Of Course We Lost
I'm kind of amazed that any conservative is surprised at our defeat. All of you were here for the last couple of years, right?
All of you were here during the primaries, weren't you? The primaries where the Democrats had to agonizingly decide who among their socialist monarchs was most liberal and most likely to inspire great crowds and celebration, while the Republicans chose which lifeless, ancient talking head would attempt to cut a weaselly "moderate" line? Doesn't anybody else remember reading up on every Republican we were putting up this year with increasing horror?
All of you were here when Barack Obama proved his unbelievable charisma by defeating Hillary Goddamn Clinton in the Democrat primaries, right? Surely I wasn't the only one who realized that nobody defeats a Clinton among Democrats by accident or mistake. We condescended to Obama at our peril because he was a political newcomer and relatively young. We failed to heed the ridiculously obvious warning: he had bested the Clintons in the Democrat political machine. He was the new champ.
All of you were here when we picked John McCain for our candidate, weren't you? Did you really think that most actual conservative voters would forgive Mr. McCain for his repeated backstabbing of his own party? Shit, we were all screaming our fool heads off at him for the "amnesty" debacle half a year before the primaries started. Conservatives really hate McCain, and a watery middle-ground candidate can never defeat a champ. If anything has proven that the current primary system is broken, this cycle has.
All of you were here through agonizing months of flip-flopping and waffling and insufferable liberalism on the part of the conservative candidate, weren't you? McCain is a great man and a war hero, and if e'er we meet I shall buy him a drink. But he never did stick to his guns on anything besides the War on Terror, and as Mark Steyn and others have pointed out the war hasn't been a big issue since the surge worked so phenomenally. It was absolutely painful listening to McCain attempt to approximate what a conservative might sound like (only softer) on every domestic issue imaginable. Are all of you honestly going to tell me that you were blind enough to not know how that looked next to the calm, smooth Obama, presiding with absolute confidence and vision over his people?
And all of you were here through the most lackluster political campaign of my admittedly short lifetime, right? It was absolutely pathetic, the way Sean Hannity had to keep harping on about William Ayers as if it were a good argument, because the McCain campgain was doing nothing to provide us with better ones. Okay, so Obama has very little experience and he is/was associated with some shady people. Noted. Now
WHY IN THE FLAMING HELL SHOULD I VOTE FOR MCCAIN!?
Nobody got around to answering that particular question, least of all McCain himself. If a candidate's campaign can't actually offer me a good reason to vote for him, then why should I? Attack ads are extremely potent weapons; useful tools in a politician's repetoire. But they aren't enough alone.
Despite all of Obama's charisma and confidence, he was an abysmally weak candidate. He had scant experience, a shady background and pretty much a stock standard liberal platform. Numbers-and-facts wise this campaign was giftwrapped for us. But, as many pundits painfully relearned this cycle, elections are not about numbers and facts. They're about confidence and ideals. We aren't picking some utilitarian, mathematical position like a federal reserve chair. We're appointing a figurehead to make rousing speeches, rally us together against common enemies and threats, and showcase American ideals to ourselves and to the rest of the world. The Republicans had a chance to choose among them their most inspiring leader, to showcase conservative ideals as America's ideals. We hedged our bets and nominated the wateriest, weakest-kneed crowd pleaser we could find.
When entering a contest of ideals, nominate a strong and inspiring idealist. That's the first rule. Scratch that - it's the zeroeth rule. It's the essence of the game. We might as well have nominated based on alphabetical order if that wasn't our goal. How did so many of us forget that part?
Admit to yourself that you knew we lost this election a year ago. There were little jerks, sure, little spots of hope. Palin was a big one. Joe the Plumber was a last little sparkle. But you knew. You knew as well as I did, when McCain was nominated... about two weeks after that, watching him on television. You knew we had lost. You knew there was no way that our please-everybody-mo-tron was going to knock out a champ. And the Democrats picked a champ.
See you all in four years. Hopefully we'll have found someone who can shout the conservative ideals from the rooftops with a fraction of the same inspiring courage that John McCain showed in the Hanoi Hilton, in a different arena. And let's hope that next time we don't confuse the two again.