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Jewish World Review
Nov. 6, 2008
/ 8 Mar-Cheshvan 5769
First, let no one tell you that this election was a failure of conservatism it was the product of failed Republican leadership. Conservatism gave way to "compassionate" big-government Republicanism, which failed big time. Too many on Capitol Hill abandoned first principles like fiscal discipline, and failed to connect with middle class economic anxiety that has been brewing for two years, not two months. When one loses one's sense of purpose, so too goes moral clarity and credibility.
Despite all this, and despite Obama's huge money and media advantage, 56 million Americans still pulled the lever for the Republican ticket. That is not nothing. It certainly is a base we can build on.
Second, we are moving into a new era that demands new leadership. You who were not lulled into complacency and stood for conservatism are going to have more influence over the GOP going forward than you've had during the Bush years. So take heart.
Third, after Inauguration Day, President Obama will have to finally start making some hard choices that no liberal has had to make. Is he really willing to trash the economy in an effort to stop global warming? Is he really willing to let terrorists reign in the Middle East? Is he really willing to go along with the casual anti-Americanism of most Europeans? If he does, his popularity will erode quickly. Conservatives, in the meantime, will be rebuilding, and refreshing their message and messengers.
Fourth, communications skills matter. Laugh all you want about Obama's soaring rhetoric (and we do), there is no doubt that we got beaten in the PR department. We must cultivate a new generation of leaders who are both proud of their conservative beliefs and comfortable articulating them with vision, clarify and optimism.
Fifth, too many Americans younger people especially don't understand conservatism. Obama advertised everything under the sun (health care, tax cuts, expanded government services, compassionate judges, peace in our time). Those who've never learned the basics of American history or conservative philosophy have a hard time grasping how anyone could oppose this bill of goods. Part of the answer is taking back our schools and universities.
We also need to stop relying on ineffective slogans ("legislating from the bench," "class warfare," "socialism!") and start conveying broader principles and truths through direct, pithy language.
Let the rebuilding begin!
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