genuine pro-liberty, pro-market political culture, something which the gradual incremental surrender of recent times made impossible (such as the “pragmatic voting” of people who want a smaller state for Republican candidates who ended up growing the regulatory state).
— Perry de Havilland at Samizdata
I mentioned how rudderless the McCain campaign was, because nothing with McCain is clear. There is no “McCainism” as there was a “Bushism” or “Reaganism.” Those men offered fairly clear visions (well, Reagan particularly so). Not McCain. Everything with him is just his personal gut, principle-free, just an instinct, an impulse, which often takes him in wildly contradictory places (but he’s always haughty about the moral superiority of his decisions).
For example, he’s pro-drilling … but not in ANWR. Um, why? He’s forever undercutting himself with unexplained hedges and caveats.
He’s pro-business … kinda. Except when he’s making his distaste for anyone working in the private sector “for profit not patriotism” so glaringly evident.
He wants to lower taxes. Sorta. Sometimes. Maybe. In election years.
We must regard Obama as suspect because of his association with the terrorist Bill Ayers … but it’s racist to mention his membership in Jeremiah Wright’s Church of Hate.
This leads to a paralysis among his campaign staff. Everyone knew, pretty much, the Idea of Reagan. They could act independently with confidence that they were advancing Reagan’s goals.
No one could do that with McCain.
— Ace from Ace of Spades HQ
The problem for us is … basic — the Dems control the language on such issues (“count every vote”, etc.), and they’re much better at demonizing. Why did McCain talk about Ayers but not even mention Wright? Because he was terrified someone would point a finger and cry “Racist!” And in four years’ time the Democrats’ media-cultural-organizational advantage on such subjects will likely be even greater. The salient feature of Ron Jones’ brief appearance on TV yesterday is not that Mr. Jones voted “a couple of times” in Philadelphia nor even that he was entirely comfortable about admitting as much on TV, but that CNN’s Brian Todd beamed indulgently and said, “I think that’s against the law but it’s okay.” That’s the way large numbers of the American people feel about ACORN, the Undocumented Auntie, foreign donations, and much else: it may be against the law but it’s okay.
So I think our energies would be better focused on examining where we went wrong than in objecting to where the other guys went right. We need to rediscover a coherent conservatism and find someone who can pitch it to sufficient numbers of people. We didn’t have either in this campaign.
— Mark Steyn at The Corner