DANIEL GREENFIELD: WHAT WE LOST IN THIS ELECTION
Now that we have lost the election of 2012, where our champion, a third-rate imitation of Ronald Reagan, without either his charm or his principles, who believed in absolutely nothing except being the best salesman he could be; let’s pause to reflect on all the things we lost out on through his defeat.
When we lose something, a relationship or a job, the grief comes from what we thought we had and what we imagined it was, not from what it truly was. Perspective means getting a true sense of what we had and what we never had to begin with.
So let’s look at what we might have had with President Mitt Romney.
We lost the chance to have universal health care, with the mandate, become a principle that every conservative was duty-bound to defend.
Oh I know. Mitt Romney was going to repeal ObamaCare. And he was. And by “repeal”, I mean he would have tinkered with it a bit and turned it into RomneyCare. And for the next four to eight years, it would have been heresy to ever suggest that we opposed universal health care with a mandate. Once Romney did that, it would have turned out that we only opposed universal health care with a mandate when it was badly enacted, without regard for businesses, by a Democrat.
We lost the chance to have a Republican president deliver weapons to Syrian Jihadists. Not to mention apply more sanctions to Iran in order to force it to the negotiating table. We could have been so privileged as to have a Republican president execute these two items of Obama’s agenda. Instead we’re stuck with a Democrat doing it.
Of course President Mitt Romney would not have done these things out of a deep abiding hatred for America and a sympathy for terrorists. But he would have still done them anyway. He wouldn’t have understood what he was doing, but his foreign policy would still have been sixty percent of Obama’s foreign policy, without the conscious malice. It would have been an improvement in that regard and only in that regard.
Those of you pro-Israeli types who imagine that a President Romney would have taken the boot off Israel’s neck, would have been shocked when a month after taking office, his Secretary of State would have commenced condemning Israeli “settlements” in Jerusalem. Just like it was in the days of the Bush Administration.
But, Romney would have been different, you say. He had a great rapport with Netanyahu. And Bush had a great rapport with Sharon. He had an even better one with Saudi Arabia. The same would have been true of Romney.
Still Romney would have appointed conservatives to the Supreme Court. And there you may even be right. I wouldn’t place any bets on it though. Oh we probably wouldn’t have gotten any Wise Latinas on his watch, but then again we might have, but I wouldn’t count on too many members of the Federalist Society ending up on the bench either.
Romney would at least have been pro-business. So was George W. Bush. And how well did he deal with the problems of government overreach? It’s all well and good to be pro-business, but even a former businessman who becomes a president, sees problems from the government’s end, not from the standpoint of a businessman.
And, for that matter, if you doubt any of this, do look back on the Bush years and consider that Romney would have been worse in every area than Bush. It’s human nature not to believe that, but it’s so. And if the election had gone another way, in a few months you would have seen it for yourselves.
The 2012 election was of course a disaster. A complete and thorough disaster. But it was a disaster because Obama and his cronies won. Not because Mitt Romney lost. Mitt Romney filled a void. He stepped into a spot that we needed, became a symbol and then he failed, because he was only a man, and worse still he was a blue state politician who was light on principles and heavy on being a people person.
What we lost in this election was not a chance for better leadership, but a chance to remove a bad leader. But what we gained was an end to complicity in the actions and policies of this administration. What we gained was a chance to use this defeat to launch a movement that can actually win an election by confronting the issues.
I would have never called for people to stay away during the election. Another four years of Obama would have been too high a price to pay for that. But now that we have that four years, it helps to remember that we never had a shot at making a complete break with the policies of Barack Obama. What we were really trying to do was replace Obama with a man who would carry out many of the same policies, but without a hidden agenda or destructive urges.
What we were trying to do was elect a man who destroy America with the best of intentions, with an open heart and enough practical experience to avoid overreaching and destroying the country too quickly. And that is no bad thing, from one perspective, certainly if we have to choose between high speed destruction and medium speed destruction, it’s best to take the foot off the pedal, but it’s not a solution of any kind to anything. At most it might have amounted to breathing room that would have corrupted us by making us complicit in those same policies.
So here we are again, right back where we were in 2008. The establishment blew another election. The base is angry and frustrated. The country is divided. And a growing number of people reject the policies of the administration. The establishment rejected the Tea Party as a bunch of crazies, but the Tea Party is more relevant than ever.
A day before the election, I wrote, “Even if we lose this election, it will have been worthwhile to make it as close as possible, to bring out massive rallies of people who are waking up out of the daze and realizing that they don’t have to take the occupation and that there are tens of millions of people out there who feel as they do.
“Mitt Romney is a symbol, a convenient shorthand for freedom of expression, enterprise and faith. Whether or not he embodies these values is a secondary concern. As Obama became a vehicle for the left to express its identity, Romney has become a vehicle for traditional Americans to express theirs. If Romney wins, then he will become a politician and if he loses, then the symbolic identity, which transcends him, will go on, because it is an expression, not of one man, but of the values of a country.”
So Mitt Romney has fallen and I will waste no great amount of time either condemning him or mourning him. I have never met him and cannot speak for his character. I believe that he was genuinely motivated by public service, in the old-fashioned sense, but I also believe that, like his father, his instincts tilted to the left. Faced with a new left, his old-fashioned liberalism would have given them a foothold, while destroying him anyway.
Romney ran an effective enough campaign, but it was the campaign that he needed to run, not the one that the country needed. And now that it’s over, we are back where we need to be, fighting the good fight. We have the opportunity to organize and radicalize, to bring together growing numbers of people around opposition to everything that the Democratic Party has come to stand for. That is something we could not have done under a President Romney. It is something that we can only do while in the opposition.
And equally importantly, we once again have the opportunity to mobilize and transform the party. That opportunity may be more than the answer to winning the next election. It may be the means of saving this country.
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