What Is To Be Done?

The narrative game has begun. One of the major memes we can expect to hear now that the GOP lost the presidential race is that “extremism” is to blame. Many of us know that it was absurd to label Mitt Romney “extreme” on anything. Even those on the other side willing to concede this point will say something like “the GOP is being held hostage by the extreme right” and “the Tea Party is to blame for the GOP defeat.” This is all, of course, complete nonsense, but many Republicans will buy it.

I honestly don’t know if it is possible to isolate and eliminate the factors that are ultimately responsible for Barack Obama’s reelection and Mitt Romney’s crushing defeat last night. What I do know is this: in 2004, President Bush was said to have won primarily because of a surge of evangelical voters who stormed the polls to defeat gay marriage initiatives in key swing states. Last night, voters approved gay marriage in three states and defeated two GOP Senate candidates because of remarks they made to the media about rape and abortion. Neither “extremism” in general or the “Tea Party” is to blame; commentators have been quick to point out that Akin was not a Tea Party choice and that perfectly moderate Republicans such as Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin went down in defeat last night.

I don’t know if Romney’s defeat was avoidable, but Akin’s and Mourdock’s were. It is even possible that their defeats were connected, with voters rejecting the GOP as such as opposed to Romney the man due to the statements these men made. In any case, something must be done about it. I have made clear in the past that I don’t think either of these men, from a rational, sane, just and moral point of view said anything wrong. But that is simply not what we are discussing here. A significant majority of people, I am sorry to say, are moral imbeciles,  cowards and hypocrites, and even many who are not are easily misled by the leftist media, which intentionally sets out to portray Christians and conservatives in the absolute worst possible light. They also have the right to vote, and political power at the moment depends upon, at the very least, not saying things that will raise their ire.

At the same time, if we refuse to publicly defend our values, even when they transgress against the dominant cultural paradigms of our age, then we have no justification for an independent existence. We may as well give up and join the collective of mindless sexual barbarism, moral illiteracy and limitless entitlements. The way we remain loyal to our values while remaining politically competitive is discipline.

It is impossible to deny that the Democratic Party enjoys a demographic advantage. The groups in this country who believe that the government exists to take from the productive and redistribute to the unproductive are growing steadily, while the groups in this country who believe that governments exist to secure natural rights, including private property and the fruits of one’s labor, are either shrinking or not growing at comparable rates. If demographics were the only thing that mattered, the Democrats would become the only national party with the GOP limited to the local governments of various regions.

But demography is not the only thing that matters. Historically, small groups of men have been able to dominate larger groups of men, politically, martially, economically, etc. by simply being more disciplined than their foes. Whether we’re talking about  platoons of Redcoats or Bolshevik party cells, iron discipline is what transforms a small and comparatively weak group of men into an unbeatable fighting force. It could accomplish the same for the GOP as well even as its numbers shrink.

Now that we know what the leftist line of attack is, namely to get GOP candidates to say controversial things that will stoke the anger of certain key demographics and motivate them to vote, it ought to be preventable. Anyone seeking a nomination from the Tea Party or from the GOP itself ought to be instructed in the basic fundamentals of defending traditional values to an extremely hostile press that is actively trying to destroy them. We will never be able to speak honestly about our values without alienating and offending some people; this is unavoidable. But with clarity and consistency in our speech, the reasonableness of our positions can shine through, our enemies can be put to shame, and the nervous voter who is spooked by anything that sounds too scary can remain placid.

Imperfect candidates will always be nominated and the potential for electorally-destructive gaffes will always be present. Not everyone can be smooth, affable, and articulate. I understand this. But they can at least be informed and prepared, knowing full well that every media appearance they make is a venture into hostile territory and that they ought to be prepared for attacks both direct and subtle. Preparation in this regard ought to be fairly easy to accomplish, taking into account all of the variables in the local races. Perhaps it is not so much what ought to be said, but what ought not be said, that should be drilled into the heads of GOP candidates. I leave the details for others to work out.

But if the level of party discipline does not increase in proportion to the shrinkage of the demographic base, then GOP will truly be finished. Mob rule and the desire for free stuff will completely overwhelm our constitutional republic. They won significant victories last night.

More to explorer


  1. I have lived through worse electoral disasters than this: 1964, 1974, 1976 and 1992. The saving grace after each such defeat is that it tends to bring new faces and ideas to the fore and sharpens the party for future victories. That, and the Democrats always overreach, as they will this time. The party actually is in better shape at the state level across the nation than at any time during my life. Quite a bit of potential there.

    A good post Bonchamps and I will be coming up with some other practical suggestions for the way out of the political wilderness tomorrow.

  2. Leadership. The country and the conservative cause is in sore need of a strong leader. Back in the Vietnam era while I was a candidate in Officer Candidate School, I’ll never forget the description of what a true leader is; “he can tell you he’s going to take you to hell and back and you look forward to the trip!” Now theologically we as Catholics, have an issue with the details of that, but here is a point to be made by the statement. In my lifetime only one President comes to mind who fills that bill.

    The demographics of the country are rapidly changing. I have never been comfortable with the Republican strident stand on immigration. I’m not advocating amnesty, but we do need to confront reality. There needs to be a documented guest worker program to start with. In a few years, Texas may well be a purple state.

  3. . There needs to be a documented guest worker program to start with. :

    Rubbish. Either allow people to settle or send them home. You import indentured servants you are asking for trouble.

  4. You know, I will be quite frank about this: I am sick to death of the implications behind criticisms of the GOP’s immigration positions.

    Hispanics who are here legally ought to be in favor of upholding the nation’s immigration laws. If their position is essentially that we ought to not enforce the laws or create new laws that do nothing to address the problems associated with mass immigration, we cannot possibly endorse it. It is criminal and immoral to do so, in fact.

    We are under no obligation to endorse open borders, lax enforcement, and the cultural disintegration of our country. We have other options besides appeasing La Raza and MEChA, you know.

  5. This is the kind of stuff, Bonchamps, that you’re really good at analyzing and articulating. I may not agree completely with everything in your post, but you make good sense and your facts seem correct. And since I am a nuclear engineer and not a political scientist, I will defer to your wisdom in such matters.

  6. So what is the answer to selling the Conservative position to blacks and latino’s? Enlighten me. How do we get there? Or perhaps you believe it doesn’t matter?

  7. I don’t know how we get there. I know what we don’t do to get wherever “there” is, though.

    Ironically, getting tougher on border issues could swing some of the black vote our way. Who do you think takes all of their jobs? Our angle could be, “vote for us – you won’t get as much welfare, but you’ll definitely have greater job opportunities as we send your main competitors packing.”

    It’s one option, anyway. But I certainly will not acquiesce to the notion that we sacrifice our cultural and territorial integrity for the sake of voters in this country who believe that the laws are meaningless and will punish the party that tries to enforce them. If that’s what this country has come to, then no election will change anything.

  8. I live in Florida. I quite frankly resent the accomodations to Hispanics with language. You live here, learn the language. Music in Spanish at Mass or diocesan functions drives me nuts. Our parish as a ministry supports the mission that works with the field workers who pick the vegetables and the fruit. Americans will not do the work. They are illegal, but without them the vegetable and fruit industries are not viable. They wouldn’t be able to compete with imports from Mexico and South America. That’s what I mean by a guest worker program. Know who they are and create a record.

    As to the rest of the latino community, we best recognize that their numbers are growing legally. They are becoming an ever growing percentage of the population. They vote. They have issues that need to be respected. They are by and large Catholic and family oriented. They are conservative and should be voting with us, but they are not.

  9. Family oriented voters are concerned about having enough for living expenses whether or not the funds are earnings. It seems that this concern trumps all others. From Instapundit:

    ‘ “The first day of the ‘next 4 years’ is starting in a very auspicious fashion. First, the market crashes. Then, a major blue chip company, Boeing, just announced it would cut 30% of management jobs from 2010 levels. And finally, the US Treasury just added $24 billion in debt, or enough to fund Greece for over one year, sending the total debt load (the US is now at 103% debt/GDP) ever closer to the debt ceiling breaching $16.4 trillion.”

    Posted at 10:50 pm by Glenn Reynolds

    I QUESTION THE TIMING: A reader who works at Yale emails:

    I found it interesting that this email came out today from Yale benefits:

    Dear Colleagues:

    We would like to make you aware of a significant federally mandated change which will impact Yale’s healthcare flexible spending account benefit. Effective January 1, 2013, as a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the annual contribution limit will be capped at $2,500. Currently, the maximum amount of pre-tax dollars you can set aside in a healthcare flexible spending account is $12,000.

    As a participant who contributed $2,500 or more in 2012, we encourage you to keep this in mind as you begin to plan for your 2013 out-of-pocket medical, dental and vision expenses. You will soon have an opportunity to re-enroll in the flexible spending account benefit plan during Annual Benefits Enrollment (December 3-17). As a reminder, you have until March 15, 2013 to incur expenses against your 2012 contributions, and until April 30, 2013 to submit claims those for reimbursement. We hope that this grace period is helpful for maximizing your flexible spending benefit for 2012.

    If you have any further questions, please contact an Employee Services representative.

    What interesting timing! I did know about this, as a former CPA/tax accountant, but how many did?
    Today my husband came home and told me that his boss informed him today that a layoff is planned. Small aerospace/manufacturing plant.
    We are worried. We were worried before the election that if the direction didn’t change, we’d face an ugly economic future. It may already becoming true for our family.

    I think a lot of stuff will be coming out over the next few weeks and months that was carefully kept off the radar before Election Day. ‘

  10. To answer Jerry’s question I think the state Republican parties are a big part of the problem. More than a few seem indolent or dysfunctional (Bob Michel syndrome). They are often exclusionary in orientation. The VA Repubs spend most of their time fighting with the :”non approved” conservative types. Their get out the vote effort in VA this election was pathetic as far as I could tell. I asked them a couple of times since they didn’t want Tea Party types then what voters were they seeking to make up the difference? Never got an answer. I fear the only remedy is to get some disaffected Dem operatives to run the effort. At least they know what they are doing. If the state and local party is doing nothing on outreach a Presidential candidate showing an ad is not very effective. You can’t show up once every four years and expect a warm welcome.

    Obama got his toughest media questions from the Hispanic media over Fast and Furious. Good grief what a missed opportunity for Romney and Ryan. Here the Admin that so loves Hispanics is covering up the murder of many many Mexicans by ATF provided weapons. Except for the first debate I don’t think Romney made much attempt to explain how his policies would be better for voters including Hispanics than the Democrats policies. Most of his ads were just awful. In a 2 party system you always need to remember voters have a choice.

    Bush 43 got plenty of Hispanic support. He spoke some bad Spanish but the Bushes had a Hispanic wife or two in the clan I believe, That kind of acceptance speaks volumes. The Dems co-opt community leaders to vouch for them. They set up media networks to promote the Dem party indirectly. They also try to make association with the Repubs a form of betrayal. That way they neutralize a Hispanic Repub. Did you see any outcry from Hispanics when Bush43’s AG Gonzalez got in trouble?

    Repubs also don’t call enough attention to Dem’s hostility to religion (except Sharia Islam).

  11. PM my thoughts and prayers are with you. I’m very sorry for you and many others. This is purely a national self inflicted wound which makes it doubly frustrating. The same post election angst is occurring in Argentina and France who also have voted foolishly.

  12. “They are by and large Catholic and family oriented.”

    this means nothing, it’s like saying that well-to-do suburban Democratic family is “conservative.” Conservatives said the same things about blacks during the Bush years, they’re more religious/socially conservative, we can get them to break. it’s not really that simple.

    the GOP will not outbid the Dems on immigration. That doesn’t mean we have to outright antagonize them/that no change is necessary, but we also don’t have to embrace a position that will earn us nothing with Hispanics and lose white working-class votes in the process

  13. I think you insult the citizens of this country in your article. Mob rule? Free stuff ? How about the tens of thousands injured in the wars started by presedent bush ? Are those people just wanting free stuff from the gov.? Could it be the mothers fathers sisters brothers of the fallen who just voted the republicans ‘ s out? How about majority rule, as it should be. The country is way , way better off now than 4 years ago. Employment up, home prices up, stock market up, inovative companies, false war in Iraq over, bin laden dead. extremism not to blame for losses ha ? What planet are you on? You might as well say horendous acts against women in Afghanistan are not extreme . And I wouldn’t call a few hundred dollars a month in food stamps, which is literally just barely enogh to eat now and emergency access to a telephone endless entitlment .come on. I thought Christians were supposed to feed the hungry . Lol shrinkage of the base ha ha . Your words betray your fear . Of course its possible to figure out why republicans lost, its all over the news god your in your own little world . Time to grow up , Jesus thought outside his box , maybe you could as well . Sorry excuse for an article bud .

  14. With respect, there are many palatable ways to turn the immigration problem on its head, to turn it from a losing to a winning issue for Republicans. However, we can’t respond to every proposal as though what is good for aliens is bad for America. Whether you accept it or not, our future is as tied to theirs as it has ever been.

    For example: the technology non-immigrant visa is, for the most part, the H1B. It is on this visa that most of the IT workers enter the US to underbid US jobs.

    It can get complicated but, at its core, the process entails a company filing a petition for a worker and demonstrating that 1) they have tried to fill the post and couldn’t, 2) they have work for them to do, 3) the company can pay the prevailing wage, and 4) bringing in a worker won’t violate union rules. Sounds reasonable.

    The problem is that the system was established for “brick and mortar” enterprises in the old economy. The underlying assumption is that there is A job at A location, like designing medical equipment at a plant. IT doesn’t work that way and, so, the H1B system has to be twisted to fit this important sector of the economy.

    There is rampant fraud but most is subtle and disastrous for the US economy. A common scheme is for an Indian company to send a few representatives to the US to set up an US corporation. They, in turn, petition for highly skilled computer professionals from their own corporation. They then establish a servicing contract with the foreign corporation to show cash flow. The petitioned-for aliens are then installed at large US corporations to look for work that can be outsourced to the Indian company.

    On paper, everything looks legit… US corporation? Check. Cash flow? Check. Contract requiring a worker? Check. Only it isn’t legit. The worker isn’t a $62,000/year Programmer Analyst, they are a $120,000/year manager, finding work that can be outsourced.

    So, accept for a moment that I am being truthful… That little tale should make your blood boil. It does mine and that it plays out tens of thousands of times a year concerns me greatly.

    We can get mad and insist on wiping out the program altogether but that argument, right or wrong, will never garner more than fringe support. We can impotently rage against the Indians but that is mean and stupid. We can throw up our hands – as Congress does but that just gives legislative consent to the slight of hand.

    The cleverest remedy I’ve heard is also the simplest: eliminate the petition provision so that workers can work wherever they want, for whomever they want and let the market control their wages. I favor this proposal for two reasons: any rule of law that encourages deceit is a bad rule and greed is a sound foundation for market systems.

    Whatever the IT workwr’s loyalty, they know what they can get in the open market. The Indian corporations would have to compensate sufficiently to keep that worker working for them. US corporations, unable to get discounted labor from overseas would have to at least conside hiring US workers and paying them fairly and training in-house. Finally, you wipe out the economic insentive for the dummy corporations that make the fraud work.

    There are lots of changes to immigration systems that yield high economic dividends for the US economy and advance the interests of legitimate immigrants. We won’t reach them though if we on the Right react negatively to immigrants generally and immigration proposals as though they are inherently bad because they benefit immigrants.

  15. Ben,

    I approved your pathetic comment just to pick it apart for fun. I wish I didn’t have so much time on my hands.

    “I think you insult the citizens of this country in your article. Mob rule? Free stuff ?”

    Yes, you know, the stuff Obama pays for from his “stash”, i.e. our tax dollars, things like free birth control for Sandra Fluke. Yes, mob rule, the people who threatened to riot and murder if Romney was elected. I know the media outlets you likely frequent don’t bring such things to your attention. Time to leave the MSM bubble perhaps. Google is your friend.

    “How about the tens of thousands injured in the wars started by presedent bush ? Are those people just wanting free stuff from the gov.?”

    Who said anything about that? Let me clue you in: as anyone who frequents TAC will tell you, I am opposed to Bush’s wars and think all troops should be brought home immediately. Sorry to burst your bubble on that one. And veterans are entitled to benefits, because national defense and related matters fall under the Constitutionally legitimate duties of the federal government. I know its hard for you to imagine a consistent political philosophy, but it does exist, I do espouse it, and you should look before you leap and make assumptions about others.

    “Could it be the mothers fathers sisters brothers of the fallen who just voted the republicans ‘ s out?”

    The military usually goes Republican. I know some soldiers. They’re all either GOP supporters or 3rd party. And they all despise Obama.

    “How about majority rule, as it should be.”

    Who said anything against it?

    “The country is way , way better off now than 4 years ago.”

    Excuse me while I finish LMAO.

    “Employment up,”

    Real unemployment is higher than it has been since FDR’s administration – 17% and rising.

    “home prices up,”

    They had nowhere to go but up, and it has nothing to do with Obummer’s policies. They would have gone up under McCain too.

    “stock market up,”

    The stock market tanked as soon as Obama’s reelection was called. So did the dollar, because the rest of the world knows that Obama will print trillions more dollars, creating imaginary money to pay for political fantasies.

    “inovative companies,”

    ::laughs hysterically::

    “false war in Iraq over,”

    Bush began the withdrawal process, and Obama is murdering innocent children with drones in Pakistan. Your president is as much a warmonger as W.

    “bin laden dead.”

    Well, I’m a crazy conspiracy theorist. I think he died in 2002 or sometime shortly thereafter, having already been on kidney dialysis well before that, and that whomever they bagged wasn’t bin Laden. We’ll never know, since Seal Team 6 was, on an entirely unrelated note, placed on a defective, outdated helicopter that blew up and killed them all.

    “extremism not to blame for losses ha ? What planet are you on?”

    No, poor discipline is to blame. Discipline is required to defeat the kind of people who mislead simple people, like yourself.

    “You might as well say horendous acts against women in Afghanistan are not extreme .”


    “And I wouldn’t call a few hundred dollars a month in food stamps, which is literally just barely enogh to eat now and emergency access to a telephone endless entitlment .”

    Its endless when it doesn’t end, when it becomes a way of life sustained by the labor of others.

    “come on. I thought Christians were supposed to feed the hungry .”

    Yeah. We’re supposed to do it as a free act of love, not because men with guns and badges will throw us in prison if we don’t.

    “Lol shrinkage of the base ha ha . Your words betray your fear . Of course its possible to figure out why republicans lost, its all over the news god your in your own little world . Time to grow up , Jesus thought outside his box , maybe you could as well . Sorry excuse for an article bud .”

    Well, given the level of basic grammar and command of the relevant political facts, I don’t think I’m going to take your criticism too poorly.

  16. “home prices up,”

    “They had nowhere to go but up, and it has nothing to do with Obummer’s policies. They would have gone up under McCain too.”

    How true. Most homes around the nation during the reign of the Southside Messiah have lost 20 to 30 percent of value. I would wager that Ben does not own a home.

  17. Seriously though, “you can’t fix stupid” and the West is becoming increasingly stupid.

    Ignorance can be addressed in individuals. It tend to think of the word in a positive way, as in “I don’t know anything about that. Could you tell me something more so that I am not as ignorant?”

    Stupid strikes me as willful: as iin “I voted for Obama because Romney didn’t have an economic plan.” You see, in this statement, I betray that 1) having an economic plan is not really a requirement or I’d know that Obama didn’t present one and 2) I know that having an economic plan would be a positive thing for a candidatet but I choose to not investigate the matter.

    People are ignorant until they are informed but you can’t inform the stupid.

    The GOP can’t reach the stupid and we shouldn’t try, lest we be dragged down to their inarticulate, carping fom the sidelines of life existence. Don’s post above, forgive me for paraphrasing, calls for the GOP to inform, to correct ignorance. We simply can’t fix the Ben’s of the world; only He who let the blind man see can.

  18. The analysis needs to go further. The very conversation itself here is using Liberal Democrat terms and concepts. Class designations are the tools of the left and the GOP cannot win any debate using concepts and descriptions created by the enemy.

    Republicans need to create a brand new paradigm from the ground up, standing on the principle of servant leadership, using the essences of Scriptural wisdom. No more collectivist terminology regarding race, sex, or any other demographic facet. That language must be continually attacked as dehumanizing and insulting to the sanctity of the individual person, from conception to natural death.

    The whole “War on Women” theme could have been wiped off the map, simply by saying “Our mothers, sisters and daughters are, like our fathers, brothers and sons, full and necessary participants in a society whose goals are civil prosperity, secure families and communities, and respect for every individual person regardless of station or circumstance. If all you believe women to be are mobile genitals, then you have that right, but we take a higher view.” Not just once, but time after time after time, from male and female spokespeople, and every variation on the theme should have been based on that principle.

    As well, compartmentalization of issue is a Leftist weapon. It must be recognized that all issues today, from business overregulation to gay marriage, are inter-connected and that by appealing to the commonality that all share – while pointing out the politically-motivated faux issues created by the left to maintain class warfare and societal division – the whole tone of the battle can be changed.

    The media will be the easiest target since they’re the least intellectually nimble of the bunch. All that’s needed are disciplined, principled and consistent answers to any given challenge on any given aspect of the paradigm, and the respondent silence will speak as loudly as any other potential reaction. Akin and Mourdock failed because they were politicians and not principled public servants. The GOP can turn those losses into huge gains by learning and applying the lessons. They must take the example of Edmund Burke, as posted today by Don, of service before office and the nobility of sacrifice of privilege for the sake of principle. This will be the greatest weapon, if in fact the Republicans can find enough principled people to wield it.

  19. Bonchamps, you overgeneralize the “Hispanic” vote as badly as the Democrats. Hispanics are the single largest demographic in Texas, yet Texas voted red as blood. Ted Cruz is a Tea Party candidate and considered “extreme” right.

    Aiken is right – dump the demographic paradigm. Clinton was right – it is the economy. The GOP did not do enough on calling out the MSM on their lies about the state of the economy. I would have taken EVERY announcement of job cuts over the last four years and put that front and center.

  20. Rozin @ 11:56: That comment was only an observation for the demographic discussion, meaning that it seems that living expenses are a basic concern for voters across the differing constituencies, not a personal statement about my preferences. The D campaign used the strength of that interest in a different way from the R campaign. Each side ‘scared’ the other as to income security, so I thought it might be something to look at by campaign planners. That for the good thought though.

  21. You know, I will be quite frank about this: I am sick to death of the implications behind criticisms of the GOP’s immigration positions.


    Bonchamps, you overgeneralize the “Hispanic” vote as badly as the Democrats. Hispanics are the single largest demographic in Texas, yet Texas voted red as blood. Ted Cruz is a Tea Party candidate and considered “extreme” right.

    The “Hispanic” vote means that section that votes on open borders and support for the same. It doesn’t include the folks who vote conservative because that’s the world-view they have, same way that I’m not part of the “women’s vote”– abortion, birth control and single parenthood support– because I am a conservative.
    That is what the terms mean when the Dems use them, and if we talk about taking that group, we’re about the same sub-section.

    The GOP deals with what people think instead of what they were born. Buying into the Dem’s “born that way” mindset is dangerous, and seems to be getting more popular. (followed by those buying in being unable to figure out why they’re not as good at it as the guys they’re copying)

  22. There was nothing wrong with Romney. We lost because of turnout – period. The democrats have a great ground game going now. The republicans are still relying on the appeal of common sense. It does not work this way. A community organizer can beat a republican time and time again.

    How do we rebound? We need to get organized and galvanized around a single carefully selected leader. We need to stop thinking of our individual causes and start thinking about whether this country will exist for our children and grandchildren.

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