A Reluctant Case for Optimism

Like many conservatives, I grudgingly voted for Republicans for one reason: to maintain control of the House and Senate. As election results came in, I sadly realized that we simply had not suppressed enough votes.

As a Virginia resident, I witnessed George Allen’s dismal campaign. Judging by the literature I received in my mailbox and the campaign ads during primetime, the most important issue in this election was women in combat and traditionally male military academies. I was thoroughly confused — Why does Allen want women in combat and co-ed military academies? Was this the only way he could reach out to women voters? The only thing more awkward to talk about than Allen’s campaign is the name of his campaign manager, Dick Wadhams. Seriously, has he considered Richard?

Like any loss, conservatives went through the five stages of grief when faced with a traumatic event:

  1. Denial — .25% of the ballots in Virginia haven’t been counted yet. George Allen could still win!
  2. Anger — Those @&%$! moderate Republicans! (or those @&%$! swing voters!)
  3. Bargaining — Joe Lieberman really owes his win to Republicans. Maybe he’ll change parties! (This also has shades of denial.)
  4. Depression — This country is going to hell in a hand basket.
  5. Acceptance — Democrats are in control of the House and Senate because Republicans deserted a conservative agenda for too long.

So, where do conservatives go from here? At a post-election press conference at the National Press Club, American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene said, “We hope that the party in which most of us have invested our trust will learn the right lessons from what happened yesterday and work to redeem that trust, lest it be lost forever.”

Outgoing RNC Chair Ken Mehlman seemed to contradict himself in a post-election email when he wrote, “We need to recommit ourselves to conservative reform. Our leaders must work to provide bipartisan solutions to the challenges facing our country, and demonstrate the highest standards that our Party expects and the nation deserves.” Do Republican leaders honestly believe “conservative reform” be part of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Charlie Rangel, and Jack Murtha’s “bipartisan solutions?”

I’m no Republican strategist (not that I’d admit it after last week), but I suggest we abandon this notion of bipartisanship. Blind bipartisanship is the precise reason Republicans lost control of the House and Senate. Bipartisanship led to No Child Left Behind, a lousy prescription drug plan, inadequate immigration reform and Harriet Miers. So-called bipartisanship in a Democrat-controlled House and Senate is even more horrifying. A tell-tale sign is the elation from groups like the ACLU,, Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way, the National Organization for Women, and so on. At this point, conservatives’ Holy Trinity is gridlock, filibuster and veto.

Following the election, Rush Limbaugh declared that the most severe voter fraud in 2006 was running moderate Democrats to advance a far-left agenda. Note to Rush: Don’t forget to report this to for their $250,000 reward for “material evidence leading to a felony conviction for an organized effort of partisan voter suppression.”

In order to take control in Washington, Democrats temporarily adopted conservative candidates and gave lip service to fiscal responsibility and aggressive immigration reform while the media and pundits told Republicans that in order to win they needed to move to the center. In 2004, HUMAN EVENTS legal correspondent Ann Coulter wrote, “Republicans need to tattoo this truism on their arms: It’s never a good idea to take advice from your enemies.”

Based on advice from conservative heavyweights like Keene, Limbaugh and Hannity, I will reluctantly embrace their optimism. They say we should be hopeful because of successful conservative ballot initiatives across the nation and conservative candidates that withstood the Democrats’ tidal wave. These are surely significant gains given that the media ignored them. In fact, my favorite conservative victory is incoming freshman Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota. Just prior to the election, I read an interview in which she unabashedly stated that her heroes are Ronald Reagan, Ann Coulter and Phyllis Schlafly. I’ll repeat — the interview was before the election. These three heroes have one thing in common — they are not bipartisan.

In two years, voters will give Republicans another chance at the polls. Thousands of conservatives will get their first glimpse of the 2008 Republican presidential candidates at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2007. We will not have forgotten the 2006 mid-term elections. Let’s hope the candidates didn’t either.