It has been a week now since reality and mathematics came crashing down on Gov. Romney, Congressman Ryan, Carl Rove and the entire ultra-right talk show industry. As Rachel Maddow brilliantly summed, the real world is.
In some ways, I suppose I should be gratified by the results. My analysis said Mr. Obama would reach 332 electoral college votes, and he has. My numbers also predicted most of the Senate results. I could not quite find it in my view to predict the political demise Mr. Mourdock in Indiana, but I am delighted that I missed that one.
In another sense however, I am not sure this election served its purposes. Certainly the first purpose is to pick winners. In every Senate race, in many Representative race and in the presidential race, that purpose was served and Republicans lost. But another purpose is to frame the political conversation for the next two years. That requires that both sides approach the results with their eyes open. What we are now seeing however is not a consideration of facts, but rather a (pathetic really) effort to deny the loss, or explain away the election's content.
One reaction to loosing House seats, Senate seats, and the White House is Republicans telling each other they were, "not conservative enough!" One hears that from Grover Norquist, Carl Rove, and a number of others. It is a complete miss-reading of the data. But it serves some purposes. After all, admitting that they were wrong is no way to raise funds.
Republicans lost because they have re-defined, "conservative," once an honorable word, to mean racist, misogynist, religious wack-a-doodle. I have relatives and friends who are angry at my support of Mr. Obama because they are still Eisenhower / Goldwater Republicans whose judgement is that the Democrats are wrong on economic issues they care about. One observed in an email that I with General Powell were the ones leaving the party / ticket. The results suggest we had a lot of company, including about 23% of the Hispanic voters who voted for the last two Republican candidates.
"More conservative" meaning ever more misogynist, more homophobic (who knew there was room?) more militaristic, more nativist, simply won't fly. There are those of us in the electorate who while for social justice and fair play, also are fiscal conservatives. We have not left the GOP, it has left us.
Suppose we had a real conservative party? One that said that whom you love is your business, not the State's; how you react to a pregnancy test is your business, and perhaps your clergy and lover's, but not the State's; how or if you pray is your business, not the State's; that the function of regulation should be to achieve transparency and fairness; and that some things require national solutions? That party, call it the "Traditional GOP," could tap into a real conservative viewpoint among Americans. It could offer alternative solutions to problems and negotiate with Democrats. It could resurrect the two party system that worked well until the religious wack-a-doodles killed it. We could call it again, a "grand" party. I might even join it.