Allahpundit at Hot Air has a roundup of punditry’s reaction to the elections. Aggie’s observation that conservatism had a great night is true, but the rush of opinion to fill the void of meaning is mixed, to say the least.
Conservative cheerleaders declare this yet another rejection of Obama’s policies, as in 2010 and 2014, taken out on hapless Democrats around the country. Certainly, Obama, anti-coal and pro-socialized medicine, was poison in Kentucky. When you add up the national losses for the Democrats under Obama, the numbers are staggering:
Under President Obama, Democrats have lost 900+ state legislature seats, 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats. That’s some legacy.
Go ahead, conservatives, spike the football. We’ve earned it. But then look up at the scoreboard: Obama’s still winning. And by extension, so are the Democrats. On her personal failings alone, Hillary Clinton deserves obscurity, not the presidency. If Obama is as unpopular across the country as we’d like to believe, his legacy certainly won’t help her. Yet I believe Aggie still sees her as the prohibitive favorite to win. I don’t have a strong counter-argument.
Here are some thoughts. One, more voters turn out for presidential elections than for off-year elections, and more voters tends to mean more low-information, i.e. liberal, voters. The bulk of Republican gains across the country came in non-presidential elections. They are still gains, but they are hard to sustain in presidential cycles, much less do they lead to the brass ring of the top job itself.
But ask yourselves, conservatives: do you feel like you’re winning? I don’t, and I wonder why that is. One obvious reason is that the media will never, ever—ever—let you believe conservatism is winning. If you believe the narrative—big mistake—Republicans may have won individual battles, but have already lost the war. To go along with that, the national Republican leadership (using Republican and conservative synonymously, also a big mistake) are as whipped a crew as you can imagine. We gave Republicans the House, and then we gave them the Senate; they have two-thirds of the governorships and two-thirds of the state legislatures. Yet how have they stopped Obama’s relentless push of his radical agenda? About the only conservatives I can think of who can consistently out-talk the liberal media are Ted Cruz and the late Tony Snow; occasionally Fiorina, occasionally Rubio. Trump shouts over the media, which is a different thing.
There’s also Obama’s personal popularity. People who don’t like ObamaCare (me!) and don’t like his lawlessness toward illegal immigration (me! me!) are still loath to loathe him personally (not me!). That may give Republicans pause today, but the magic expires at the end of his presidency. Hillary gets no benefit from it, nor does she deserve to. Democrats picked Obama over Hillary eight years ago for a reason. Indeed, much as we like Obama (not we as in you and me, but they, them), we are probably happy to see the back of him after eight years. That sentiment does not help the next man or woman in line. Ask Al Gore.
I’d love to see a true conservative (Cruz) win the nomination to offer a stark contrast between the parties. But I would accept almost any of the serious contenders, minus Bush (who’s not a serious contender for much longer, if he ever was). My heart (or is it my brain?) tells me we could win that election, but my brain (or is it my heart?) says keep dreaming.