-First, to my fellow conservatives and to everyone else . . . breath. This was not a wipe-out, this was not 2008. Mitt Romney came within several points in several states of winning VA, FL, and OH. He made up a lot of ground that McCain lost for us, percentage-wise, and I believe ran the best campaign he possibly could.
-Romney was not the worst candidate . . . he was the best of what was offered to us (except Ron Paul ;-P). When our choices were Gingrich, Cain, Bachmann, and Santorum are the main opposition; its no wonder most Republicans went to Romney. The only candidate who could have stopped him was Rick Perry, but he threw up all over himself early on for whatever reason. It reminds me so much of John Kerry in every way. Kerry ran a very strong race and would have won almost any other year. I feel the same way about Romney, that he if he ran that race in others years he might have done enough to win. He kept his campaign focused, picked a good running-mate, and made no major gaffes.
-The Senate Republican leadership is a disaster. Mitch McConnell is an ineffective turtle of a leader, John Cornyn took credit for Tea Party victories in 2010 and then took loses that were his fault this year. While many point to Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock; George Allen, Tommy Thompson, Denny Rehberg, and Rick Berg were all establishment candidates 100% supported by the NRSC and Cornyn. The only establishment winner last night was Dean Heller while the Tea Party can claim credit for Ted Cruz and Deb Fischer. Right now Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman are fighting to replace Cornyn but I would like to see more leadership turnover. Cornyn and McConnell have had their chance, twice, to take back the Senate in favorable years and have failed. Results matter.
-The 2006 Democratic Class ALL won reelction - Klobucher, Tester, Kaine (standing in for Webb), Sherrod Brown, Casey, and Whitehouse all got reelected. Impressive.
-In the House, things settled back down to their natural state. Some of the more longshot candidates (Craavack in MN) and outrageous (West in FL) have gone down but most of the GOP gains in 2010 have held. I'm excited about some of the new blood, specifically liberty candidate Thomas Massie, and I think some of the more outlandishness of the House will slow. Everyone is now an election older.
-All the criticism of of the GOP's demographics is correct, but the solution isn't necessarily to go lurching to the left. On two issues, however, the GOP is bleeding out badly - gay marriage and immigration. I was talking to the guys in my office, everyone is in their 20s and we have about 30 people in my bullpen, I would say every single one of them is in favor of marriage equality. Some are Republican, some are Democrat . . . this is a generation issue. Younger people of my generation and below have grown up more attuned and aware of homosexuality and are more open about it. This is a losing issue because, I believe, its becoming something of a settled opinion among younger voters that will only grow.
-As for immigration, Romney did really hurt himself in the primary. When your to the right of Rick Perry on the issue, its a problem. We have to stop lying to ourselves that Hispanic voters will vote for us because we are pro-life and anti-gay marriage as a party. That shit isn't as important as a relative who came here for a better life and is apparently going to be "self-deported." I understand it is "against the law," but when I think of breaking the law I think of murder and rape and embezzlement, I don't necessarily believe it is folks trying to make a better life for themselves. We are telling many Hispanic voters that their family and friends do not belong here. No social issue will make up for that blight. The DREAM Act, specifically the portion about allowing kids brought here by their parents, is something the GOP must reconcile ourselves with. We are cutting our nose off to spite our face. If students have gone through our schools and we have invested in them their entire lives, forcing them to leave seems counter-productive. I am interested to see if Sens. Rubio and Cruz, with the help of western Govs. Sandoval and Martinez, can craft our message on this.
-We should not abandon our dedication to life. But we need to find a new language to communicate this message. Old, turkey-necked white men like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock are not the faces we need on the life issue. Mourdock's gaffe was more forgivable because I understood what he meant, Akin's comment was just as bizarre as it was ignorant. It was a disgrace to principled supporters of life who deserve to have our views explained better. What the left was able to do was lump being pro-life in with being somehow pro-rape. Any time the word "rape" comes up in a campaign, it can't end well. "Rape and incest" is a perfectly reasonable exception because its a trap, a trap to make being pro-life seem extreme when its not. Being pro-life by itself is on the ballot, we can win. But when we allow being pro-life to be mixed up with somehow condoning physical attacks on women, we will lose every time. Issues like contraception and Planned Parenthood are giant mistakes to engage in because our inherent pro-life position is lost. We need to learn from what Akin and Mourdock allowed to happen to themselves and understand how to fix it. But we should NEVER run away or be ashamed to support all life and believe that all life is sacred.
-As for young voters, we don't need to look far. The liberty movement/Ron Paul movement has tremendous support of younger voters. Too many establishment Republicans and conservatives think that Ron Paul's supporters are just a bunch of anti-war, Occupy rabble. Granted, they are there, but at its heart Paul is talking about economic freedom in a way that young people understand. This is a generation that is coming of age in a bankrupt America, often some are coming back from wars they aren't sure why or who they are fighting, and their sacrifice is not paying any dividends. Paul understands that it is the young people that are fighting wars and it is something that we shouldn't take so lightly. Paul has attracted young people to a message of economic freedom, limited governmnet, and social tolerance. While Paul himself is probably too raw for many Republicans, he has now passed from the scene. More political adept successors - his son Rand, Rep. Justin Amash - have a better understanding of politics and skill and explaining the message. It is imperative that the Republican Party embrace the liberty movement to move forward as a party. The liberty movement is conservativism for Generation X, Y, and millenials. Obviously it will be tweeked and changed and accomidated; but the blueprint is there for us.
-The Democrats won a victory, but a phyrric one. This was not a smashing mandate. It was teh American people saying we like you just a little bit more than them. This is a divided country that sent to Congress a divided representation. I think they need to be very careful.
Barack Obama: 2-terms!
Joe Biden: The Democratic Party might be held hostage by him now. He's popular, but the man would be a disaster as the party's nominee and even more so following eight years when fatigue always sets in. But he now has the inside track to the Democratic nomination.
The GOP Bench: In private moments I have no doubt that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Susana Martinez, and no doubt a few others smiled.
Conservatives: Whaaat? Romney's victory would have ensured at least 12 years of the party dominated by the establishmnet and conservatives/liberty/tea party grassroots would have been left out.
Harry Reid: The man is the king right now. His hold on the Senate continues to tighten and there is little the GOP can do about it.
John Boehner: He keeps his majority and loss less seats that many expected.
Nate Silver: Take THAT, Joe Scarborough!
Mitt Romney: He lost.
Paul Ryan: He lost, too. He'll go back to the House and will continue to be an effective chairman but the shine is off the apple. Obama has scoreboard on him. I think Ryan may end up being Speaker, but this hurts his national ambitions. The only losing VP candidate to be elected President in modern times was FDR and that was after 12 years. There are too many sharks in the water for Ryan to spend that much time.
Nancy Pelosi: I honestly wonder if the Democrats might have done well over the last three years in congressional elections with a more mainstream and charismatic leader. I cannot imagine her staying on as minority leader and expect to succesfull. She is just too polarizing and its clear that Obama is content to work with Boehner and Reid themselves.
The South: It has become isolated both politically and socially. Virginia and North Carolina are creeping away and the South is quickly become more isolated from the rest of the country on race and social issues.
-Conservative media: The anti-Obama obsession, combined with embracing Romney after attacking him for years, mad conservative media look silly and out of touch. Watching Fox News last night was almost sad.
-Democratic hopefuls: O'Malleyn and Cuomo (among others) will struggle for oxygen with a sitting Vice-President poised to run.