published Monday, February 18th, 2013

Losing not so bad: Time for GOP to bind its wounds, prepare for future

These are the times that try conservatives' souls. A presidential election has been lost by a convincing margin. The winner has taken the result as a mandate, a license to do ... whatever he wants to do.

Laws, regulations, executive orders -- all are being readied. All that's needed is the usual legal boilerplate and they'll appear in the Federal Register to decree, mystify and generally order us about.

As for the laws already on the books, they can be conveniently ignored. Reports go unfiled, deadlines are missed, budgets aren't submitted despite what the law "mandates," and extra-constitutional measures taken.

Fiscal realities are ignored by official decree, and the day of reckoning put off for ever and ever. We're supposed to believe it'll never come. Happy times are here again.

For a while, anyway.

We are all about to be inundated by this era's Wave of the Future. The undercurrent already tugs at our feet as Obamacare goes into muddy effect in state after state. Arbitrary rule by distant functionaries spreads, and the rule of law grows weaker.

Resistance is futile, conservatives are told -- repeatedly. Shut up, they explain. For we lost, didn't we? And it's winning that counts. It's not just the most important thing but the only thing. Call it the Vince Lombardization of the American ethos. "Loser" seems to have become the most damning, the most irreversible word in the American vocabulary.

It shouldn't be. Losing is a great opportunity -- to reassess a philosophy's strengths and weaknesses, and realize which are which. Some conservative tendencies are essential and others expendable, even harmful. Defeat clarifies such differences in a way triumph never could. Especially the difference between the high road and the wrong turn.

Losing can be a chance to regain perspective, get a grip, pull up our socks ... and realize that what looked all-important before an election wasn't. What seemed major turns out to be only minor in the bright light of the Morning After, when the binge is over, and it's time to face some realities, maybe even deal with them.

In politics as in war, retreat is not surrender. For we can now regroup, recruit and prepare to take the offensive again. Much like Washington falling back to Valley Forge, the better to cross the Delaware once his ranks had been replenished.

Defeat is already having its usual, salutary results. See the emergence of a reasonable Republican position on illegal immigration -- a shift led by John McCain, who's been trying to turn his party around on this issue for years, and by Marco Rubio, the new senator from Florida and bright new hope for the GOP. Reason dawns: Instead of fighting the problem, why not try to solve it?

For a worthy and durable cause -- and what political cause is more worthy and more durable than conservatism? -- losing is less an end than an intermission. It's a welcome break from the sound and fury of the campaign. It affords the losers a chance to heal, re-think, and even reform.

We forget what an education losing can be. Who has ever learned from victory? And who has not learned from defeat? A great cause can survive defeat. It's surviving victory that's the real challenge.

Losing calls for its own kind of heroism. It is not the Churchill who triumphs at the end of his life that we recall with the greater admiration, but the querulous backbencher who spent a decade warning about the Gathering Storm, and would not be still despite being cast into political exile.

Elections come and go, but principles endure. The best of causes has risen from defeat, the worst have been encouraged by their early triumphs.

— Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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nucanuck said...

Maybe this will help Drew, the party of the rich and white should consider becoming less rich and less white.

That would be a good start toward rediscovery.

February 18, 2013 at 12:57 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Washington didn't famously cross the Delaware from Valley Forge. He crossed it at the end of A.D. 1776, winning at Trenton and Princeton after a string of defeats. Valley Forge was the winter a year or two (or three?)later. I suppose he did eventually cross the Delaware in pursuit of Clinton's retreat from Philly to New York, and fought the drawn battle of Monmouth enroute to NY, but that's not the crossing on the famous painting.

February 18, 2013 at 12:59 a.m.
charivara said...

Is this a retread of a 2001 editorial? "This is the time that try liberals’ souls. A presidential election has been lost by a Supreme Court decision. The winner has taken the result as a mandate, a license to do ... whatever he wants to do. Fiscal realities are ignored (deficits don’t matter, wars and tax relief for the very wealthy can be bought with borrowed money) by official decree, and the day of reckoning put off for ever and ever. We're supposed to believe it'll never come. (and if it does we’ll blame the economic disaster we created on the Democrats!) Happy times are here again. For a while, anyway."

The while is here. The voters have spoken. They have rejected the conservative Republican vision and programs. And the Republican response is to obstruct any effort to ameliorate the damage they have done lest the public realize the scam that has been perpetrated on them and consign the party to the oblivion it so richly deserves. The problem isn't government, it's conservative Republican government.

February 18, 2013 at 10:01 a.m.
Leaf said...

I have no problem with true Conservatism. But the Republican party isn't fiscally conservative any more. Now it's just the party of fear.

February 18, 2013 at 1:09 p.m.
aae1049 said...

I don't think in terms of R or D. To me, Conservative is about self reliance, personal accountability, and consequences of decisions. You chose to seek higher education and postpone having children to establish a career, that reduces the likelihood of poverty by fold. I waited to have a child, until my husband and I could afford to. Called planning. Having even one child is financially hard, so those that keep having children, and asking me to fund their children through welfare is not equitable. I took 2 months off, and returned to work because I was running out of money, should I support the women that just keep having children they cannot support.

Your decisions determine if you are a higher wage earner with more income. Should the people that sacrificed and worked hard to acquire education and successful careers be required to hand over there income to those that chose to drop out of high school? If you think so, then you are not a conservative.

Conservative and the Republican Party really have little connection, especially on fiscal conservative, Leaf is correct on that.

February 19, 2013 at 8:12 a.m.
jjmez said...

Many who complain most about where their tax dollars are being spent are usually the ones who at least at one time depended on the tax dollars of others the most. If you ever received a grant, government backed student loan and even some scholarships to attend college, that was the tax dollars of other workers working on your behalf. Even the tax dollars of some of those poor people held in much disdain by others.

February 19, 2013 at 5 p.m.
Plato said...

The problem with the GOP is it's at war with itself. You have the reasonable conservatives like Saxby Chambliss that committed the unpardonable sin of negotiating along with the gang of 6 which included three Democrats in an honest effort to find a bipartisan solution to the deficit. John Boehner goes golfing with the President one time and his poll numbers drop 10 points. It's become a poison pill to even say anything positive about anyone or any idea coming from the other side of the isle. The high points of the President's immigration plan get leaked to the media. Even though they're similar to the Republican plan, Marco Rubio has to attack the Presidents plan to keep the wackos from turning on him.

Reasonable Republicans can't do anything to reach a deal with the other side without risking being primaried by the Tea Party wackos. That's why Chambliss said to heck with it and is headed for the house.

The Tea Party wing of the GOP is not interested in governing or legislating. Compromise is a dirty word. Their only purpose is to dismantle a large portion of the government. All you have to do to get the picture is listen to the wacky ramblings of their defacto leader Rand Paul

Karl Rove may be a devious and shady character but he's also a genius when it comes to political strategy. He now represents the reasonable Republicans and sees how the wing nuts are destroying it.

Until such time as the GOP can purge itself of the Tea Party types they will continue to marginalize themselves and shrink their numbers. They are following in the historical footsteps of the Whig Party, but so far, the next Abe Lincoln is nowhere in sight.

February 19, 2013 at 7:21 p.m.
jjmez said...

Very well said, Plato. Most people who gripe about the government and their tax dollars are unaware of how they benefit themselves from the use of those tax dollars. When they picture tax dollars and government in the same room, they only see welfare. A Texas town is going to start charging citizens involved in car accidents up to 2000.00 when first responders are called to the scene of an accident. Just wait until that concept spreads across the nation, and they start placing liens on the homes of citizens who can't afford to pay.

Your demand for a smaller government in action.

February 19, 2013 at 8:54 p.m.
aae1049 said...

You guys are so wrong, jjmez, I don't oppose a step up out of poverty, children did not ask for that situation and should be supported out of poverty. It is when it becomes a lifetime of dependence and keep having babies when you cannot support the first one. I know for a fact that planning for children is not that difficult. Dependence on government is no way to live.

February 20, 2013 at 6:21 a.m.
Lr103 said...
  1. Stop arresting them for minor offenses ....

  2. Stop shaking them down and taking their hard earned money during routine traffic stops they've legally earned on that minimum wage job, then refusing to return it ........

  3. Stop suspending their license for an inability to pay a fine. After all, since they were arrested during that minor traffic stop they likely lost that minimum wage job while locked up and can't pay the fine anyway.....

  4. Stop using a jail or prison record as an excuse to not hire

and maybe, just maybe those individuals so dependent on federal social programs will actually eventually be able to rise above their situation, becoming less dependent on those social programs* we so depise.

Each and every time that $400 or $600 legally hard earned salary is taken from a citizen during a routine traffic stop and the courts refuse to return it; the bread winner loses his/her job and another family is forced to sign up for public assistance in the way of welfare or foodstamps and.

And that generation curse will cease to exist.

February 20, 2013 at 7:44 a.m.
aae1049 said...


According to this TFP data, the youth are getting branded early with non violent offenses that will effect their entire lives.

The under 25 demographic is primarily being charged with DUI and possession of controlled substance, we need reform for non violent youth crime records so it does not ruin their entire lives. On the side of that is, what if your family member was killed by these acts.

I don't know the solution to this problem, because there has to be accountability for our actions, at the same time we should not ruin young lives for one mistake. :-(

February 20, 2013 at 8:28 a.m.
Lr103 said...

I don't know the solution to this problem, because there has to be accountability for our actions.

We only want accountability for ones actions based on the individuals zip code. When in one area one is more likely to receive citations if that, and with no trail or history of a criminal record to forever negatively change or alter their destiny, verses another area where individuals are more likely to be stopped, frisked and arrested near each time they step outside their door, one can clearly see the discrepancies and the contributing factor to that generational curse that continue to plague certain individuals and entire communities and groups, keeping them in poverty and dependent upon those social programs from one generation to the next.

February 20, 2013 at 9:25 a.m.
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