This post will probably sound like a whole lot of weeping over spilled milk, but now that the election is over - I am free to say several things that have been eating at me for some time now.
There is no denying it - on a national level we Republicans got our butts handed to us last night. As sad as that makes me, I have to say that we deserved it and will continue to deserve it until we get some true leadership in our party. The main factors in our defeat (as I see it) were as follows:
First and foremost - we were ill-served by John McCain as our party's nominee for president. Last night he claimed sole responsibility for the loss of this election and he was dead right for once. Over the past 8 years he has consistently fought against the party and the wishes of his constituents on key issues: immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominees, the marriage amendment, etc. He may have made a few conservative votes over the past several years, but his liberal forays during the same time period (McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, the Gang of 14, fighting the Bush tax-cuts, and so on) pretty much shredded his credentials as a conservative for many of us and alienated the Republican base. News flash to future Republican candidates - If the base isn't excited about your candidacy you don't have a snowball's chance in Phoenix of getting to the White House. (How McCain became the party's nominee is a whole other topic for a different time)
Republicans in Congress
Second - The majority of the Republicans that have served in Congress for the last 8 years have sold us down the river. Government spending and growth surpassed all kinds of records on their watch. We have new entitlement programs, a new government agency, and a further intrusion on state's rights thanks to these bozos. Huge violations of our rights have not only been allowed, they've been legislated into law: No Child Left Behind, McCain Feingold, Sarbanes-Oxley, the Patriot Act, TSA in the Airports, etc. And let's not forget earmarks. Not only are these little spending appropriations unconstitutional, they are the gateway to all kinds of corruption. And we have reaped what we have sown. Republicans have been taking earmarks like flapjacks on a Sunday morning, and we have the indictments and convictions to prove it. This has cost us big, because Republicans (well, Conservatives anyway) are deeply offended by lawbreaking and ethics violations. Unlike Democrats we throw the bums out and good riddance.President George W. Bush
Third - President Bush. While I appreciate many of the things he has done to keep us safe over the past 8 years, the man has shown no spine when it comes to Congress. He as vetoed only a small handful of bills, even when he has publicly disagreed with them. When he signed McCain-Feingold into law he said, in essence: "This is probably an unconstitutional piece of legislation, but I am going to sign it anyway and let the courts sort it out." What part of "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States" didn't he get?
The War on Terror has been another issue. I agree that it is better to fight them there than fight them here, but he should have had a better plan to get in and exhibited more agility in responding to the political and tactical realities once we were there. Bluntly speaking, he should have hit those fundamentalist nuts with overwhelming force and pursued their extinction, not surrender.
Fourth - The mainstream media was in President-Elect Obama's hip pocket from the word "Go". This isn't a surprise, it is a fact we have known for a long time. Nonetheless, it has its effect, and it needs to be acknowledged. They have long ceased to be a credible source for news and information and are, instead, the "unofficial" organ of every liberal group and view in this broad country. Perhaps a loss of more subscribers will help them recognize their bias for what it is, but I'm not holding my breath. At least we will have the entertainment of contrasting their fawning reports on our new president with the snide remarks and vicious accusations leveled at our last president.
Abandoning Constitutional Principles
Last, but not least, the Republicans have abandoned the proven Constitutional principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility. Constitutionalism is the true essence of Conservatism and, while it is always the most difficult road to follow, it is ultimately the most successful. The Republicans have left this road for the easier road of expediency. We have not articulated the value of conservatism in word or deed, and this is the crux of my whole argument about this election. Those results and the pickle our country is now in, are directly attributable to a falling away from conservatism. Every time conservatism/constitutionalism is given an honest try it works and wins. We have lost because we left it behind. The Republicans have pursued liberal policies for the past 8 years and have created a mess for the country. An uninformed, sound-bite driven electorate responded to the message of "Change" and so now we will get more of the "Same". We are now exposed to liberalism's full force, and there aren't enough conservative Republicans left in the national government to do anything about it. Only when things fall apart and liberalism is exposed for the farce it is will we get the "Change" we really need - a return to conservatism. I hope it won't be too late.
Man I could sure use a shot of vintage Reagan right about now.