It’s Not the Message, It’s Not the Messenger, It’s the Voter


Nearly 3 months after the presidential election the Republicans are still trying to fix what they think went wrong. A popular culprit is the Republicans’ alleged failure to communicate forcefully or persuasively a message that would move voters presumably receptive to conservative policies and principles. Just in the last week Jonah Goldberg, Daniel Henninger, Ari Fleischer, Ross Douthat, and Karl Rove have worked variations on this theme. Yet we should remember that any act of communication comprises not just a sender and a message, but also a receiver. We need to focus on the nature of America’s political “receivers,” the 65 million who voted for Obama in the November election, and the 93 million registered voters who didn’t vote.  If those voters are not receptive to the Republican message, it doesn’t matter much how brilliant the messenger or the packaging of the message.

And that “message” has been out there for years now and constantly repeated. Only the stupid or willfully inattentive haven’t heard that we face a financial abyss waiting at the end of our entitlement road, that entitlements need to be reformed, that we have an exploding debt and deficit crisis, that a “tax the rich” policy only produces chump-change for solving that problem, that Obama’s economic policies have bloated the federal government at the expense of jobs and growth, and that Obama himself is the most left-wing, duplicitous, partisan, and incompetent president in modern history. And conservatives have identified repeatedly the bad ideology and flawed assumptions that have generated the policies that created those problems. The fact is, many voters know full well this dismal catalogue of failure, and they either don’t care, or they believe the fatuous rationalizations, lies, excuses, and economic magical thinking offered by the Democrats. How else explain Obama’s 55% approval rating in the latest Time/CNN poll? Either way, repeating once again the facts demonstrating that failure and the flawed ideology that has created it, or more effectively repackaging the facts and arguments and having it delivered by an oratorical genius, is not going to cut much ice.

If you disagree, remember what happened to Paul Ryan last year. He identified the problem of entitlement-driven deficits and crafted a response that made a modest start at reform. But after several months of demonization by the Democrats that included an ad with a Ryan look-alike pushing an old lady in a wheelchair over a cliff, the only narrative with traction by election day was the lie that Republicans “want to end Medicare as we know it” and “shred the safety net” and keep the “rich” from “paying their fair share.” You could have resurrected Ronald Reagan and had him deliver the counter-message and the outcome would’ve been the same.

Or maybe you’re cheered by those exit polls that reported majorities of Americans “want government to do less,” and so voters are ready to support entitlement reform. But be more specific about which entitlements should be reduced and see what response you get. Someone on Medicare who will get $3 for every $1 put into the program––thus receiving taxpayer money––may be in favor of cutting back on food stamps or extended unemployment benefits, but don’t even think about reducing his subsidy. Remember those AARP ads with the snarling oldsters warning, “Keep your hands off my Medicare” because they “earned” those benefits? So too with the home mortgage deduction, or agriculture subsidies, or any number of mechanisms for transferring public money to citizens and businesses. The fact is, the entitlement mentality has insidiously spread even among people who think that the “government does too much.” As David Brooks summed up recently, “Many voters have decided they like spending a lot on themselves and pushing costs onto their children and grandchildren. They have decided they like borrowing up to $1 trillion a year for tax credits, disability payments, defense contracts and the rest. They have found that the original Keynesian rationale for these deficits provides a perfect cover for permanent deficit-living. They have made it clear that they will destroy any politician who tries to stop them from cost-shifting in this way.”

Dig deeper into the ideas behind the policies and you’ll find out why the Democrats’ narrative is so much more appealing to such voters than is that of the Republicans. The conservative message is predicated on beliefs about ordered liberty, self-reliance, equality of opportunity, individualism, limited government, entrepreneurship, and all those other virtues and principles that indeed have made the United States the wealthiest, freest, most open great power in all of history. But those virtues necessarily entail a tragic view of human life. Individual freedom requires as well personal responsibility and accountability for bad choices. Equality of opportunity is no guarantee of success. Talent, character, initiative, brains, and luck are not evenly distributed among people. Limiting government means individuals, families, churches, and communities must see to their own needs and wants and find some way to pay for them. Many businesses are going to fail, but that is part of capitalism’s “creative destruction” that has made free-market economies so successful. We can’t have every good we want without paying a price or making a trade-off or accepting some level of risk. The good of driving cars, for example, costs us about 35,000 fatalities a year in road accidents. In short, a flawed human nature, the law of unforeseen consequences, and the limits of human knowledge all mean that we have to accept an imperfect world in which life isn’t fair: there are no winners without losers, there’s no free lunch, and we can’t eat our cake and have it.

The progressive Democrats, in contrast to the timeless wisdom even an illiterate peasant once understood, endorse a therapeutic view of human life. People aren’t responsible for their choices, for an unjust political and economic environment conditions those choices. Success doesn’t result from individual hard work and brains as well as luck, but solely from the accidents of birth or access to social advantages unjustly denied to others. Equality means not equality of opportunity, but equality of result, the primary goal being the reduction of esteem-wounding income differences through the redistribution of wealth by government. Free citizens are not responsible for solving problems or managing their lives, but rather techno-elites possessing superior knowledge must be given the state’s coercive power to reshape and control social and economic institutions in order to reduce the destructive consequences of failures of character or of unjust social, political, and economic institutions. Risk and trade-offs are not a permanent cost of human aspirations and actions, but can be removed from human life. The result will be a much better world in which failure is rare, all goods can be had simultaneously at minimal costs, income equality is achieved, risk is eliminated, and everybody gets to be a winner. Contrary to those cranky “mean” conservatives, there is such a thing as a free lunch, and we can eat our cake and still have it.

Given that humans, as Alexander Hamilton said, “are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious,” we shouldn’t be surprised that the progressive promise to indulge the self-interests and selfish appetites of the citizenry is more attractive than conservative sermons about self-control and self-sacrifice. So what if history shows that every attempt to create the progressive utopia has ended in disaster and failure, so what if the math says the entitlement state ends in bankruptcy, so what if our national character is being insidiously corrupted by getting something we haven’t earned but think is a human right, so what if, as Tocqueville warned 170 years ago, empowering the state to achieve these utopian boons comes at the cost of our freedom and autonomy. We want our free stuff now, and somebody else can pay the cost, whether the “rich” or our grandchildren.

The great 19th century French economist Frédéric Bastiat once wrote:

“When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”

Better messages and better messengers are not going to overcome human nature. The melancholy truth is that our debt, deficit, and entitlement problems will not be seriously addressed until a critical mass of citizens feels the pain of these self-interested, shortsighted, catastrophic policies.

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  • objectivefactsmatter

    "The progressive Democrats, in contrast to the timeless wisdom even an illiterate peasant once understood…"

    I can't tell you how many times over the years I've uttered that to myself.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    “When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”

    But can we learn from history or do we need to experience this again for ourselves? I think I know the answer and I don't like it.

    • Mary Sue

      "Woe unto those that call Good, Evil, and call Evil, Good."

      • David R

        Esoecially if they’re under the judgement of God !

        • WildJew

          Who isn't being judged by God?

  • Rifleman

    One can look at the pali education system and see they will still hate and attack Israel for generations to come. As with the palis, one can look at our education system and see it will produce mostly democrat party voters hostile to Western civilization, and especially American culture and ideals. Even if they do still think American culture/Western civ is worth defending, they won't get the knowledge they need to do so in American schools.

    • WildJew

      You are right. Leftist propaganda is pervasive. I cut the television portion of my cable years back. Somehow I managed to daydream my way through public school. I had a father and stepmother who warned me about the dangers inherent in what Barack Obama is peddling. As I got older, I sought out first rate historians, scholars and authors. I read the Jewish prophets, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Zechariah. I read first and second Samuel, Kings, the Proverbs, Psalms, etc. Germans embraced Nazism by and large. Many after the war pleaded that they had been mislead by Nazi propaganda; by Goebbels. Others listened to the BBC via short-wave. Truth can be found if one is willing to look for it. How much more in a relatively free society like this one? People cannot plead ignorance. Truth is available if one is looking for it.

      • Drakken

        It amazes me that is this day and age, that information is widely available but is completely ingnored.

        • JacksonPearson

          That's because the MSM have their heads tucked away in that dark, stinky, Obama RAT hole.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Truth can be found if one is willing to look for it. How much more in a relatively free society like this one? People cannot plead ignorance. Truth is available if one is looking for it."

        That's why my patience is so short with certain attitudes and ideas.

  • mekus milkdud

    How many years has the blacks been conditioned to hate whtiey and conditioned others to do the same even the blacks that come into America with a fresh start and are not prejudiced are soon converted by the blacks here

    • bluffcreek1967

      True, with the help of liberal, guilt-ridden whites who do everything in their power to despise and displace their own race. American blacks, in general, hate the white man – and guess what? – so do hordes of American whites! All of this despising of whites, as evidenced in attitudes, AA and a host of anti-white government polices, reinforces in the minds of newly arrived blacks that whites as evil and oppressive.

      American whites are unwilling to BOTH see blacks as they truly are and themselves in light of historical reality. They are all too ready to believe all the lies said about them.

      • Ghostwriter

        Please take your rants to a KKK website were they will be appreciated. This isn't about race,it's about people being conditioned to think that the government can do more than it can really do.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          It's about culture, and some people use bogus racial theories and class warfare tactically to achieve their evil objectives. There are also people who are simply ignorant bigots.

          The root problem is the delusional leftists and those they empower.

  • mekus milkdud

    even if you got some votes the democraps would still win the rigged elections

    • LibertarianToo

      Bingo. There is plentiful evidence of massive fraud in the last election.

  • pierce

    The culprit to these next 4 years is the REPUBLICANS failure to communicate forcefully and persuasively, the message that the Obamanation in the White House is about to destroy all that is good with America.
    It is hard to believe that 93 million voters stayed home, they could have made a difference. Have they got a good explanation why they did not vote? I did not like the candidates. That has got to be one of the dumbest reasons ever made. Do you like living in America, if not, then get the hell out.

    • davarino

      I voted, only because I decided to give the repubs one more chance. Actually I regret giving them one more chance because I fear they think I am a supporter which empowers them to continue on their destructive path. The repubs are not conservatives and I believe, because of their actions, they have been compromised. Either the dems have dirt on most repubs or they have just gone soft. My thought is that most congressmen need to have term limits or go through primaries on a regular basis. But to vote for crappy candidates just cause they are on our team, but just like the other team, is rediculous.

    • WildJew

      Like daarino, I am also disappointed with what the Republican party has become. It may be true, the American voter is more selfish and less honorable than any time in the past; yet people by nature are a selfish lot – I have to agree with you as well. We had a terrible Republican nominee who we were encouraged to support by the Republican "Establishment," radio talk show hosts, conservative pundits, etc. We were told this unprincipled, non-conservative, non-fighter, was the only one that could beat Barack Obama because he looked good and was moderate enough to bring in the independent vote. I never bought it but the Republican Establishment convinced enough rank and file Republicans (yet again), Mitt Romney was the best of the lot.

      • Anonymous

        The article above refers to a campaign ad which featured a vicious caricature of Paul Ryan (as an American living in Canada I did not see that ad — I have heard that the Democrats went overboard in the demonization of their political opponents, but I find it shocking to hear about the depths to which the Democrats descended.) Now I would like to know what decent person will be attracted to politics? And even when honest people come forward, they'll face the likes of a demented deviant like Obama. I don't know how such difficulties can be overcome, other than through inoculating the public by education (to fend off the virus of Obamaism).

        • WildJew

          I would like to know, what decent person continually believes lies? When Obama opens his mouth, he is lying. Everything within me knows Obama is evil and he is bent on destroying this nation. I can recognize an evil demagogue. Why don't Americans see it as clearly as I do and as clearly as many others do? Why did Governor Romney at one point say Obama is nice guy or a decent man who is simply in over his head? What world is Romney living in? Why didn't Romney attack Obama on his murderous foreign policy? Why didn't Romney expose Obama's cultivation of Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadists? Palestinian jihadists? Why did Romney become an apologist for Islam and why did he champion the Palestinian cause (their jihad) against Israel in the December 10, 2011 Iowa debate, on our national platform writing committee last August, in his October 2012 foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute? Why did Romney fail to defend Michele Bachmann when she and four others called for an investigation into Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the Obama White House? Why did Romney say, it isn't a part of my campaign? Why did Romney say "jihadism" is an entirely different entity from Islam? Why Romney drop the ball on the Benghazi murders?

          • Anonymous

            Excellent points — I also wonder why more Americans don't see through Obama, recognize his lies — why are they so deluded? (With respect to Romney, I had the impression that he was convinced that if he kept being Mr. Nice, never stooped to the demented deviant's gutter politics, that Americans would respond in droves, and cast their vote for decency.) (I also suspect Obama is a psychopath — or at least he reminds me of one…)

          • WildJew

            I think you are right. That was his and his adviser's strategy. I think there is a line that a politician cannot cross (in the public view) but Romney was no where near it. You notice Obama mostly allowed his surrogates to stoop to the demented deviant's gutter politics. He pretty much stayed above the fray. But Romney would not allow his surrogates to return demented deviant for demented deviant. Remember he admonished his PACs to not go near Obama's racist, anti-Semitic, anti-America associations? That was a mistake. But Romney and his surrogates destroyed Romney's Republican opponents; especially Gingrich. Then Romney (knowing the media was on Obama's side) allowed the media to intimidate him. When he rightly called out the State Department for apologizing to Egyptians over an obscure Muhammad Youtube video, he was attacked by the Obama media for days and he fell silent. CNN moderator Candy Crowley improperly took Obama's side on the Benghazi thing. For the rest of the campaign Romney dropped Benghazi. Romney is not a fighter. If you read about the Lincoln – Douglass debates, Lincoln's supporters wanted their candidate to go for "blood" in the debates and he did. Americans do NOT respect a wimp. They respect a fighter.

            One more thing. When I saw Romney take the side of the Palestinian jihadists in the December 10, 2011 Republican Iowa debate, I felt Romney should have been declared ill-suited to be the Republican nominee. Why wasn't it a red-flag to Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives? Why was it indicative only to me that Romney has no moral ballast? That he is unprincipled?

          • Anonymous

            Yes — Romney on everything having to do with Islam was totally out of it. (He would have had a horrific foreign policy, I suspect). Romney's best feature (not much, but at least something) was in the realm of the domestic economy (debt reduction, etc).

          • WildJew

            That is why I voted for him but only November 6; domestic economic policy. You would think Romney would have wanted the Almighty's blessings? Why go against the plain teachings, admonitions and warnings in the Bible that God gave the land of Israel to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Israel (Jacob)? Why so flagrantly and boldly curse Abraham, the father of Isaac and Jacob? Maybe Mormons do not believe God's word in the Bible?

          • gforce74

            Because Mormons have their own bible, if you will. The Book of Mormon. It's not the same book. Not the sacred, inspired word of the Lord God of Israel. That's why.

          • Xlmz@telusplanet.net

            I only know of Mormonism through a cartoon on the comedy channel (South Park episode)… It was jaw dropping (especially what was said about blacks) but I just assumed it was a comedy-inspired farce, so it could be ignored.

          • WildJew

            I think Mormonism embraced similar theory to white racist supremacists in the south about the curse of Canaan by Noah which rendered Blacks fit only to be slaves to their superior white masters. I cannot deny the curse is there in the book of Genesis, still I cannot consign an entire people to slavery because of the curse Noah pronounced. That having been said, I do believe Obama is a curse on this nation. I feel as though I am being negatively affected by Obama's curse as are millions of hard-working Americans. He is not a good reflection on his people. If a Jew were in the WH doing to this country what Obama is doing, I would be screaming to high heaven.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Mormons deviate from the Bible as much as Muslims do, but their own created religion is obviously not the same as Islam, nor nearly as dangerous. Plus they have their own "prophets" today who've been able to ensure that their doctrines are politically and socially acceptable.

      • Anonymous

        Forgot to add — what really disappoints me is to discover what the Democratic Party has become! It is truly shocking. (Maybe a mass exodus of RINOs to Democrats would solve the problem)…

        • ffortnightly

          The democrats are starting to thin naturally. The non-white democrats are not voting for white democrats unless that is the only choice. Within a few cycles the democrats will morph into the party of non-white America, and then shrink suddenly and massively. They themselves are the victims of their own "whites ruined it all for us" campaigns over the last several decades. I think the republicans keep throwing in the towel because they are frustrated with being ridiculed for doing the right thing. With McCain I suspected it, with Romney I'm sure of it. Republicans may still provide a modest safety valve, but they are basically watching the democrats and the Americans who foolishly voted for them to implode. This will make a financial ruin of the nation, but then, all bets will be off. So who will they come running to for help? It won't be the party of non-white America. Perhaps it is time for republicans to pull an end-around on the democrats. That won't happen till they get some fighters instead of the boardroom dorks they have now.
          Grobbbbbbbbbbb

          • Anonymous

            I think one of the most (potentially) damaging aspects of the Democratic Party is that the party is composed of a motley coalition of (potentially) divergent, if not competing, interests — hence, you have impoverished blacks, radical feminists, environmentalists, union activists, college OWS, Marxists, and now pro-Islamist elements (of the "peace now" variety). I don't think it would take much to have these various factions at each other's throats…just have to pit one faction against the other.

          • Chris

            Force them to pay for each others healthcare costs.
            That should do it.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            That's why they needed this semi-mythical 1% of "robber barons" to attack because that myth is a proxy for soaking productive people while not sounding so pathetic, at least to the ears of the other pathetic losers.

    • Asher

      I agree…..Leadership has been sadly lacking, until recently displayed by Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jason Chaffitz, and Tim Scott. Why do the Republicans let the liberal media and the lying Left define who they are? WE are in this mess and destruction because of the organized minority, lead by financier George Soros. They are totally wrong and defunct on their policies and the issues. Half the country who is not stupid sees, it, the other half who live on hand outs from the government don't want to see it!

  • Dave

    "The fact is, many voters know full well this dismal catalogue of failure, and they either don’t care, or they believe the fatuous rationalizations, lies, excuses, and economic magical thinking offered by the Democrats. How else explain Obama’s 55% approval rating in the latest Time/CNN poll? "

    BULL! Again and again…Bull. Year after year…Bull. Election after election…Bull.

    1) It IS the messenger!!! The GOP keeps putting forth the weak and spineless who actually believe that they need a bigger tent instead of sticking to principles. They watch these Democrat-operative polls and believe them too, when the sampling data clearly proves the polls are skewed. They keep quoting Reagan but never put a candidate up who even closely resembles him in principle. In every election, we get to choose between Democrat and Democrat-Lite and you wonder why we're discouraged.

    2) It IS the message!!! The message the GOP spews is "we can never go back" and "we need to change." Well, we've had plenty of change and we've already seen what "forward" means. If you don't present a clear alternative to the Democrats, don't expect us to support you.

    3) The GOP is just as narcissistic as Obama, and this article is no different – blame the voter! Yeah, that will work. Why not look inward and just admit you don't want to put forth a REAL conservatives for office.? The Neo-cons are all you have left – and we are not buying!!!

    • Jim_C

      "They keep quoting Reagan but never put a candidate up who even closely resembles him in principle."

      In all fairness, even Reagan doesn't resemble the "Reagan" of legend.

    • Choi

      Actually,Nixon would have FOUGHT them on ALL LEVELS.
      His LANDSLIDE over McGovern PROVES that.

      • Viet Vet

        But Nixon was no conservative.

  • Anthony

    The situation is not simply domestic merely awaiting a moment of undeniable disaster for resumption of sane good governance. It is endemic within every Western nation and bound by an economic system on life support and guided by political overlords whose ideology is fueling both the certain fall of the West and the imposition of totalatarianism.

    The people within states not currently being brought low by mass non-white third world immigration are nontheless tethered to an ideology that requires national suicide brought about by empty rhetoric and delusional self denial as a step towards the final goal of destroying the existing order in favor of the hydra of a new friendlier Marxism that seeks a grey, Godless planet where everybody does as he wishes and above all gives offerings, their “fair share”, to the god that is the desperately desired global state and its priests, the elites and lesser bureaucrats.

    These evil people and their wide eyed believers never question multiculturalism, or disarming the population, or pushing hatred of ones country to kindergarten. children or homosexual “marriage” or euthanasia, or ripping God from our lives in the name of “tolerance” and so on.

    They will not give up and so they continue winning one small victory at a time until now even the American flag is considered being banned in some American towns by evil liberal operatives whose highest purpose in life is the next imposition on my birthright, a nation that is a nation, not a Petrie dish for intellectually dishonest perverts and their anti-social creations who are really useful idiot foot soldiers.

    To conclude, there is nothing more desired by today’s elitesthan a stupid, passion driven citizenry dependant on them. Their purpose? World domination.

  • sllider 96

    "Given that humans, as Alexander Hamilton said, “are ambitious, vindictive, and rapacious,” we shouldn’t be surprised that the progressive promise to indulge the self-interests and selfish appetites of the citizenry is more attractive than conservative sermons about self-control and self-sacrifice. So…"

    LOL…..you've just described the Republican Party , don'ty blame the voters for seeing through the obvious transparency . "Conservative sermons " have been exercise in hypocrisy ,and the electorate simply was not affected by the paranoid claims of the past four years . Nor will they be affected by the inevitable wretching they will hear from the Republicans this next four . What Republicans are ding [if not already accomplished ] is another Democrat win in 2016 .

    • AnOrdinaryMan

      If the above quote characterizes some in the Republican party(for example, those who signed the Consent Agreement that promised the Republicans wouldn't fight voter fraud), then it absolutely must characterize the ENTIRE Democrat party. Another Dhimmicrat win in 2016? Possibly, but if "the critical mass of citizens feels the pain" that Mr. Thornton speaks of, no way. Also, you assume that there will still be a United States of America in 2016.

    • al222

      slider, when 2 plus 2 equals 4 amounts to "paranoia," then you've gone off the deep end. and if you can't figure out what this means, you're precisely the kind of useful Democrat-voting idiot who would abet the nation's ruination, as long "someone else" gets blamed for it. party on, dude–while you still can.

      • sllider 96

        People like you to will assure the demise of the Tea party loons . Good Luck , celebrate MLK day and enjoy the Inaugural festivities while you choke on your bile .

        • UCSPanther

          Enjoy it while you can, beggar. You OWS troublemakers will face your reckoning soon enough, and history will not be kind to the Chocolate Jesus.

          Nobody likes a parasite…

          • objectivefactsmatter

            "Enjoy it while you can, beggar. You OWS troublemakers will face your reckoning soon enough, and history will not be kind to the Chocolate Jesus. "

            But he promises, he's a conservative<wink>.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          Your projection is getting so boring.

    • Jim_C

      In effect if not in actuality; their candidate will be a Rubio or Christie-type whose policies will be about two degrees to the right of Obama's but make people less nervous than Hillary or whomever the dems will run.

      Although the way Christie's been talking lately, it wouldn't be too surprising if he switched parties.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Although the way Christie's been talking lately, it wouldn't be too surprising if he switched parties."

        With any luck we'll get rid of all these Trojan horse traitors.

        • Viet Vet

          This.

    • Gislef

      When Republicans don't live up to their principles, Democrats blame Republicans.

      When Democrats don't live up to their principles, Democrats blame… Republicans.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "When Democrats don't live up to their principles, Democrats blame… Republicans"

        When a storm hits, Democrats blame….

    • JacksonPearson

      Stuck on stupid…You can't seem to get your head extracted from your commie butt?

      • objectivefactsmatter

        His username must be an acronym I suppose. I don't know the rest, but the first five letters must be Silly Little Liberal In Denial.

  • gspurlock

    Are you sure it was not the voting machines?

    • Choi

      and other 'methods'.
      19 Philly precincts with 0 Romney votes.
      Also,Precincts where the Democratic 'vote" EXCEEDED the # of Registered Voters for that precinct.
      Non-Citizen Registered Voters ,who voted,including Illegal Immigrants.

  • Charles Martel

    You’re right and you’re wrong that it is not the message. You’re right when you say that Republicans have acted as Dem-lites, so a voter will choose a large support structure over a small, even though both are unsustainable. There was not a clear choice between the candidates (Obama-care versus Romney-care). You’re wrong when you say the message isn’t wrong. The people voting for bigger government were never really shown that is making their lives harder, not easier. The cart they pull gets heavier with each bureaucrat hired to “look after their welfare.” Gas, bread, beer, all cost much more than the cost of production because of the taxes “on the rich” meaning the producers of those goods. Money to pay those taxes has to come from somewhere, so it comes from the consumer — which hurts the poor more than the rich. The message should be: what if gov’t got out of that cart you’re pulling and you paid less for everything? What if you kept more of what you earned instead of wasting 50 cents on every dollar on overhead in DC? The federal gov’t will do what it is supposed to do (10th Amendment). If you want to build a bigger healthcare/welfare/unemployment forever structure, go ahead and do so at your state level, but when you see the cost, you won’t like it. People only like it now because the cost is hidden by the borrowing. Their lives are hard and they hear the Dem message that only they can make it easier by soaking the rich, the corporations. There is no counter message.

    • Viet Vet

      If we were still living by the Constitution, we would have none of these problems. Not only is the nation in disarray and economic fiasco, but 50% of the U.S. populace have been disenfranchised by the de facto dissolution of the Constitution.

  • cxt

    Good read!

    I still am resonably (sp) sure that a big part of the problem can be fairly placed on the mainstream media. They are either supine or activily supporting the president. IMO it really does not matter waht the "message" or the messenger might be if the folks that are supposed to serve as a check on government fail to do their job.

    When the majority of people ALWAYS hear negatives about the opposition and ALWAYS hear praise for "their" guy/gal–upto an including when people feel the "pain" is ALWAYS blamed on one party and media actively shields the man charge……….well, its hard to get through to people.

    Overall I tend to agree—if the media won't do its job then the only thing that can be done is wait for the general level of pain to rise to the point where people make changes.

    The President still won't be blamed but maybe people will change policies.

    I am somewhat encourged by the number of people that DIDN'T vote the man in 2012—esp compared to the 2008 numbers—it seems that people can learn. Jus takes some time.

  • Chezwick

    I had a major disagreement with my father (himself a moderate/conservative) over the reasons for Romney's defeat. He believes it was about personality and message, whereas my belief is that it was all about demographics, specifically, race/ethnicity/immigration (Romney won a higher percentage of the white vote than Reagan did in his landslide win over Carter in '80).

    Our disagreement went further. He insists that the American people have the wisdom and foresight to soon awaken and throw the libs out and turn our country around at the eleventh hour. I scoffed at the assertion, believing if the last election taught us anything, it is the electorate is short-sighted and self-serving…and that people will continue to vote in favor of the immediate perks offered them, the future be damned. It is what I call the failure of democracy.

    I think my Dad believes America is still the country of his youth….and furthermore, he's always been an optimist. I told him "Pop, I hope to God you're right and I'm wrong." But hope is not what I'd call clarity of vision.

    By 2020, an estimated 80% of government outlays will be used JUST TO PAY INTEREST on the debt. It's a catastrophe on the horizon, and even intelligent conservatives like my father would rather pretend it can be averted,…that after a half-century of profligate spending, we'll suddenly see the light and transform our culture overnight.

    Good luck with that.

    • WildJew

      I agree with you over your father; the American people are degenerating. Still, I would like to believe with God's help and a good, solid conservative Republican fighter as our nominee, we could have beat Barack Obama; that we still can with our Republican Congress the next four years if we had a leader as Speaker. I voted for Gingrich in our primary. Some (many) argued Gingrich has too much baggage, too many skeletons, etc. I won't argue the point but for issues that are important to me, unlike Romney, Gingrich could clearly enunciate them. Romney could not. Romney is not a fighter. He held back. Obama is a thug. Only a man who knows how to deal with a thug can beat Obama. Churchill was a leader who recognized a thug. That is why Romney and Boehner failed and are failing. Neither understand the evil we are facing here. A woman like Michele Bachmann would be better squaring off with Obama than man like Boehner. We elevate unprincipled wimps to be our leaders. After Boehner's repeated failures when facing Obama's immoral demands, why didn't Republicans demand he step down?

      • Choi

        "After Boehner's repeated failures when facing Obama's immoral demands, why didn't Republicans demand he step down? '

        Because of that BS Seniority "rule'.

    • Spider

      I think you are right and your father is wrong on this one Chez, which is the point of this article. All the profilgate spending by the state and federal governments will continue unabated until a financial catastrophy happens and the average Americans life is turned upside down. One of two things will happen after the bamkruptsy happens: either the government checks will just dry up or they will print money as a way out but this will cause massive inflation and destroy the currency. Either scenario will mean massive riots and looting in the streets. This is coming just as sure as the sun will rise and those of us wise to it had better be prepaired for it.

    • mlcblog

      I resonate so much with your Dad! and wish it were true, even hope so. But, I am with you on this. It seems the weak spot in our democratic Republic is just that. Once the people learn they can vote themselves other people's money, they will. I used to think it was Congress that was the main culprit here, but this election shows it can also be the electorate itself.

      Our way of life was established and depends on a moral group of people running things, and that indeed may be the major flaw at present. We need more honorable people who stand on principle, but Wait! we have a few. Now what do we do about the pond scum which is the liberal media attack dog?

      Still, I am somehow with your Dad. Seems the stock market actually went up recently, even in the midst of all this trouble we are having. My hope is that the great American spirit of enterprise, drive, compassion, wealth generation by serving each other, and so much more will triumph over all this current evil mess.

  • Cathy

    This is true! Those that voted for this administration WILL get what they voted for in the end. The unfortunate reality is that we who did NOT vote for this administration will also get what they voted for too!!

  • Asher

    Like Bette Davis said, "Hang on its going to be a bumpy ride." People will eventually feel the pain, there is no way that any good or prosperity will come from these destructive government policies, or disarmarment of the military and cutting the budget for military defense! There is a huge question out there…why have so many states allowed the voter fraud that has been identified…Is it because Obama is black and he would ensue a race war?

    • Spider

      There is going to be a race war anyway – right after Uncle Sam goes Bankrupt and the welfare checks dry up.

    • Ghostwriter

      You two seem to actually WANT a race war to happen. I don't.

  • xqqme

    “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again.”

    - Gibbon

  • marios

    Good article but I disagree with note that our country in such deep problem is Obama's incompetency. Obama wants to destroy this country and he does it intentionally.
    I disagree with comments that Romney was not good candidate and that is why he was defeated. Among Rep's party candidates was very conservatives (and brilliant) Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain. Conservative voters did not supported them but voted overwhelmingly for Romney.
    There is no perfect candidates and cannot be and we as voters always have to choose who is the best among all of them. To be on such principal position and consider Romney not good enough allowing disastrous leftist nominee Obama whom we all already knew to win was not the best for US interest decision (my opinion).

    • Viet Vet

      Good logic.

  • marios

    I believe that Republican Party establishment problem that they made blind eyes on Democrats seized control over MSM and Educational system. Whatever does and at what extent brilliant would be Rep. candidate Democraps pocket MSM would distort everything and gullible people (and it is majority) would vote for that candidate whom MSM propagandized even if it would be Hitler or Stalin now. Dem's party establishment of nowadays are cynical hypocrites and want only one thing: Power forever. It could be under only one system which is social..sm. We are in the brink of that disaster. What we should do I believe is to be proactive and call and write to our Representatives and Senators to let them know our opinion but not just make comments on such cite as this one (great one, by the way).

    • Viet Vet

      Lock and load.

  • wgswst

    America, as a nation, is lost. This last election saw urban voters choose the direction for the rest of the country. There's no reason to think that future national elections will be any different.

    The "several states" have become the only hope left against the federal behemoth. It's time for conservatives, libertarians, alt-righters, etc to become un-mesmerized by the national political circus; and turn their attention to their state, become active in state/local politics, and prepare for the oncoming federal assault.

    Yes, the national reset will happen eventually; at the pace our enslavement by fedgov is proceeding tho, by the time it happens it won't much matter.

  • LibertarianToo

    Please explain how a home mortgage deduction, i.e. being "allowed" by the government to keep more of your own money instead of handing it to the government, constitutes a handout from the government.

    It seems incredible to me that anyone but a lefty would be able to conflate a tax deduction with a handout. The government does not own our earnings. We are not the recipients of government largess if the government refrains from taking all of our money.

  • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

    Don't forget the polarizing culture wars, which should be called off. I wrote about the frightening state of the union here: http://clarespark.com/2012/01/25/the-state-of-the…. After a recent SOTU speech by our president. "The State of the Union Stinks."

    • Viet Vet

      The left launched the 'Culture War' in the 60's, they aren't about to call it off. That will take a civil war.

      • http://www.clarespark.com clarespark

        It is true that 60s New Leftists were cultural radicals, and can be said to have launched the last installment in the culture wars. But these differences are longstanding rifts in what we think of as a unified Western civilization. It was  never unified. But we do enjoy a measure of cultural pluralism, and that should be defended. Our differences are much larger than culture, having to with economics and differing view of the role of the federal government and the meaning of the Constitution in an urban, industrialized society.

  • Arlie

    The main reasons people don't vote is because:
    1. Same policies enacted no matter which party wins
    2. When you vote you get called for jury duty
    3. Lazy and uneducated and their vote does not matter
    4. This time is was because of anger at the RNC changing the rules on Ron Paul voters

    I voted, did not like Romney but he was better than Communist/Islamist 0. The two party system is a LIE.
    Demoncraps are now Communists and Republicans are mostly Progressives, which means they are progressing toward big centralized government too. The Consent Decree the RNC has signed is a death nail for them forever nationally. Reince Priebus is an Idiot and so is Karl Rove and all Romney advisers. I will vote Constitution Party because that is what I believe will save the country, if it can be saved. Sadly, I think we're done as a free people until we resurrect a recommitted Declaration of Independence and restore our Constitution and Bill of Rights. That will not happen with the UN, NATO, OIC and Soros in charge of this government and media.

    • Choi

      Have you figured out HOW "The Constitution Party" can WIN?
      They have NONE of the resources of the GOP nor the LEGAL STATUS such as Election Judges,nor One Elected official ANYWHERE.
      We're PAST making "Protest Votes" to make a point.
      ANY VOTE for any 3rd Party,or NON VOTE is a DEMOCRATIC VOTE.
      WHAT should happen is the 2014 & 2016 GOP Races should begin TODAY and show the Democrats/Left that they're NOT the only ones who can WAGE A PERMANENT CAMPAIGN.

      • Viet Vet

        Yep. The Libertarians got their candidate elected president.

  • xkn

    The direct welfare payments (food stamps and cash) for a family of four is around $1100/mo. Let us for a moment forget about additional benefits. If something can be earned in a grey economy, and it usually is, that can increase earnings to $2000/mo. For people in this situation, they would need to be offered at least $3500 in pre-tax earnings to make sense for them to transition from welfare. Modest-paying factory job would be the right ticket, but factory jobs went to China. So, people aren't stupid. They understood full well that neither side will offer them a job, but chances of benefits not-being reduced is better with Obama. So, Obama won. The Democrats have masterfully triangulated Republicans with welfare and millions of immigrants for whom there are no good paying industrial jobs to propel them into the middle-class to become the natural republican voters. Anything republicans do at this point, benefits democrats. If they legalize 20M illegals, they would immediately swell welfare rolls, not because they are lazy, but because there are no jobs for them. They have to vote then for those who provide them welfare, because that is the only acceptable option for them. Hunger isn't. Republicans have basically two choices, wait for a civil war and then hope after it passes that their message will be recognized (a huge gamble with no predictive outcome), or start doing something to really bring jobs back to USA – while maintaining the current levels of welfare. At any cost, including trade-war with China, which is preferable to the civil war in the US. Carrot (and a very tasty one) is the only possible way to transition people from welfare to productive rolls. Stick won't do it.
    Any candidate suspected of holding a stick behind his back will not win elections.

    • Viet Vet

      Impossible to bring back jobs without the republicans in power. The democaps are the antithesis of job production.

  • BLJ

    Despite all the excellent points the author and readers make, I still think Obama and his cohorts stole the election. Just look how smug that toad Axelrod was the whole time.

    • pierce

      Your description of Axelrod is right on. And they did steal the election, I just can't put my finger on how. Was it more dead people voted, as for some reason I thought there were more votes counted than there were registered?

      • LibertarianToo

        I have read that Obama did not win a single state that required positive ID. There were many districts in swing states where the number of votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters. There were reports of voting machines that changed Romney votes to a "default" vote for Obama. There were voting cards where Obama was the choice for Pres. while all other the other offices on that ballot had Republican candidates chosen.There were busloads of "voters" -many wearing Cubs hats e.g., that cast ballots in Milwaukee, for one example. And there were areas of Phildelphia -like those with New Black Panther goons standing at the enrance- where Obana got 100% of votes cast. Stalin never did so well.

        What perplexes me is why the RNC and the Romney campaign did not challenge the results.

        • trickyblain

          Do you have a single official source that supports a single one of your claims (i.e., official election results showing 100 percent vote for Obama)?

        • Viet Vet

          The democrappers didn't force through 'Motor Voter', the 'Provisionary Ballot', and fight tooth and nails against 'Voter ID' for no reason. The left has been invested in voter fraud for decades. Communism can't win fairly anywhere in the world.

      • mlcblog

        Michael Savage noticed that a certain number of illegal immigrants equalled the number of goodies that O had given out to that community shortly before the election. This is only one of many instances of fraudulent or at least questionable practices that we saw.

    • mlcblog

      My point exactly.

  • Choi

    WHAT should happen is the 2014 & 2016 GOP Races should begin TODAY and show the Democrats/Left that they're NOT the only ones who can WAGE A PERMANENT CAMPAIGN

  • Victor

    It is the voters, their education or lack thereof and the total ignorance about economics. But what stands out most is the " I am entitled society" which is now the foundation of this country. Everyone is entitled to something, government hand-out, unemployment, healthcare, a job, a passing grade for failing since it's not fair for anyone to fail while other succeed. That is the problem. However, like every problem there will be consequences if not resolved. This is a country of over 300 million people and it will take some time, may be 10 years, but the pain will be here and it will be painful.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Frauds speak to the underbelly of human weakness undermining moral strength and personal
    integrity, this is called degeneracy and it is a full blown epidemic in America. When and if
    the American population returns to it's places of worship and kick out the falst teachers as a
    start there could be a turn around. This is not going to happen and like drug addicted and
    alcoholic people those Americans who are lost to personal and National identity connected
    to traditional values will suffer the consequences of the moral betrayal Nationally rampant and
    continuously generated by Democrats (Communist,Socialist,Leftist,Islamist cabal) which is
    the millstone around our collective necks for not standing up to thier evil in a powerful way.
    William

  • Donald DaCosta

    I wrote what follows in response to a Heritage Foundation article, "MLK, Obama and Opportunity" and think it appropriate here too.

    "…. an overwhelming majority of Americans believe the country is headed on a wrong track."
    I hear this and read this in the conservative media and am scratching my head in disbelief. If this is true then why in the name of sanity was Obama reelected? The "majority" of Americans are more likely a minority and until conservatives recognize this fact and stop these efforts at self delusion the sooner we might get to the real issue we face. The bedrock principles of conservatism are not at all clear or understood by a majority of Americans, inundated daily with obfuscation, misrepresentation, distortion and outright lies about American history and conservatism and intentionally kept in a state of prejudice based on ignorance; ignorance of conservatism, economics, capitalism, private enterprise, free markets, fiscal and personal responsibility, tax issues, opportunity and American exceptionalism. This is a failure on the part of conservative leadership, its paucity in Academia and the mass communications media and its attendant inability to exert leadership or influence on a national scale. I don't know how best to go about fixing this but fix it we must or our America will become a historical anomaly in the not too distant future. Accepting this reality would be a good place to begin.

  • Ghostwriter

    I think because the President convinced more people that he cared about them than the Republicans did. That's what happened.

    • Viet Vet

      Weak and pathetic people worry about the federal government "caring" about them. To the extent that the federal government is supposed to care about people, it is in carrying out their oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.

  • Obama Guy

    More pathetic nonsense. The GOP deliberately created your "Debt Crisis." Let us see now, cutting taxes
    twice under George Bush, not paying for two wars under Bush, refusing to cut payments to America's seniors under Bush (because many of those seniors vote Republican), expanding medicare and not paying for it (also under Bush), and doing nothing to re-regulate Wall Street so its abuses cause the economy to crash by 2007. And also, guess which party was in control of Congress in 2003 when they allowed paygo
    to lapse? And which party is asking for a trillion dollars more, over a decade in pentagon spending than
    the Joint Chiefs are asking for? Of course, it is all Obama's fault.

    • Viet Vet

      Ah but Mr Bush had a robust economy which owed itself to the tax cuts. Remember that Mr Bush inherited a downturned economy from Klinton, or have you forgotten the stock market crash of 2000. Then barely into his presidency he had the 9/ll attack, thanks again to Klinton's 8 years of islamofascist appeasement. No less an authority than bin Laden said that it was precisely Klinton's retreat from Somalia that emboldened them to begin planning the 9/11 attack. Klinton also had a chance to nail bin Laden when the Seals had him in their sights. All that was necessary to take him out was the go ahead. But Klinton got word that the call was coming and hid out, until the window had passed. This we know, because Klinton's National Security Advisor, Sandy Burger, said so. Burger as you may recall, later got the name Burglar, when he stole documents from the national archives and destroyed them.

      .

    • Viet Vet

      Then Mr Bush had two major hurricanes. Still, like Mr Reagan, his tax cuts infused the economy and unemployment stayed below 5% (Mr Bush created 10 million new jobs), interest rates stayed low, good growth rate (in fact Mr Bush holds the record among presidents with the most consecutive years of good sustained growth (5). But all along the seeds Karter sowed with his CRA, and Klinton's putting it on Steroids (forced subprime lending) was beginning to bear fruit. The housing bubble thus created finally burst. GSE, Fanny Mae had bought up $6 trillion of this bad paper and federal regulators had been warning for 4 or 5 years that it was fast becoming insolvent. Further they testified, Fanny's managers were cooking the books in order to give themselves huge bonuses. Fanny's managers were Klinton cronies, such as Franklin Raines, Jamie Gorelick, and Jim Johnson. It turned out that Fanny was a cash-cow for democraps, handing out cash campaign donations, with the largest recipients being Obummer and Chris Dodd.

    • Viet Vet

      At a 2005 House Banking Committee meeting, the regulators testifed to these circumstances and republicans wanted to reform Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, but democraps shouted them down with charges of racism, Frankln Raines was black. Democraps charged that it was all about lynching Franklin Raines. This meeting was carried by C-Span and can likely still be seen. Also the Press Conference with HUD Secty Andew Cuomo, where he announced Klinton's putting the force of the federal government behind the CRA was televised on C-Span and I still found it in 2008.

    • Viet Vet

      Expenditure for War, National Defense, and Military spending is CONSTITUTIONAL. Entitlement spending is NOT. If you were smart enough to look at a pie chart of the U.S. budget, you would find the Defense budget miniscule compared to entitlements. The Defense budget is currently (before Obummer's devastating cuts) is at an almost all time low, at 4.5% of GDP. Yes, I know that if Gore would have been able to steal the 2000 election, he would have continued the Islamofascist appeasement and not gone after al Qaeda and the Taliban. Neither would have Obummer. They, like you, don't recognize that they are waging war against us. That was a point that the 9/11 Commission made.

      The seminary work has been done on the economic fiasco by Gretchen Morgenson, Business Editor of the NY Slimes: Reckless Endangerment.

  • Obama Guy

    The GOP is an incoherent mess for the reasons stated above. The first mental step to ending the anguish of you folks is to admit it. But I do enjoy seeing it. Karma is a bitch.

    • Viet Vet

      Karma is voo doo, only atheists believe in it.

  • 7orion

    This is more than just good, it is GREAT.

  • Don Genson

    The problem is both a Federal government that has forgotten the 10th amendment and a Supreme Court that for over one hundred years has deemed everything constitutional as long as it's considered to be the 'will of the people'. Federal social programs are the source of our looming economic debt crisis. But Congress and the Administration cannot see beyond the next election cycle. Plus the Feds can engage in both deficit spending and printing money, a costly combination that enables them to keep kicking the can down the road.
    Not so with the States. If the Feds were forced to cede social programs back to the States (I know, I live in never-never land), then each State with a balanced budget requirement would prioritize it's social program spending within the confines of it's operating budget.
    As James Madison said in Federalist Paper #45, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."

    • Viet Vet

      Exactly….but the problem, even though still unconstitutional, where 'the will of the people' goes is that the determination of that is in bogus polls, constructed polls. Such as the faux polls that PEW did with the Campaign Finance Reform thing. They didn't run polls, just made them up to influence republicans to finally go along with bogus campaign finance reform. Both President Bush and the Supreme Court fell in line too. The democrappers of course were in on the hoax and had their 527's, which they got installed in the legislation, that did an end run on the "reform", all up and running. President Bush would have lost to John F'n sKerry, recipient of a less than honorable discharge from the Navy, if not for the quick action of the Swift Boat Veterans (and the thousands upon thousands of dollars from veterans like myself) in getting a 527 of their own up and running.

  • NAHALKIDES

    Although Thornton makes some good points about what we're up against – basically, the Left's offer to the voter of security in exchange for his freedom – he overstates the Republican Party's attempt to fight this battle. Mitt Romney just ran as non-ideological campaign as would have been possible against someone as radical as Obama, presenting himself as someone who could run the economy better. While this was certainly true, it wasn't enough, and it's clear now that to have any chance of beating the Left, we have to run a more ideological, pro-freedom campaign.

    Notice that Romney rarely mentioned we were on the path to destruction, didn't bring up the debt or Obamacare very much, etc. Until someone does that (even Gingrich didn't do so consistently) we can't safely reach the conclusion that Thornton does here.

  • mlcblog

    It continues to dismay me as I observe even the wisest of pundits and the news media in general conceding that O won this election fair and square. The cheating was well known and well documented, and I know that it is not good form to bellyache about something we cannot quite prove or have sway over, but I would like to see notes that question the validity of the outcome if only for the sake of argument. We had at least as many (half) of the people on our side and were defeated at the polls only because of certain shenanigans. I think we will do well to remember this.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Precisely accurate observation!!!……………………..William

      • Viet Vet

        The left's investment in voter fraud is certainly nothing new. The 2000 election was the highest profile of it, but they have been doing it for many more years before that.

        • Viet Vet

          Highest profile until 2008 and 2012 that is.

          • Viet Vet

            We know today, for example, that Nixon actually won the 1960 election.