November 7, 2012
READER STEPHEN JOSEPH WRITES: “Front page of today’s Sun mocking Mormon religious garments. How many people just couldn’t / didn’t vote for the Mormon, but aren’t saying?” I don’t know. It was close enough that it wouldn’t have taken many.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
Oh I’m the type who has been on the receiving end of quite a lot of disdain from GOP conservatives, tea party types, and faux libertarian neoconservatives. I voted for Gary Johnson. How could have I? And why did Romney lose? While I don’t discount the possibility of a permanent and large dependency class in blue states (and I was rooting for Romney emotionally), I think last night’s election may have as much been because of problems within the GOP as it might have been about the communist heart of urban America.
I offer the “Ron Paul” perspective here, not out of a nasty I-told-you-so spite, at all, but because now is the time to consider all the things that might have to change on the right to save America from socialism or disintegration. So here’s why Romney was intolerable for me to the point where I was willing to risk seeing Obama reflected and voted for someone else:
1) Wars – face facts, the right blogosphere has been inundated with anti-Muslim fear mongering. I know that sounds juvenile to say, it is, but the country is sick of war, still, after Bush, and Romney was literally almost campaigning on invading Syria and/or Iran. Okay, he wasn’t, but to the public it sure seemed like it. At least, it seemed like Romney was not averse to fomenting big Bush-style conflicts. Point: tea party libertarian GOP types still lust for global military intervention. They may have a point, but the public is sick of war and voted that way (when Obama’s wars remain one area where he is actually weak). GOP voters have to realize this or the GOP will continue to lose.
2) Crony Capitalism – for all of Obama’s socialist nastiness, Romney was a preeminent scion of the status quo. It wasn’t ONLY Fannie and Freddie that caused the recent meltdown, nor Obama’s regime uncertainty causing depression. I love free market capitalism, and Wall Street ain’t it. The GOP has to acknowledge the corruption there if it’s going to be credible as a free market party. And for those familiar with Austrian economics: remember the central role the Fed has played. All in all Romney may have cut taxes or talked about a balanced budget, but he would have done little and his advisors would have been the same bought and paid for by Wall Street cronies that worked with Bush. They are who got us in the economic mess, no through free market principles but through financial manipulation via the Fed, and yes, ‘they’ are cronies that meld government and finance. Whether accurate or not, the public voted against Mr. Wall Street – who really could have done little to save us from the coming dollar bubble anyway.
3) Social issues – this is the biggest weak spot for the GOP. I am somewhat socially conservative myself, and so the whole issue saddens me. However, while social conservatism has proximate and temporary popularity (sometimes), it has no staying power and is hopelessly polarizing. In other words, just let gay people marry. Half of new born children born out of wedlock and in the welfare state public school leviathan is infinitely more damaging to our social/moral fabric than a few funny looking families. To me, that’s all there is to it. People might be against gay marriage on average, but when these issues are all the GOP has going for it this is what happens: voters buckle under pressures of being called hateful (and don’t have the economic literacy to vote on economic issues), moreover the GOP becomes increasing recognized as the party of hate. It’s frustrating, but an effective strategy against a party that must retrench against real changes to cultural mores. Just let it go GOP. Focus on devolving power to the states and win the social issues there.
So there you have it. Big weaknesses of Romney that probably dissuaded voters. The thing is, the antidotes are free markets, federalism, and non-interventionist policy. These are all powerfully American policies, and the GOP could theoretically become the champion of them. In fact these three principles could be their whole platform. I know you and most readers would disagree, but I’m here to offer my perspective for enlightenment’s sake. If the right blogosphere can acknowledge that the ‘Ron Paul’ approach is basically something they need to seriously look at (without sensationalist attacks) then maybe they can start helping the GOP to start winning.
Seriously, we can’t even beat the worst leftist president we’ve ever had? With all the crap he’s done? Well, not with crappy alternatives. Here’s the silver lining: when the meltdown occurs, at least the public will know whom to blame.
(Please keep me anonymous I’m in the military, and I’m a regular instapundit reader not a fly by paulista, I’m trying to help here).