First of all, I should lay my cards on the table: I’m a moderate liberal, not a conservative. I read Red State because it seems (to this outsider, at any rate) to be populated by real grassroots conservatives who speak their minds, not ‘token conservative’ media pundits: I don’t agree with most of what you guys say, but I think it’s important to hear unfiltered voices saying it. At any rate, I’m posting here with a sincere question, not to troll, nor to attack. I appreciate this is a forum for conservatives to talk to other conservatives about the way forward for the party, not a general debating arena, and therefore that it might not be appropriate for me to be posting – but I don’t know where else I’d get a genuine set of responses. So if this is an unwelcome intrusion, please accept my apologies as I retire from the scene.
If anyone is still willing to respond, I’m here with a question – well, a couple of questions, but they boil down to the same thing. Essentially, I’d like to ask where you see the GOP going after the election – depending on who wins. Right now, of course, the election is close - I agree with most of what I’ve read here that the polls seem overly-generous to Obama; I’ve even read something that lists the Dems as favourites to take over the House, which seems absolutely ludicrous to me. So we could be waking up November 7th either to President Romney, or to Obama’s second term. Now, how do you think the GOP should go forward in either situation? And, if it’s not too hypothetical a question, how would you explain either result?
Let me give you an example what I mean, by looking at my side of the aisle. If Romney wins, Democrats have to find some way to explain the loss. In that scenario, there would be two pretty obvious possible explanations Dems could turn to right away – first, the bad shape of the economy; second, Obama’s policies were just too liberal for the American electorate. Now, of course, if Obama loses, both of those are going to be factors in the result. But it would be very easy and self-consoling for Dems to say, ‘well, he inherited a bad economy from Bush, so he never really had much of a chance. His policies were basically sound, but the circumstances did him in.’ That sort of thinking – that it was the situation, not the policies, that did for Obama – would be bad for the Dems in the long run, especially if the main reason for Obama’s defeat were in fact unpopular policies. The party might then be tempted to stick to Obama-style policies, waiting for a better chance next time – which would keep them (in this scenario) too far to the left of mainstream to win.
So the scenario for the defeated party is, I think, doubly interesting, because the way the party explains the defeat to itself is going to shape the way it reacts over the next four years – and thus its chances in 2016.
Anyway, with that in mind, what do Red Staters think about the different possible scenarios for the GOP? If Romney loses, why do you think that would be – mainstream media bias, poor campaign, apparently-stiff candidate, too conservative for mainstream, too moderate to get the base out, or something else? And how would you like to see your party respond? (e.g. who would you like to see as nominee in 2016, early days though it is.)
On the other hand, if Romney wins, what do you think the factor pushing him over the top is likely to be? Good VP selection, American mainstream being fundamentally more conservative, or the weaknesses of Obama and the economy? Do you think Romney will enact the sort of policies grassroots conservatives want to see, or do you see him more as Grover Norquist’s ‘Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen,’ someone you’ll want to do no more than rubber-stamp a Republican Congress’s proposals?
Obviously, a lot would depend on the margin of victory in either case, and all this is speculation, but I’d be interested to know how grass-roots conservatives see the next four years playing out for their party tactics in the result of either victory or defeat.
Thanks for your thoughts!