Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What It All Means

I did promise one, didn't I? Trouble is, I'm not sure I have any idea.

Turnout for the election fell short of the 2008 figures, though it appears to have equaled the 20th and 21st Century norms. As turnout was expected to be a predictive element – specifically, predictive of a Romney victory -- we must wonder whether any of the analysts on the Right fully grasped its import.

The whole question of what moves American citizens to vote hasn't been studied nearly as deeply as it should. Why is that? Perhaps because those in a position to analyze it are afraid of the conclusions they'll be forced to draw.

This was Mitt Romney's sixth campaign and his fifth defeat. It's exceedingly unlikely that he'll ever again stand for election to a public office. It's virtually guaranteed that he won't be a contender for the GOP's presidential nomination in 2016; neither party has much interest in renominating a loser. The nominations of Adlai Stevenson in 1956 and Richard Nixon in 1968 were deviations from that tendency, and highly unlikely to be repeated.

Who does that leave? Romney's competitors in the primaries were uninspiring, mostly by lack of staying power. In addition, their ages would seem to preclude further prominence in national politics. If the Republicans wish to remain a major party, they'd better be looking to their "farm teams" -- the state governors and U.S. Senators -- for figures to be groomed for national postures.

Inasmuch as the GOP now holds 30 governorships, you might think the crop should yield some likely prospects for the "big club." However, only one of those governors, New Jersey's Chris Christie, has made much of a blip on the national radar. Even Wisconsin's Scott Walker, despite his undeniable success in curbing union power and defeating an impassioned recall attempt, is too obscure to "go national" at this time. Christie was generally regarded as unsuitable for the national spotlight even before his embarrassing tango with Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy. So the next Republican presidential candidate might have to come from the Senate.

That is, if there are elections in 2016.

Vote fraud and vote suppression were both attempted in a large number of districts. The consequences are things we cannot know with perfect certainty, because the very mechanisms we must call upon to determine them have far too often proved corrupt.

Of one thing we can be certain: a huge fraction of our military was denied its franchise. Ballots simply never reached those soldiers, sailors, and airmen. As those voters overwhelmingly favor Republican candidates, there might well have been a race-changing impact from that alone.

This denial of the franchise to tens of thousands of American servicemen could not have occurred without the passive connivance of the Obama Administration. The Pentagon underfunded the effort; it admitted to having done so. It claimed that its hand was forced. By whom? There was a law in place intended to guarantee precisely the opposite. However, that law went unenforced.

Young Americans thinking about a hitch will know this. It cannot have a positive effect on enlistment rates. Whether that was a consequence the Administration desired, we cannot know.

This matter of a "mandate to lead" will now be front and center among the Punditocracy. Those on the Left will insist that merely by having won a second term, Obama's program of steadily advancing social-fascism, redolent of European socialism as practiced in France, Germany, and Italy, has been confirmed as "what the people want." Those on the Right will point to the thinness of Obama's popular vote margin and demand to know how a difference in the tallies of less than 2% could be interpreted that way. With appropriate exchanges of party alignment, this is the way they've dueled ever since the election of Richard Nixon.

Obama himself has never been terribly concerned with "what the people want." His repeated flagrant dismissals of Constitutional constraints, Congressional prerogatives, and his ex officio duty to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" make it clear that he regards himself as above the law, including the Supreme Law of the Land. He will be at least as determined to have his way these next four years as he's been up to now.

When a Caesar of the Roman Empire began to behave in an erratic or willful fashion, someone -- the Senate, the Praetorian Guard, the Army, his family, or some civic-minded citizen -- usually assassinated him and installed a replacement. The system worked tolerably well until welfare measures and Imperial intrusion into the agriculture market -- panem et circenses -- created a dependent class too large for the remaining productive citizenry to support.

We might just have such a dependent class today. Bill O'Reilly of Fox News argued as much to Bret Baier yesterday evening. If so, restoring the Republic might prove as difficult for us as it was for the Romans -- and remember, they "lost the finals" to the Visigoths and the Vandals.

A final thought before I get back to working on Freedom's Scion.

I concur in substance with the gloomier evaluations of this outcome: the country will now accelerate its slide into division and moral degradation. Those of us who "have a little something" will increasingly be the targets of those who want what we have but aren't willing to work and save as we've done. They believe that theft by State agency is their "right," and the State, which always takes the lion's share of its kills, will happily assist them in their efforts.

Several persons have argued that this makes it plain that the time has come to "go Galt." There's an impassioned bit of reader email about that at Instapundit. But that must remain a completely personal choice.

You don't owe anyone the power to direct your course through life. No, not even to "restore the Republic," no matter what it might have done for you in years past. (Let's not get into what it's done to you.) Whatever your station, whatever your prospects, whatever your outlook and your fears, you must choose according to your best judgment and the dictates of your conscience. Rest assured that those around you will be doing much the same.

For my part, I intend to go on as I've done up to now: working in my trade a few years longer; writing fiction in my spare time, which I hope will become more copious when I've retired; and looking after my loved ones, my animals, my home, my parish, and my community to the best of my ability. I would regard any willed deviation from those patterns as a betrayal of self: an implicit declaration that the things I've done with my life and my powers weren't really what I wanted to do, or what I felt I ought to do. Inasmuch as that's the opposite of the case, I feel no temptation to change course.

And so I exhort you, Gentle Reader, to ask yourself: Have you been doing what you really want to do and ought to do? If so, why would you change it to suit someone else's notions of civic engagement? If not, I'd suggest that you get cracking while you still can, but that's a much more complex discussion.

Be not afraid.

UPDATE: Duyen has just emailed me:

Flashy, if I find out you've been drinking this early, I'm going to have to come out there!

Never fear, dear: I ran out of booze before midnight.


TJIC said...

This election was a decision between a man who was going to let the vehicle coast forward at 60mph towards the guardrails and the cliff beyond, and another man who was promising to floor the accelerator.

Romney was no conservative.

But he was a truly decent man and an effective leader.

I find myself sad that he didn't win - at least we'd have another year or two before the car flew over the cliff.

This must be what it felt like to be a central European in the early 1930s. Disaster, war, dictatorship - they're all in the win. We can smell them and their stench draws closer.

Perhaps some good will come of it - the sooner the full fruits of the socialist crop arrive, the sooner the populace - the thick, dense, willfully blind populace - will be FORCED to learn the truth, the sooner they'll burn the vineyard of lies to the ground, and the sooner they'll plan a better harvest for the next season.

KG said...

TJIC, this Administration will bring the productive to their knees in order to keep feeding the welfare beast keeping them in power.
And the productive will allow themselves to be bled dry, consoling themselves with what little they have left rather than rising up to regain what is rightfully theirs.

furball said...

It's very telling to me that Fran and other thoughtful, intelligent people seem to be saying, in effect, "Go on, Country, but I'll keep doing what I do and be true to myself and my cohorts."

This is the 1st time in my life that I've felt that my country has lost its moorings to the very fabric of people that made it what it is.

I have anger and blame. Yes.

I blame the media. I blame divisive politics. I blame apathy.

It's fiction, but Fran's President in that novel of his is someone I would vote for and WANT.

There was a lot of talk tonight on the MSM that the Republican Party will continue to lose because of demographics; Dems win because of Hispanics, Blacks, unwed mothers, etc. It's fairly obvious that a party that promotes McCain and Romney doesn't win.

Isn't it time Conservatives get behind Rubio, West or SOMEBODY who will -egads - talk about race, inclusively and espouse conservative ideals in a way that draws in ethnic groups and forestalls MSNBC yelling, "raaaascist!" ??

Thomas Sowell is too old and Buckley is dead, and we have everybody telling us 3rd parties NEVER STAND A CHANCE. But, if you knew you were gonna lose this way, wouldn't you have preferred to go down with a principled conservative?

Fran finishes his post with, "Be not afraid," but what does it mean when you hear your best warriors and favorite knights exhort you to go quietly into that good night?

I'm not the capable Galt-guy. Those farmers and ranchers of Ohio maybe ought to consider WHY they're sending food to the cities when those ingrates vote for things that hurt the growers.

I'm old - and have always been a coward - so it's easy for me to draw SOME sort of puppy-dog warmth from a sentence like, "For my part, I intend to go on as I've done up to now: working in my trade a few years longer; writing fiction in my spare time, which I hope will become more copious when I've retired; and looking after my loved ones, my animals, my home, my parish, and my community to the best of my ability."

But that's HIM. I'm not that good, or talented. I NEEDED my country to help me with morals, responsibility and culture. I'm serious. I AM flawed and need others. I don't want those others to be gang-bangers, play-station zombies, moral equivalenters, MSNBC followers, people with their hands out hoping for the nexxt free phone, refinanced house or whatever food the state will give them.

I'm also not looking for a religion that will GIVE me absolution, clarity or the meaning of life. I realize I'll have to work for me, my family and whatever understanding of the nature of life I'm going to be able to understand.

This election is crucial. You've got guys like Fran saying, "Goodbye, America. You and I have obviously parted paths" You've got Academe and media saying, "We did it!" You've got knowledgeable people saying, "WTF? Can't they see the truth?"

Ass much as I think Ann Barnhardt is a "scold," she's got the tail of the critter: America's financial markets are run by smart finaglers who are regulated by affirmative action know-nothings. America's churches are run by people trying to compete with popular culture. And America's government is run by life-long office-holders who can't be fired, run unions to ensure their longevity and are the antithesis of the principals upon which this country was founded.

I don't care how well-meaning any government functionary claims to be. We should all declare, "I am an enemy of the state, and you work for ME. I may need your service, but I would much rather you were a productive member of this society. So do your job, get paid minimum wage and STFU or go to work in the real economy."

And while I'm dreaming, stop giving my $ to other people, you redistributionist, social fairness income-equity, ignorant son of a bitch.

Joseph said...

Back in 1936, the percentage of voters who were willing to loot the rich was 60%. Now it's down to 50%. There's some progress.