Conservatism as a second language
A superb post-mortem on our national suicide by Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator:
And so, another moderate fails.
Governor Romney is a good person, a great business leader.
But, alas, he is also a moderate Republican.
As were Herbert Hoover, Alf Landon, Wendell Willkie, Thomas E. Dewey, Gerald R. Ford, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and John McCain. Making Mitt Romney a historical asterisk as the tenth moderate GOP nominee (Dewey was nominated twice) to lose the White House.
The exceptions to the rule are Dwight Eisenhower, who won not because he was a moderate but because he was the general-hero of World War II. Richard Nixon campaigned as the moderate he was in 1960 and lost. By 1968 he had won the nomination of a party that had shifted back to its conservative roots and he campaigned accordingly -- as he did in 1972. He won narrowly the second time, by a landslide the third. George H.W. Bush ran as the heir to Reagan in 1988 and won. Governing as a moderate he lost -- and lost badly in his 1992 re-election effort. George W. Bush ran as a "compassionate conservative" -- which is to say a moderate -- in 2000 and 2004 and squeaked by the first time thanks to the Supreme Court, winning the second time by a bare 100,000 votes in Ohio.
On Tuesday night, it comes clear, as this is written using the latest Fox News figures, Mitt Romney lost to President Obama by 2,819,339 votes.
And the news ekes out that Moderate Nominee Number 10 Romney received some 3 million Republican votes less than Moderate Nominee Number 9 -- John McCain in 2008.
Which is to say, 3 million base GOP voters simply refused to vote for Romney. Doing the available math, that means had those 3 million Republicans voted for Romney he would have, as this is written, a margin of victory in the national popular vote of 180,661. Depending on the state spread, potentially an Electoral College victory as well.
Does the message get through here?
Well, for some in the GOP -- no.
Let's review the fundamental principles again. One cannot plunge the country into astronomical debt without there being a financial come-to-Jesus reckoning. One cannot tempt aggression with weakness. One cannot tax one's way to prosperity. One cannot build a behemoth federal government and expect the country to prosper. One cannot, as Mark Levin puts it, not understand the "interconnection of liberty, free markets, religion, tradition and authority" -- and not pay a price for that lack of understanding.
Were these conservative principles true in 1980? Yes. They were also true in 1780 and 1880 and they will be true in 2080. They are to the world of politics and government what Newton's law of gravity is to the physical world. And to the extent that they are ignored, one is -- politically speaking -- jumping off the Empire State Building without a parachute.
Has the country changed since 1980? I would hope so. Change in human life is unstoppable. But as Reagan himself -- a staunch advocate of change -- smartly said:
"History comes and goes, but principles endure…" [...]