Mitt lost because he was a Rockefeller Republican. He reeked of establishment privilege and he did not understand where American “conservative” thinking was headed.
The old school Republican Party saw a Romney presidency as a way to redeem themselves in the face of the TEA Party uprising. If Mitt won it would prove that the TEA Party was just a storm for the Washington GOP to ride out. Karl Rove and company could come back to the center stage and the big government, big defense Republicans could settle back in as though they never left.
Though the establishment left hates the TEA Party. The establishment right fears the TEA Party.
What the TEA Party is, of course, has been warped by the Republicans and hangers-on. At one point Mike Huckabee was calling himself a TEA Partier. That is a laugh.
But what defined the TEA Party was not social conservatism, despite what the old media insists (because it is much easier to counter than being fiscally responsible). It represents a revolt against the size of the state. Taxed Enough Already.
As I wrote last year, we will see a wiping away of the Bushies because they’ve got nothing to win with. It is they who laid the foundation for the current state of affairs with big government conservatism. Their version of conservatism moved the needle of American politics to the left, which has since been pushed into the red line (so to speak) by the current administration.
The way forward for many who do not care for big government and the corruption which always comes with it, is to recognize that markets are sellable to the American people. But, it has to be real. Pro-market people need to know in their hearts that markets, free and open, are good for society. That they increase prosperity. I don’t think, for instance, that Bush ever believed this. His “compassionate” big government conservatism undermined those of us who believe that the opportunity which comes with free enterprise is “compassionate.” For instance, the government sponsored “faith based enterprises” of the Bush era are just creepy. And I say this as a man of faith.
Free markets, though sellable to the American people, are not necessarily what powerful business interests and social conservatives want. American “conservatives” (is that even the right term anymore) need to come to terms with this reality.
There is a reason why government and the pilot fish of crony capitalism grow in size every year. One of the chief reasons is because the supposed advocates of small government never really opposed big government. They were afraid that when push came to political shove, “the people” wouldn’t go for it.
I disagree. The case has never really been effectively made. At least not in my lifetime. Now is the time.
Daniel Hannon our friend from across the Atlantic seems to recognize this.
No doubt Hannon would have cheered a Romney win as a victory for freedom. However in the wake of the Mittens loss, he is searching his soul—as every “conservative” should be right now. And surprise, the answer looks a lot more like Ron Paul than Mitt Romney.
(From The Telegraph)
In one sense, though, America was different. Republicans largely held on to the extraordinary Congressional gains they made two years ago, having focused almost exclusively on the unsustainable levels of taxation, spending and debt. Fiscal conservatism, when presented honestly and decoupled from social conservatism, commanded a majority. When David Cameron called the Obama victory a victory for the “common ground”, he was rightly stating that social conservatism is less mainstream than it once was. Plenty of US voters supported gay marriage and the legalisation of soft drugs while at the same time voting for anti-tax candidates. For what it’s worth, I would have been one of them.
Conservatives the world over need to grasp the difference between being pro-market and being pro-business. Sometimes the two positions happen to coincide; often they don’t.
Republican congressional candidates ran successfully on anti-corporatist and anti-elitist platforms. Mitt Romney, by contrast, supported the bailouts, and seemed a throwback to the preppy, northeastern, unsuccessful GOP of the mid-20th century. Like so many European rightists, he seemed to smile upon crony capitalism. As in Europe, voters were unimpressed.