Last night’s election, while disappointing was not the disaster many thought it would be. Democrats are far short of the “super majority,” and didn’t pick up as many in the House as predicted by some. I attribute this to the fact that, although people want change, they don’t want revolution. They are mostly satisfied with their lives, but want some stuff fixed.
McCain lost and he lost by about what pundits predicted. The interesting thing was that it was over before Florida, Indiana, and North Carolina were decided.
So where should the Republican Party go from here?
Many have said that Sarah Palin has the inside track for 2012. Of course many thought Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in. I like Gov. Palin and believe she would be no worse a candidate than Barack Obama. But four years is a long way off.
President-elect Obama seems to have won by appealing to African-Americans, young people, and Hispanics. It’s also clear that tax cuts as a campaign strategy works about as well as abortion (but note that anti-gay marriage proposals passed in FL and CA; reminds me of two years ago, when the marriage amendment and an opinion question concerning restoring the death penalty passed in a year when Republicans were defeated nationwide).
If Republicans want to win elections, we have to figure out how to appeal to the groups that went big for Obama. We either have to come up with new ideas as Paul Ryan (although like Nick, I am troubled of his support for the bailout) or we have to sell the old ideas better.
I think part of McCain’s failure was not selling the ideas better. He spent too much energy attacking Obama for things that didn’t seem to matter to the electorate. One could argue the reasons why the people didn’t care, but that’s not the purpose of this post.
But, better than coming up with new ideas, I think Republicans have to prove that they are willing to follow those ideas themselves.
The Republican Party has traditionally been the party of small government. The past 8 years were anything but. If we decide we want to continue to be the party of small government, we have to mean it.
I’m not sure that’s what the American people want. They seem to be satisfied with government being involved in areas that Republicans traditionally haven’t been comfortable with. Health care is one area.
Much wailing and gnashing of teeth will follow in the coming days and in fact, has already started. The death of conservatism has already been proclaimed.
We shall see.