Sorry for the delay in posting original material to the R.C. Blog. I promise to keep it current and discuss many of the core issues important to Conservatives, especially under Liberal Rule.
It has been five days since Election Day and I needed a few days of R&R from politics and the blog. As a political junkie, I wanted to review the voter breakdown numbers and see the trends, both good and bad.
In a nutshell, why did Obama win? The answer is simple -- principally, the economy, but also I give credit to the Obama team for running a better campaign. It didn't hurt that they were flush with cash and in a position to focus on all battleground and "on the fence" states.
The Obama team was also the victor in the four-month tug-of-war between "is McCain just like Bush or isn't he". The Obama campaign was successful in making the argument stick and the McCain team was unable to adequately defend it. No one who follows politics believes this notion, but Obama was able to sell it to the average American.
I know the elite media was overjoyed in helping Obama get elected and they were quick to throw out terms like "Liberal Mandate in America". However, the facts support that America remains right of center.
Let's look at some of the highlights (and lowlights) from Tuesday:
Marriage Proposals Go in Favor of Traditional Definition -- All four states that included proposals on the ballot this year to "define" marriage went in favor of the traditional definition of a man and a woman. Most notably, the Liberal heartland of California approved an amendment to the state constitution. This comes in a state that voted for Obama by a 55-33 margin.
African Americans and the Youth Vote Disappoint the Dems -- In a year where the Democrats and the media were predicting huge voter turnout in general and record levels for African Americans and the youth, the final results were not even close. The overall vote count was on par with 2004 and not even close to the highest percentage in recent history. In addition, the African American vote was up a whopping 1 percent versus 2004 (13% vs. 12%). The youth vote was the same as 2004 in terms of percentage.
Obama Wins Independent Voters with Conservative Ideas -- As The Heritage Foundation reported on Wednesday, "Obama promised to cut taxes for 95% of workers and their families, expand the Army by 65,000 and the Marines by 27,000, and enact a net spending cut for the federal government. Lower taxes, a strong defense and shrinking the size of government. These are core conservative beliefs. Anyone who claims yesterday’s election was the end of conservatism simply was not paying attention to the campaign."
Predicted Senate and House Dem Gains Fall Short -- Despite predicting a filibuster-proof Senate with 60 seats and a gain of 25 House seats, the Dems fell short in both chambers. They are sitting at 57 with three seats still in play (Alaska, Georgia, and Minnesota) and only gained 20 House seats. The GOP did not fare so bad in the Senate when one considers that two-thirds of the incumbents running were Republican.
Catholic Vote Goes for Obama -- As a practicing Catholic, this was the most shocking and personally disappointing of all the results from Tuesday's election. In 2008, dozens of American bishops issued strong public statements reminding their people of their moral obligation to vote in defense of human life. Those statements varied in candor and in quality, but their overall impact was remarkable. The 2008 campaign produced a seismic change in the attitude of the American hierarchy; the bishops as a group were far more outspoken, far more explicit, than in any previous election. Did it help? Sadly, the answer was a resounding "no". According to the exit polls, 54% of American Catholic voters cast their ballots for Obama, despite the Democratic candidate's enthusiastic support for unrestricted legal abortion. A closer look at the numbers does provide some insight. Among Catholic voters who attend Mass weekly, McCain won majority support: 54-45%. Among those who do not attend weekly Mass, the margin for Obama was an overwhelming 61-37%. Thus Obama drew his support from inactive Catholics. And unfortunately, most American Catholics are inactive.
As we prepare for the Obama presidency, Conservatives around the country are asking, "now what?"
The first thing is to not give up or, even worse, conform to their beliefs. What we saw in 2008 was a re-energized Democratic Party who worked hard to get their party elected. The Republican Party was never energized and there was a split between the Conservatives and the Moderates. The Conservatives need to take back the leadership roles in the House and Senate, albeit in the minority, and push the Conservative Agenda. Whether the Dems want to admit it or not, America is still hungry for Conservative beliefs and policies.
Second, get involved. Find Conservative candidates and go volunteer. If you live in Northern Virginia, get involved with State Senator Ken Cuccinelli as he prepares to run for Attorney General in 2009. He is a strong Conservative, in the mold of Ronald Reagan, who could help reshape Virginia. For more information on Sen. Cuccinelli and his campaign for AG, visit http://www.cuccinelli.com/.
Finally, support key Conservative organizations, such as The Heritage Foundation, National Rifle Association, and the Club for Growth. Heritage is the No. 1 Conservative group in America and have been extremely successful in working with the Congress to both pass Conservative legislation and shutdown Liberal policies. They were at the forefront of nixing the Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court and in shutting down the Bush-McCain-Kennedy immigration bill a few years ago. For more information, visit http://www.heritage.com/.
Final comment on the 2008 results: Don't believe for a minute that Obama and the Congress are going to have a "love affair" starting in January. I have believed all along that Congress, with its record low approval rating, used Obama to gain seats. Members could see that Obama had all the momentum, not them, so they used him and rode his coattails. Come January, Sen. Obama will learn the hard way that Washington politics is a cutthroat game. I don't think that Obama will be able to get many of his Socialist agenda items through Congress without a lot of give and take. The good news is that without 60 votes in the Senate, strong willed Conservatives and Moderate GOPers can keep legislation in limbo for a long time.
Don't let your hearts be troubled. Although disappointing, we will survive this low point in American history as we did during the Carter years. Remember, without Carter we might not have had Reagan.....