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[Updated] 8.5 Things I Rejoice In This Post-Election Day

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 • 7:30 am

5) This isn’t the Episcopal Church.

Our country is far juster, far more interested in the rule of law, far more stable, far more popular, far less vicious, and far more conservative. It is completely within our power as conservatives—with God’s help—to transform this country’s political landscape if we so choose. It will be very hard and very long. The next two years will be appallingly painful. Every week or month, we’ll be reminded of the judgement of God—and our challenge will be not to get angry, or despairing, or inactive, but rather to humble ourselves all over again, repent, acknowledge the horrible consequences of our compromises, corruption, passivity, and loss of principle, and continue turning away from the wrong path and seeking the right one.

I have so many things to be thankful for this beautiful blue-skied day, and given that we conservatives are grieved over America’s choices yesterday, I’m going to share them, just in case it will cheer a heart or give some perspective.  Of course, StandFirm has a few reasserting Anglican readers who are secular political liberals—and I’m hoping that they’ll recognize that this article is for . . . well, conservatives.

What do I have to be thankful for?

1) God is still God. 

He is the measuring stick whereby all Justice, Truth, Love, Honor, Mercy, Beauty, and Goodness is measured.  When things have gone wrong in my personal life—when it’s lacked justice, truth, honor, mercy, beauty, or goodness—I’ve been able to cling to the fact that all of that exists in reality.  It may not be what I’m experiencing—but out there, it exists.  Truth exists, Justice exists, Beauty exists, because God is. 

We are blessed by that alone.  But beyond that, He that represents—that is made up of—Justice, Truth, Love, Honor, Mercy, Beauty, and Goodness chose to reveal all of that and more.  He revealed it through nature.  He revealed it in His word written—Holy Scripture.  And He revealed it most finally and completely in Jesus.  He did not leave us with a vague Platonic abstraction but with a concrete reality.  Plato knew that the Ideal existed.  But 2000 years ago, a bunch of Jews, Roman citizens, women, soldiers, lepers, and Samaritans got to see the Ideal in the flesh.

Beyond all of that—beyond the fact that God exists, and with His existence all else that is good and worthy in the created realm, beyond the fact that God self-revealed to us His reality—there is Christ’s personal call to me, and His pursuit of me and His healing of so many sins, horrors, sorrows, and fears.

Hallelujah, I’m saved in every sense by Jesus Christ.

Every day is a privilege and a blessing.  He might have left me alone, but He didn’t.  Thank God. 

2) We are privileged to live in the freest country ever in history. 

A country where we can choose—if we desire it—to accomplish almost anything that we can think of.  Sure, through our own incompetence, we elect the occasional criminal, or sociopath, or buffoon.  In the case of our President-elect, we elected a man who despises the Constitution, adores and supports the killing of infants, and holds as his friends and confidants and allies people who hate America and wish to end America as best they can.

These things happen sometimes. 

But unlike Rome and its Nero, we are privileged.  We can reverse that, should we choose to.  God, for some reason, chose to put us into this time in history and this country, not in another far more repressive time or country.  It is a great privilege and blessing.  And it is a great responsibility.

There is no question that there will be painful—even dire—consequences for our decisions yesterday, and not just yesterday, but for the conservatives’ decisions over the past many years.  I’ll get to that later.

For now, imagine if you were an Iraqui citizen.  Two days ago, you could count on America.  Now—not any longer.  My heart aches for Iraq—for they are the ones who are doomed beyond imagining.

Further, there will, of course, be more dead babies.  Contrary to the unfortunate and ill-informed statements of some, abortion had decreased under the past 15 years of conservative gains.  Now, that is over.  Abortion will become easier, more convenient, less rare, and certainly more revelled in and encouraged.  As a liberal sacrament, increased abortions will mean that more babies will never see the light of day, never have the opportunity to look into the eyes of a Mother, never get to take a first step, never own a puppy, never wear a white dress to first Communion—and God will judge this country for it.

There will be other less serious consequences, but consequences none the less.  But setting those aside, we live not in Babylon.  Not in Rome.  Not in Ninevah—but in America, where in an unprecedented fashion, citizens get to work for reform and renewal, should they so choose.

It is also a country that—according to a recent survey—is conservative by a large percentage.  And this is further borne out by the victory in California, on Obama coattails, on an anti-Republican night, with a facts-on-the-ground environment [it’s always harder to overturn actions then prevent them, because people are by nature unwilling to take away something that has already been purported to be given] of Prop 8.

So how was Obama elected?  It’s simple.  The same way that revisionist Episcopal clergy enter conservative parishes.  And my bet is that if you’re a conservative Episcopalian reading this, you’ve experienced that.

Even in the Episcopal Church, almost no one wishes to claim the name “liberal” or “revisionist”.  They know those words for the negative descriptions that they are.  That’s why you hear liberal Episcopalians claiming that they are “conservative” and “orthodox”.  They know what’s attractive to people.

Throughout the election cycle, Obama had to continually run from—escape—who he was, and what he believed in.  He succeeded in doing that and here we are.  But his flight from himself, his core principles, his allies and friends . . . that’s a compliment to conservative principles.  Because . . . he knew.

3) It may be—may be—that the elected leaders of the Republican Party will come to themselves and say “I do not wish to eat the husks any longer.  I must arise . . . “

It may be—if they choose to step away slowly from the denial—that they will ask themselves “why has this happened to us” and really assess how they came to this place.  And if that happens, then many of us conservatives will be saved from the long 5-decade effort towards creating another party that will promote conservative values.

Of course, one should never underestimate our ability to run from pain, deny truth, and cover our eyes.  That’s human nature.  But there’s a chance, some chance, that the leaders of the Republican Party will reassess the bloated government, redistribution of wealth, slow creeping socialism, obliviousness to the Constitution, high debt, corruption, and so much more that they have caved in too—we’ll see.

4) God may have chosen to judge our nation in a temporary fashion—much like Ninevah—so that He could hold back on more complete devastation and judgement. 

Our response should be the response of Ninevah—repentance for our part in what has happened to the country, and a humbling of ourselves, and a turning around from our path.  If God’s judgement on our nation ends it finally, then so be it.  We certainly deserve it.  But it may be, again, that God has said “let me give you a taste” so that we may all come to ourselves, arise, and go to our Father.  God is merciful and chooses to correct slightly first, in order to prevent a far more severe correction later on.

5) This isn’t the Episcopal Church. 

Our country is far juster, far more interested in the rule of law, far more stable, far more popular, far less vicious, and far more conservative.  It is completely within our power as conservatives—with God’s help—to transform this country’s political landscape if we so choose.  It will be very hard and very long.  The next two years will be appallingly painful.  Every week or month, we’ll be reminded of the judgement of God—and our challenge will be not to get angry, or despairing, or inactive, but rather to humble ourselves all over again, repent, acknowledge the horrible consequences of our compromises, corruption, passivity, and loss of principle, and continue turning away from the wrong path and seeking the right one.

6) I don’t have to fight with my conservative friends who are members of the Republican Party anymore. 

No more hissing, clawing, or spitting arguments.  We all understand, and we all get to work together, as conservatives, on the task before us.  The nation is now more sharply divided, and grows more so every year, as the Left move farther left.  As we grow farther apart in our values, principles, and foundational worldviews, the political decisions and choices will grow more intense and horrifying for all sides.  Because a good thing for a secular political liberal is a horrible thing for a conservative.  And vice versa of course.

But at least we have comrades.  That’s a good thing.  And we know what we have to do.

7) I think we can safely say that the MSM has eliminated its credibility by its Pravdaesque overt support of its candidate. 

This is a good thing.  Every cycle that the MSM does this, it’s weakened further.  More viewers and readers leave.  More media outlets go out of business. 

All of that helps a lot.  Slowly but surely the media is being made over in this country.  I expect that to continue and escalate in the coming months, thanks in large part to the media’s actions over the past 9 months.

8) There are plenty of things we can do.

Of course, there are plenty of things we could not do, too.  We could declare complete defeat, announce that we are doomed, and lie down, refusing to move.  We could continue allowing decisions made by purported conservatives to slip by us with nary a raised voice of protest, or lifted finger of resistance.  We could continue to accept “leadership” by unprincipled non-conservative Republicans, rather than the principled conservative Republicans and other conservatives out there.  But setting those bleak possibilities aside, what can those of us who are political conservatives in the secular world do?

—We can repent, which I’ve already spoken of ealier, of our part in the outcome of this election.  And yes, conservatives had a part.

—We can ask God to please send revival to our country.  It is by His will and choice that this ever happens—but remember the verse in Chronicles: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

God can do this.  But revival begins with me and you, repenting and humbling ourselves.

—We can throw ourselves into the work that we ought to have been accomplishing over the past 8 years and weren’t.  This means finding conservative—not Republican but conservative—candidates for local and state elections.  It means bringing people up through the “feeder chain” to run for office.  It means personally carefully selecting candidates for whom to volunteer—I’ve already selected mine, Jim DeMint.  It means doing all in our power to elect conservatives to the Senate and House in two years time.  It means connecting with other conservatives and forming the think tanks and institutes that we need.  It means studying how folks like Buckley and Reagan and Goldwater worked and prayed and strategized for their own revolution—and seeing where their followers went wrong.  It means, maybe, checking out some coordinated movements that are springing up. It means taking the time to learn and educate others about conservative principles—a long, slow process, but important.  It means connecting with those of like mind locally—I’ve already sent out an email to 30 friends in my local area so that we can get together and discuss.  That is just the tip of the iceberg of what an ordinary citizen can do.  This person here has a few ideas worth noting.  In my review of blogland, there are scads of such articles of analysis and reflection, with excellent ideas.

But in general, it means getting off our duffs and smartly putting our backs into the hard work of the next years.

As I’ve said before, quite a few times over the past years, one of the things that disturbs me the most about us—conservatives—is that we feel free to complain, and gripe—all the while living in the freest country ever—but we do very little about what we are complaining about.

Friends, secular political liberals worked hard for this victory.  And they deserve it.

We worked hard for this defeat.  And we deserve it.

But we don’t have to wallow in this.  There will rarely be anything in your life that through thoughtful research, warm connections, and hard work you can affect so simply—not easily, but simply—as the political state of this country. 

Now’s our chance! 

Update: 8.5 The victory in California, on Obama coattails, on an anti-Republican night, with a facts-on-the-ground environment [it’s always harder to overturn actions then prevent them, because people are by nature unwilling to take away something that has already been purported to be given] of Prop 8.

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thanks for getting up so early.

[1] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 11-05-2008 at 07:58 AM • top

Among other things, we have to break the connection between conservatives and self-serving economic policies.  Conservative economics will enable people to make money - but the playing field has to be level - no sweetheart deals, no-bid contracts, etc.  And there must be regulation and oversight of financial markets.  Create conditions where people are encouraged to make money, but not where they have it handed to them by a special arrangement.

[2] Posted by AnglicanXn on 11-05-2008 at 08:01 AM • top

There is much we can be thankful.

Twenty years ago, I’d be as excited as those down on U St. in DC last night. I’m much more of a freewheeler (on this board I probably come off more on the liberal end by topics I choose to enter into the fray, but actually all over the map depending on topic), the only reason I did not vote DNC are the morality ones. Still, laws follow the will of hearts, so means more evangelism and deeper discipleship (the rise of the seeker friendly mega-church is actually harmful in my opinion for we’ve ended without depth), then those issues may be solved.

Obama did energize the younger vote and hopefully puts a cap on the last great evil institution that divided our nation. The elections were peaceful and were a mandate for the first time since the Reagan era. If McCain won, I’d be please for court appointments and at least pro-life being in the platform, even if he was not so grounded, but honestly, very uninspired. Obama is the more charismatic leader.

Mostly, I glad that Obama won against Hillary, for she was the one candidate I’d have extreme trouble calling my president.

[3] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 11-05-2008 at 08:01 AM • top

And although returns are not yet complete, Prop 8—banning gay marriage and overturning last spring’s state supreme court decision—seems to have carried in California.  It led all evening, and this AM is ahead by more than 300,000 votes.

[4] Posted by Dick Mitchell on 11-05-2008 at 08:10 AM • top

i think it’s pretty plain that republicans need to spend some time in the shed. the conservative message needs to regroup. it is sad that it comes at the cost of an obama presidency, whose abortion policies are disturbing. but really, republicans/conservatives don’t have too many people to blame except themselves, between the excessive policies of bush and republican congress and their inability to package a decent message.

the good news is that there is a growing number of pro-life democrats, i believe, and it’s time to make sure the pro-life message isn’t so wed to the conservative one (though i’m generally conservative myself). if it hopes to have any success in the next couple years, we really need to work on this. obama was able to do was bring serious pro-lifers to his side. that tells me the pro-life message is getting drowned by other politics. and i really believe that there are a lot more democrats sympathetic to the pro-life message than let on. if pro-life wants to have a chance, it also needs to start working even harder to make things like lifeline pregnancy care centers even more viable. couples need to start adopting more.

while we fight the air war of the legislative battles, we need to be fighting the ground war even more vigorously.

[5] Posted by micahtowery on 11-05-2008 at 08:16 AM • top

Here is my concern:  Are there still enough Buckley-Reagan conservatives LEFT in the country to ever have a chance of electing and implementing a Buckley-Reagan platform?  Especially if we are including conservative social values in this, because my “South Park” generation as a whole is not too receptive to such things and I have little reason to believe that the up and coming children are any better.

[6] Posted by AndrewA on 11-05-2008 at 08:31 AM • top

We have two years to work on finding leaders who share our values and work on getting the conservitive message out. I believe much prayer and hard work can make the 2010 mid-term election another 1994.

[7] Posted by bob+ on 11-05-2008 at 08:33 AM • top

I think we need to work together in our communities to provide alternatives to the entertainment industry—an industry that had funneled filth to us and our children and turned their profits into leftest politics.  Cut the money flow.

This could actually be a joyful thing.  Reclaim the skills of entertainment and hospitality.  Teach them to our children.  Grab back the creativity of the Christian community.  Form relationships with others, even with others of other Christian groups.  Celebrate the freedom from the easily accessible pap that stunts growth and mind.

Let’s brainstorm.

[8] Posted by Recently Roman on 11-05-2008 at 08:34 AM • top

what “excesses” micah?

[9] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 11-05-2008 at 08:35 AM • top

RE: “Are there still enough Buckley-Reagan conservatives LEFT in the country to ever have a chance of electing and implementing a Buckley-Reagan platform?”

There are a sight more than there were in the 1970s, AndrewA.  But we certainly need to build more, and I think we can.  Consider though—they built the Buckley-Reagan revolution from the ground up.  We’re much much farther ahead than that.

Myself—I agree with Rush and Newt on this issue.  We’re all still out there—waiting.

As expected, they’re already analyzing the demographics of those who voted—and I’m encouraged.



[10] Posted by Sarah on 11-05-2008 at 08:38 AM • top

@ Matt Kennedy
mostly excessive spending. americans wanted tax cuts and more government programs. they got both. i think it could probably be argued that the decision to invade iraq was not shrewdly made, but that’s really not worth debating anymore at this point. i’m with AnglicanXn that the republicans (and democrats, too) have been too comfy with big business.

@ Lutheran Lurkers
yes, i agree. the christian community has been creatively bankrupt for years. there are some bright spots on the map currently, though. some of the brightest spots, i would argue.

[11] Posted by micahtowery on 11-05-2008 at 08:39 AM • top

Bob and Lutheran Lurkers—I’m with you both!  We need to start in our local communities, I think, with both ideas.

In case any conservatives out there need some fellowship and analysis and reflection, these blogs are interesting and often insightful:


I don’t mention them at StandFirm very often—and won’t have cause to much in the future.  But they’re there, for those who are interested in further analysis and planning.

[12] Posted by Sarah on 11-05-2008 at 08:41 AM • top

Sarah,  Thanks for this.  Today I fast for our country.  I am glad that this election is over and hope that we can have a couple of years before the next gets (noticeably) started…  I pray that the new President elect doesn’t mess things up as much as Carter and that he is intelligent enough to act on the briefings that he will now get.  In January I will add to our Prayers of the People..  “For Barry, our President…”  :>)

[13] Posted by Soy City Priest on 11-05-2008 at 08:43 AM • top

Yeah, I read Red State, and I should read National Review more.

[14] Posted by AndrewA on 11-05-2008 at 08:48 AM • top

i would say that there are a lot of buckley-reagan conservative children out there. some went for obama this election, which is a debatable strategy, but i think they are out there. they are different, though, in many important ways. i think they are more expansive in their vision of who conservatism can include, and i think there is a lot of influence from folks like wendell berry, as well. they are more postmodern in their approach to community and history. look for a return to burke and tocqueville. i don’t know when, but i expect conservative dialogue to change in the future.

a few blogs/sites to keep an eye on:

[15] Posted by micahtowery on 11-05-2008 at 08:50 AM • top

Sarah, Bob and LutheranL,
This has been building for some time… since the sixties those who are now the educators of our youth have been taught in their teachers college what we are seeing from the Democratic platform…  so they are now teaching our youth, current new voters and current future voters, the liberal agenda.  The Governemnt that I was taught in the fifties and sixties (along with a requirement to understand geography) included parties working together between elections for the good of country.  That model of government is now history…  as the power party blocks the other party because it can and blocking it will help with the next election….  And the media news and entertainment is just another political announcement… I still wonder exactly where the money came from to buy 30 minutes on four networks…

[16] Posted by Soy City Priest on 11-05-2008 at 08:54 AM • top

I love big business…I don’t love government funded propped up “big state business”

I agree that spending was over the top with Bush. But I think in about 20 years we’ll look back at him with something of a trumanesque nostalgia. He made brilliant decisions to invade Afghanistan and Iraq (if poorly executed) and these will redound to our benefit for years to come…so long as Obama does not snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory

I do not think that “redefining” conservatism is possible. Of course, anyone can go about claiming to be “expanding” the definition of conservatism…but of course conservatism has content. That content does not include wealth redistribution recouched as communitarianism…nor does it include postmodern approaches to the concept of truth

[17] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 11-05-2008 at 08:57 AM • top

I just found out that my former district (VA 11th) went Democrat.  Sigh… 

Moran got reelected for my new district (VA 8).  No suprise there.

“I would say that there are a lot of buckley-reagan conservative children out there”

Conservative on some things maybe, but collectively speaking, my generation(I’m mid 20’s) was raised on Simpsons, Beavis and Butthead, South Park and gansta rap.

[18] Posted by AndrewA on 11-05-2008 at 08:58 AM • top

see, i don’t love big business as much anymore. i don’t think it’s the root of all evil, but these days i’m thinking less and less that the biggest, most efficient economy is not always the best one. because what happens is national efficiency comes at the cost of local efficiency. the local is destroyed and the community along with it that bolsters the moral fiber and individualism that is the root of conservatism. so when i say postmodern, i don’t necessarily mean postmodernism in the way that everyone assumes relativism. i mean it in the way that russel kirk (a conservative and somebody who talked about postmodernism long before derrida or other marxists got a hold of it) mean it. so in that sense, postmodern conservatism (if that word doesn’t scare people too much) is actually somewhat of a return to what modern conservatism started out as…

i agree history will probably be kinder to bush, but we are a long way from the permanent conservative majority karl rove sought to create.

[19] Posted by micahtowery on 11-05-2008 at 09:05 AM • top

To borrow from Sir Winston Churchill:
Never, never, never, never, NEVER EVER FORGET this: the tactics and dishonesty that won obama this election.  These are the same tactics that have been used in TEC and elsewhere. 

We must remember that the enemy of God is relentless and we must resist him with our lives, all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  We must stay awake and not give place to the devil.

If necessary, may we be willing and honored to pay (as millions have) with our own blood for the confession of the true Gospel and Faith in Jesus Christ.

[20] Posted by Floridian on 11-05-2008 at 09:06 AM • top

The GOP needs to kick the “maverick” to the curb now and move on.  The message was lost the minute the GOP nominated him. Face it; he was nominated because we thought a “centrist” and “maverick” would appeal to a broader audience. 

We were tricked into being “gun shy” after 8 years of liberal media ranting and the shenanigans of people like Cindy Sheehan et al.  “Bush lied…people died…blah, blah, blah”. 

Also, the way Bush has governed created a vacuum in the party with practically nobody willing to step out and defend his policies.  You had to be blind to not see it and feel it as the campaign rolled.  Palin was a brilliant choice but when it comes down to it, NOBODY votes for the Vice President.  McCain didn’t even open an election HQ in each state, but tried to set up regional HQ’s.  The result?  Practically zero advertising, zero yard signs, zero visibility.  Twice I went to GOP HQ to get a yard sign and they didn’t have any.  I couldn’t even BUY one.  My state has only 3 electoral votes.  Nobody from either of the two main parties sent ANYONE here….but Obama/Biden advertising and yard signs were everywhere.  McCain’s campaign took the conservative voters in this state for granted, and I voted Libertarian for the first time in my life.  Yeah, I threw my vote away, but maybe the GOP will WAKE UP now. 

Motivated?  Yes…I am this morning.  I’m going to get active in the GOP and start raising hell here. 

I have somewhat of a sick feeling of satisfaction this morning, knowing that it is now time for the Obama cult members to shut their pie holes and actually DO something after running a campaign driven by vapid, sugary fluff.

[21] Posted by midwestnorwegian on 11-05-2008 at 09:15 AM • top

because my “South Park” generation as a whole is not too receptive to such things and I have little reason to believe that the up and coming children are any better.


I think you write off a generation too quickly. This election demonstrates that a charismatic can inspire the younger folks to get out in large numbers, just the DNC put forth a that type of candidate first. The cynicism is probably a reaction to the quality both parties have been running for the last twenty years.

[22] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 11-05-2008 at 09:21 AM • top

I woke up, turned on the TV and got the result I feared.  Then I remembered that God is in control and praised Him, knowing that He has a plan and this is one step in it.  I cast my vote yesterday and turned it over to the Lord.  Now I must live out that faith.  In some ways, this has only reinforced my belief that politics can be a distraction from the Kingdom.  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had His way through Pharoah and Cyrus.  I think He can handle Obama, too.

[23] Posted by Fidela on 11-05-2008 at 09:43 AM • top

There is no political solution to this problem.  Democracy becomes a degenerative form of government in the absence of some commonly held external restraint on the behavior of the electorate.  The Founding Fathers expected that religion would act as that constraint, limiting the reach of the voter.  But our culture has cast off that restraint in preference to autonomy.  As with Babel, so with us.  In its absence there is no limit to what we will choose to do.

So fixing the Republican party is not the answer.  It was not too long ago that people were talking about Republican realignment.  Fortunes change fast in politics depending upon circumstances.  It will be no different here.  But what will not change is the general drift in the culture towards a concept of right and wrong based upon autonomy.  Republican or democrat, conservative or liberal, this drift has not changed in my lifetime. The trend has been relentlessly downward, and it has accelerated.

This is a fearful prospect because in the name of autonomy we are systematically destroying the institutions necessary to civilize children.  We are destroying the boundaries which allow them to work.  Fatherless children, absent parents, and relativized truth will produce an increasing harvest of feral, ignorant children who 1) possess unrealistic expectations for standard of living (to which they will in any case feel entitled) and 2) a complete incapacity to compete in the world market place.  That is a recipe for economic decline and crime.  Angry young men who want and cannot earn, and so take by force.

To fix this, you must convince people of the necessity of limits on behavior.  And by this I mean the necessity of limits that impede a man’s self-interest for the sake of others.  People accept limits they feel are in their own self-interest.  It is the limits that are thought to be against a man’s self-interest that are being dismantled.  But they are vital to the survival of a limited form of Government.  How we do this in a culture built upon the sovereign self I do not know.  But I guarantee you that politics will follow the sovereign self.  It will not lead it.

The future is very dark.  Nebuchadnezzar is coming with his army, and the walls of the city will only last so long.


[24] Posted by carl on 11-05-2008 at 09:44 AM • top

Things are dead at work, so some addtional thoughts…

Can the GOP survive if it can’t break the Democrat hold on the Northeast and “minorities”?  Is it possible to do so without selling out conservatives?

I work in Prince George’s County Maryland and most of my co-workers are jubilant.

[25] Posted by AndrewA on 11-05-2008 at 09:47 AM • top

Amen, Carl!!

[26] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 11-05-2008 at 09:50 AM • top

A couple of thoughts….
1. The GOP message was weak because it is diluted by the ‘big tent’ idea. Until the conservatives realize it was a mistake, the national election effort will not change much.
2. The local level is the best place to target for conservative successes. It starts with convincing normal people to run for office that share your convictions.
3. There needs to be a local effort to groom conservative leaders for national offices. Those that own your own business but begin to band together with people on your church groups, clubs, civic organizations, etc. to form groups to study legislation before you and its impacts.
4. National elections require a shift in the way the messages are delivered. I don’t think McCain’s organization ever grasped this; Obama’s did. Study the election and learn.
5. Lastly, learn that a bigger voice is not necessarily a better voice. Sharing a common ideology is better. Compromising a core belief is not appealing to your supporters.

[27] Posted by Festivus on 11-05-2008 at 09:52 AM • top

#24 Carl is very astute.  The misnamed “fairness doctrine” will soon be re-enacted so Rush Limbaugh and his imitators can be silenced.  This has been a goal of the US Left for years.  With the pervasive leftist propaganda spewed by most school teachers from kindergarten through college, and spewed incessantly by the national media, it will be very difficult to convey conservatism to what is now two generations who have not been taught to think by our failed schools. 

We have to work to develop another Reaganesque leader.

[29] Posted by Long Gone Anglo Catholic on 11-05-2008 at 10:03 AM • top

I believe that the Republican Party became a victim of its own success.  As it was successful and began to win races with increasing frequency, it began to attract candidates whose sole goal was to win races, not to promote a specific conservative agenda.  The party became less and less conservative, more arrogant, less responsive to the base, and more interested in governing and less in reducing government.  We got the Michael Bloombergs, the Lindsey Grahams, etc. 

Republicans need to do a better job of getting out the message and have a better message to get out.  We need more attractive candidates and we need to end the practice of open primaries. 

Lastly, Ditto, Carl.

[30] Posted by ConsProf on 11-05-2008 at 11:26 AM • top

Thank you for this post Ms. Hey.  Indeed, there is much for which we can rejoice.  As I stood in line yesterday morning I knew there was a strong possibility that Obama would win.  Yet I could not help revelling in the fact that I had this opportunity to participate.  Everything in life ebbs and flows, it would be utterly boring otherwise.  I’ll leave the post-election analysis to others except to say that I believe a whole lot of people are going to wake up after the campaign glow fades and say “This is not what I thought I was voting for!”

[31] Posted by Nikolaus on 11-05-2008 at 11:38 AM • top

Top 10 things with have learned from this campaign, from The People’s Weekly Brief

10. There is no limit to how much smoke you can blow up the American voter’s butt.
9. Keith Olberman and Chris Mathews seem to favor Obama and it looks like Rush Limbaugh is leaning towards McCain. While surprising, it appears that the media isn’t objective after all.
8. In today’s America, a decent politician such as Norm Coleman can end up in a tight race against a caustic windbag like Al Franken.
7. Every politician in Washington says Washington is broken while refusing to take responsibility for being part of Washington.
6. If you say hope and change three times fast while clicking your heels you’ll find yourself back in the Carter years.
5. Anyone can be a debate moderator. Next election year, let’s hold a nationwide lottery to choose the moderators from the public. If the candidates go over their allotted time, Jamie Farr will stand up and hit the gong.
4. Feminists are all about the advancement of women unless we’re talking conservative women. Conservative gals need to leave the deep thinking to liberal women who don’t have funny accents.
3. The McCain campaign staff couldn’t organize panic in a doomed submarine.
2. If Obama is elected, the honeymoon will be brief and the divorce from the press will be particularly nasty.
1. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Still don’t get it.

[32] Posted by AndrewA on 11-05-2008 at 12:15 PM • top

Here are my thoughts.  I congradulate Senator Obama, he had a better message, better organization, and raised more money.  Republicans and conservatives need to do the same.  I rejoice because America can no longer be called racists and this will help put a couple of boards and a few nails in the coffin of the race hustlers! I think a lot blacks will come to realize, as reality sits in, that there is no Santa Claus or santa clause.  If Obama does not rule from the center he will be one term.  The main stream press is discredited, they sold thier integrity for socialism light.  We need to watch for things like the Community Reinvestment Act passed under Carter that helped lead to our finnancial melt down.

[33] Posted by Dave B on 11-05-2008 at 12:26 PM • top

I have one criticism to offer my hero, Sarah Palin.  Going on SNL the first time was brilliant.  Going on the second time (the SNL pre-election bash on Monday night) was suicidal.  SNL had already destroyed the big joke by the sophisticated New Yorker pretending to be a stupid Mid-Westerner for the upteenth time.  Frankly, I had almost dozed off when Sarah came on Monday night, as overused as the “joke” had become.  And what a stupid, low-rent, joke.  C’mon. 

Sarah Palin, you are fine just the way you are.  I wish you had been at the top of the ticket.  Finish out your term as gov, then find your way to Washington, so you won’t be criticized for your lack of experience in national politics.  And if the MSN finds a weakness, anticipate it before them, and then own it.

[34] Posted by J Eppinga on 11-05-2008 at 12:36 PM • top

Sarah Hey, et al.,

One thing I think we must do if we are to have any hope of success at the ballot box in future, is ensure that everyone who is going to be involved in the fight to restore some sense of values clearly and simply understands, and can (and will) clearly and simply explain how the world actually works, by which I mean they clearly understand economics. Before anyone jumps on their soapbox to denounce this, they first need to understand that economics is not what you think it is if you have, at most, taken the two college level intro courses in “macroeconomics” and “microeconomics.” Economics is the study of how people make decisions and choices.

I know from reading comments here from people who consider themselves dyed-in-the-wool conservatives that far too many of the people you are trying to encourage by this post are simply ignorant on the topic, and as a result, have “bought into” the mythology of one side or the other in this debate. If we can’t explain in understandable terms how society works (in the sense of economics as I stated it above), then there is very little reason to hope.

One of the great weaknesses of democracy unlimited by the Rule of Law, which we see played out yesterday, is that, once the majority understand (even if at a less than fully conscious level) that they can enrich themselves at the expense of others via the ballot box, the future is largely lost. Historically, that djinni has almost never been put back into the bottle without major social upheaval. I fear that we passed that point sometime between when the Constitution was amended to allow a progressive income tax, which coincided in time with the rise of progressivism as a political movement, and the end of WWII. We are today reaping the results of the intervening errors.

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

[35] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 11-05-2008 at 12:37 PM • top

Gee, I always thought that it was an application of Game Theory.

[36] Posted by J Eppinga on 11-05-2008 at 01:16 PM • top

The mass media is the king-makers in American politics. As long as the press is as much invested in the success of the Democratic Party’s liberal ideals and liberalism as they presently are, Republicans and conservatives will continue to be short-changed.

For as long as I can remember, the press loved John McCain, especially whenever he was doing their dirty job - undermining Bush, Republicans and bashing Conservative and serious Christians. Then, as soon as he became the Republican candidate (which the press wanted, loved and endorsed – wonder why?), all Hell broke loose.

The same John McCain whom the press had praised (over the years) and “respected” for “reaching across the aisle” became a monster overnight (thanks to the mass media) as soon as he faced a real Liberal in this election. McCain was the maverick for as long as he challenging his fellow Republicans - including GWB. 

Who could believe that the same John McCain who formed Gang-of…… (take you pick) at the drop of a hat to help move things along was cast as a partisan Bush-following conservative? Where is the credit to McCain for remaining faithful to his pledge on accepting Campaign Financing?

Now that the press has succeeded in defeating McCain, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them switching back to insincerely saying nice things about him and praising him for accepting defeat with dignity. They have once again succeeded in their game. They know what they are doing. But unfortunately some of us (conservatives) still don’t get it.

This is no different from what is happening in our Church: the Liberals would love you as a conservative for as long as you are agreeing with them and bashing the “mean-spirited” conservatives who unapologetically disagree with the Liberal agenda.

I am sorry for those who still don’t get it.

These are my personal opinion.

Fr. Kingsley Jon-Ubabuco

[37] Posted by Spiro on 11-05-2008 at 02:08 PM • top

#24 carl! Thank you! I’m on the same page as you!

[38] Posted by TLDillon on 11-05-2008 at 02:36 PM • top

#37 - we still have freedom of speech here in the USA, there ARE ways to use it that don’t relay on the traditional biased press.

[39] Posted by Festivus on 11-05-2008 at 02:59 PM • top

Yes, but that will soon be dealt with by “fairness ” and “hate speech” laws and a raft of leftist Federal judges.

[40] Posted by evan miller on 11-05-2008 at 03:39 PM • top

The main thing (politically) that I’m thankful for is seeing more than one Republican/Conservative leader come out and say the party needs to change and needs to change drastically. They refused to lean on the crutch of “the bad ol’ media hates us”, or “the economy beat us”, or any of the other excuses I see and hear everywhere. Instead, they seem to recognize that the direction of their party has been misguided and until they get back to what their party was supposed to stand for, they are in for much of the same.
And Buckley-Reagan conservatism? Really? You mean the administration that took us down the road from being the largest creditor nation in the world to the largest debtor? That type of conservatism? The one that gave birth to Dick Cheney and “deficits don’t matter”? That kind of conservatism? The kind that was the beginning of exactly where we find ourselves now? Lord help us, no no and NO. If you want to pine for the old tried and true conservatism, I strongly suggest you look to Goldwater. Fiscally conservative with a gentlemanly grace that recognized although we often disagree about a number of things, liberals/conservatives, Democrats/Republicans, old/young, rich/poor, we are all Americans and all need to work together if this country is going to regain where we came from and what we came from.

[41] Posted by Mike L on 11-05-2008 at 04:55 PM • top

Disappointment, yes, but at the same time, I’ve relished seeing joy on the face of so many of my fellow Americans who are black, who have finally received the ultimate affirmation.  President-elect Obama’s victory has made them feel more a part of America than all the civil rights laws and court decisions ever could.

I also appreciate President-elect Obama’s role in generating high black voter turnout in California, which helped pass Proposition 8.  (Proposition 8 says “no” to deconstructing “marriage”.) 

Mark Brown
San Angelo, Texas
November 5, 2008

[42] Posted by MarkBrown on 11-06-2008 at 12:06 AM • top

Good thread. Time to go to work.  Get back on message immediately. Most importantly, remember how to spell Jindal. Bobby. Lives in Baton Rouge. Him and Sarah P. are looking good in a few years.
Note: There isn’t a single “moderate” Republican from the Northeast left in the House. That’s what happens when you suck up to the Left and over compromise. They take what they want from you and then kill you when you are no longer needed.

[43] Posted by teddy mak on 11-06-2008 at 09:29 AM • top


Thanks for your uplifting and encouraging post that started off this thread.  We do indeed have much to be thankful for, despite how this election turned out.

Let me add a few more items to your list.

1.  I’m thankful that we live in a country where elections are carried out fairly and peaceably.  That’s as opposed to places like Zimbabwe or Burma where those voted out of office refuse to let go of power and seek to retain control through the exercise of brute force.  We’ve now had 44 peaceful transfers of power at the presidential level in this country.  No other nation can boast of such stability and success with democracy.

2.  I’m grateful we live in a country where candidates for the highest office are still expected to be at least nominal Christians.  Presidential candidates still seek the support of prominent Christian leaders and want to appear in churches and at least seem to be supportive.  Sure, it’s often a farce, but it’s way better than living in countries where Christians are sore persecuted.  The suspicion of Mitt Romney due to his Mormonism is actually a postivie sign of a lingering Christian sensibility that still haunts the land.

3.  I’m thankful that we not only live in the FREEST nation that’s ever existed on earth, but also in the MOST PROSPEROUS one.  Our economy is the envy of the world, with greater opportunities than anywhere else.  That’s one reason why everyone wants to immigrate to America.  Even the people on welfare in the US have a standard of living FAR better than the two-thirds of the world’s 6 billion+ inhabitants who have to live on about $2 a day or less.  Even people trapped in our run-down, crime-infested ghettos have access to clean running wate, electricity, transportation, education, medical care and other basic needs that are still appallingly and glaringly absent in much of the rest of the world today.  In many ways, e.g., life expectancy plus comforts and conveniences of all sorts, the typical American lives far better than royalty and aristocrats did 100 years ago.

I could go on and on.  I’m sure you all could too.  And with Thanksgiving Day coming up, that would be a salutary exercise.  But let me close on a hopefully light-hearted note.  (If Sarah could give her “8.5” reasons to be grateful after this disastrous election, here’s the .5 of my additional 3.5 reasons).

Ancient rabbinic sources record a memorable prayer that many Jewish males used to give thanks to God daily.  It’s quite possible that it was commonly used in Jesus’ day.  It goes like this:

“Lord, I thank thee that I was born a Jew and not a Gentile, free and not a slave, a man and not a woman.”

We’ve come a long way since then.

David Handy+

[44] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 11-06-2008 at 09:58 AM • top

Carl (post #24) - very insightful comment.  I am a legal reference librarian and I do some teaching of students in legal research.  I have noted an astonishing decline over the past 10 years of students’ ability to figure things out for themselves.  Now, you have to give them Steps 1, 2, 3, etc., holding their hand at every step of the game, or they can’t figure out the assignment.  And yet we are constantly being told that our admission standards are getting more and more selective.

I think that many of us assume that the United States and Western society are fated to go on forever.  I am not so sure.  I think we are seeing the beginnings of the end of Western culture, as we are losing the moral and intellectual core of our culture.

[45] Posted by jamesw on 11-06-2008 at 03:24 PM • top

carl (#24) and jamesw (#45),

We could speculate endlessly about the fate of Western Civiloization here.  You may both be right, although I tend to be somewhat less pessimistic. 

After all, there were times in the 20th century when it certainly appeared that “The lights are going out” in Europe and that we were headed for a new Dark Age (especially World Wars I and II).  But with the advent of nuclear weapons and other means of mass destruction, and with Islamic militants who would have no qualms about using them if they could, it’s not implausible at all that we may find ourselves in a position similar to the Christians who lived through the traumatic collapse of the Roman Empire.

Augustine died not long after finishing his great magnum opus, The City of God, with the Visigoth hordes at the gate of Hippo (AD 430).  Rome itself had been taken for the first time 20 years earlier, and Roman law and order were breaking down on every side in those desperate years.  It took centuries for European civilization to recover.  But during that extremely dark time, the Church was truly “the light of the world.”

Ironically, in a cynical, postmodern age that has learned to “Doubt Everything,” and “Question Authority,” (two bumper stickers that capture the spirit of our age), it may well be that we Christians will once again emerge as the sole defenders of the importance of sound reason.  At times in the Middle Ages, the clergy and monks were often virtually the only people who could read and write.  We probably won’t descend that deeply into the abyss in the future, but who knows?

James, I’ve tuaght at the community college level, and I too was appalled by the low levels of basic competency demonstrated by some of my students.  After grading my first batch of papers, I turned to my wife and said, “Honey, I don’t know how some of them even graduated from high school.  They can’t write.”  She just looked at me with a “Duh, you dummy” sort of expression and reminded me, “David, remember that a lot of your students probably just got a G.E.D.”  “Oh, yeah,” I replied.

National S.A.T. or G.R.E. scores have been dropping for a long time.  I’m not sure of all the reasons why, but this culture is in deep, deep trouble, on multiple fronts. 

But this gloomy picutre also presents a moment of great opportunity for us as Christians.  The darker the night becomes, the brighter the light shines.  Alas, what’s killing us is that the Church is so often no different from the world around us.  The salt has largely lost its savor in the Global North.

But fortunately, the torch has been passed to Christian leaders in the Global South.  If our sun is setting, theirs is just rising.

David Handy+

[46] Posted by New Reformation Advocate on 11-06-2008 at 04:52 PM • top

[45] jamesw,

As the parent of a 19 year old, I remain unastonished because I have seen, through her experiences with the public educational system, precisely where that system is headed, at least in Washington State. These have included: teachers of High School English who have not mastered English grammar, teachers of arithmetic and mathematics who teach mindless methodologies rule sets rather than logical processes, and teachers of history and government who are ignorant of their subjects. It has been apparent for several decades that the educational establishment in this part of America’s public schools are about credentials, to wit, those needed to create a smokescreen of justification for higher rates of remuneration for teachers. This has progressed such that we have now arrived at a point where more emphasis in the “education” of K-12 teachers is placed on educational theory than on the teacher’s mastery of the subject matter they wish to be qualified to teach. The situation might well be described as a case of the halt leading the blind.

As to the assumption that you surmise many of us share, I can only speak for myself. The overwhelming evidence of my life’s experience since departing high school has been that we have been well on our way to what you suggest is the “end of Western culture” since the latter 1960s, at the very minimum, and more probably since much earlier, likely since the ascendancy of the progressive movement of the Roosevelt (Theodore through Franklin) era, of which today’s political climate on the left is simply the logical extension.

Very few Western societies (i.e., nations) since the collapse of Rome, which was complete by the early fifth century A.D.,<sup>1</sup> have survived as coherent entities for more than a few centuries. Why should the U.S. or modern Western culture prove any exception to that experience?

Blessings and regards,
Martial Artist

<sup>1</sup>—To any who might wish to insist on the use of C.E., I offer this advice—you may use what argot you wish in your writing and I will feel free to use what I wish in mine. And, consonant with the theme of this comment and that of the comment to which it responds, I have this question. Might it not be ironically apt that the “C” in C.E. has another connotation (to wit, “unrefined or coarse in manner; vulgar”<sup>2</sup>) that is particularly fitting to our assessment of current trends?

<sup>2</sup>—Definition #6 of the adjectival form, from here,

[47] Posted by Militaris Artifex on 11-06-2008 at 04:57 PM • top


I have a 9th Thing I am very thankful for today:

Financial models that forecast demand for gasoline are very sensitive to economic forecasts of growth.  Therefore an anticipated recession = Cheap Gasoline, Natural Gas, Diesel Fuel, energy in general.  Cheaper energy is the first step to rebuilding industry. 

So I’m thankful for cheap(er) energy.


[48] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 11-06-2008 at 05:11 PM • top

Martial Artist, I blame the state of education in America on “schools of education.” Close ‘em all and make those ed students really learn something so they’ll have something to teach.

[49] Posted by oscewicee on 11-06-2008 at 05:19 PM • top

M.A., I remember when my father, who was an engineer with General Electric, taught mathematics at my high school in the evenings two nights a week many years ago during my junior and senior years.  He wasn’t a graduate of a teacher’s college (remember them?), but he was one of the finest math teachers I ever knew.  His specialties were algebra, plain and solid geometry, trigonometry, and differential calculus.  Being an engineer, he could teach the subject matter in far more practical terms than most math teachers we knew then, because he used his knowledge every working day. 

My two granddaughters are freshmen, and I can’t help but wonder about the quality of their teachers; having tutored at a local community college, I’ve seen the results of what I call our failing educational system in California.  For instance, teachers whose spelling and grammar are what I would characterize as questionable, to say the least, and students whose grasp of most subject matter makes me wonder how they graduated from high school.  I tutored “bonehead English” students, and I have to confess that I
scratched my head” more often than not.

[50] Posted by Cennydd on 11-06-2008 at 05:22 PM • top

I wanted to share a prayer my husband wrote and gave at our bible study group on Wednesday night.  He was scheduled to be the one who opened our study with prayer and he chose to write it down.

We pray that you bless our lives, and those we care about, and we ask that you help us to know how we can help those who need our help in any way.

We thank you for this time to come together, to learn and try to understand your love and will in our lives.  We pray that from what we learn here, you forge us into instruments of your mighty will, to make known once again your supreme power to all people of our world.

We pray that you make known your will to all our country’s leaders, to turn them away from the false doctrines that have been (1 by 1) eating away at all of your Commandments, and that threaten to destroy the very foundations our nation was built on.

We desperately pray that you reverse the madness of a world that protects the guilty, while destroying the innocent… that rewards the unjust, while punishing the just… that justifies evil, while vilifying righteousness.

We plead that you empower your servants, to instill in them the resolve to rise up against their obstacles, to believe that you will enable them to overcome the seemingly impossible, to bring your will back to a “stiff-necked’ nation and the world.

Please lead, guide and direct us in all that we say and do.  In Jesus’ name we pray.


[51] Posted by Gayle on 11-07-2008 at 09:25 AM • top

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