What the Conservative Movement Can Learn from the Democrats after the Ohio Failure
After facing defeat in Ohio, conservatives must not give up hope in implementing positive change. Conservatives should take a page out of the Democrats' handbook and learn to stick to one's candidates and ideology despite opposition and defeat.
Ohio is a swing state where both sides are in a constant battle for control, with the red in the purple bleeding away and the blue gaining a slight upper hand, and then back again. In 2010, Democrats were forced to swallow a bitter pill when Republican John Kasich won the heated campaign against the incumbent Democrat Governor Ted Strickland with a mere seventy seven thousand votes. The Republicans also overtook the control of the Assembly by a considerable margin and upped their previous majority in the Senate, thanks to the rising anti-Obama sentiments and the growth of the Tea Party.
With the Republicans in control of all three branches, they got straight to work to put the economy back on track. Ohio Senate Bill 5 was passed and signed into law at the end of March. Amongst other details it limited collective bargaining rights, required public employees to pay fifteen percent of their health care costs and ten percent of their wages toward their pensions. Additionally, pay would be based on performance, rather than qualifications and seniority.
To the Democrats and their union buddies, this bill was trouble from the start, and they did their utmost to prevent the bill from passing. Since they held only a minority in both houses, they couldn't prevent it from being passed. However, instead of raising their hands in defeat and promising their buddies to repeal it during the next election if they help get them back in power, they refused to resign to the facts and jumped to take additional steps.
They collected the necessary signatures to create a referendum, 6% of the votes cast in the most recent election, and succeeded in putting Issue 2 on the ballot. The Democrat machine then spent an astronomical nearly twenty million dollars to sway the general opinion against Issue 2, far outspending the six million spent by conservative groups. Tuesday, November 8th, the Democrats emerged victorious and undid that which the conservatives have accomplished after taking control of all three branches in 2010.
Is this a signal for conservatives to raise their hands in defeat? Absolutely not! At the contrary, Conservatives must remain energized, focused at the goal, and begin the process of reigning in government spending once again without delay. Furthermore, it's time to take a page from the Democratic handbook, memorize it, and follow it to the tee.
Number One: the left are extremely loyal to one another and to their cause, and will refuse to throw any single individual or cause under the bus despite extremely negative public opinion.
Number Two: the left remains focused, energized, and set to promote their liberal agenda even during the periods when they are not in power, have public opinion turned against them, and have already met repeated failure in the past in regard to that particular issue.
Liberals never lose sight of their goals. They wished to enforce socialized national healthcare and kept their focus on the target for over eighty years until, at last, they reached success. Their victory came after numerous attempts which ended in failed bills and lost elections, yet they refused to give up.
Why are Republicans so quick to lift their hands up in resignation? Republicans haven't yet received the opportunity to repeal ObamaCare, yet many have dropped the call to repeal it and instead adapted a repeal and/or replace ObamaCare slogan. Why? What will they replace or amend it with? Why not remain true to the original cause and fight for a complete repeal? Have Democrats ever caved in on their ideology? The Democrats in Ohio haven't attempted to replace parts of Section 2; they went for an outright repeal. Republicans are experts in expressing half - hearted support for their cause; enough to tell the conservative voters we tried our best, yet not enough to see true success. At the first hint of public opinion shifting Republican leaders shift right along with it, throwing their ideology and colleagues under the bus in order curry favor in the eyes of the media.
If Harry Reid had been an extreme conservative instead of the radical liberal he truly is, and 2010 would've been a tough year for Republican like 2006 and 2008 were, the Republicans would've demanded he resign and/or threatened to set him up with a competitive primary out of fear over losing his seat. Harry Reid was and is synonymous with ObamaCare, Cap & Trade, and everything else the radical left and Obama support. Unseating Reid, the Senate Majority Leader and partner in Obamacare, was top priority for Republicans, and with his poll figures in the tank appeared to be pretty probable. The Democrats, though, hadn't abandoned him or demanded him to resign; they backed his campaign 100% and ultimately ended up as the victors. Michael Bennett, senator of Colorado, faced a similarly tough battle against Republican Ken Buck, and he too along with many others received their party's backing. Bennett, too, emerged victorious.
Conservatives are often their own worst enemy. Many lack pride and confidence in their beliefs and ideology, and cringe at the slightest negative attack from without or within. Therefore, although they gained many seat in 2010 thanks to the tea party, in many instances the victories were despite the non-support or weak support of the Party Leaders. Conservatives such as Allen West and Ann Marie Buerkle are two current elected officials who won thanks to the support of Tammy Bruce, Sarah Palin, and local conservative tea partiers, and no-thanks to the Party Leaders.
When contrasting the behavior of the party leaders in the current primary to that of the Democrats, the results are simply astounding.
Jimmy Carter was elected president a mere thirty four years ago, and caused devastating destruction to the country in typical liberal fashion. Despite the negative public opinion his presidencygenerated, his one term presidency, and his defeat resulting in 8 years of Reagan, the Democrats didn't hesitate the slightest bit in throwing their support behind an equally or greater liberal, Barack Hussein Obama.
Counter their enthusiasm with the GOP's reluctance to support a true conservative despite the two terms and great popularity Reagan had enjoyed, which led to his VP winning one term, and the creation of an entire new group called Reagan Republicans. Can anyone picture a future President Rubio, Jindal, or Palin? Which true conservative does anyone see reaching the White House? If it will occur, one thing is certain: it won't come with the top of the party's backing, but will happen despite their opposition.
When Obama ran for the presidency in 2008 he did so without disparaging William Ayers or Jeremiah Wright due to the hatred they spewed and continue to spew against America and its values. Despite pressure from the right, the Democrats didn't demand their candidate do so. Nor will the left even consider dumping the low-polling Obama in favor of some other liberal out of fear that he's damaging their brand or will lose an election. Rather, they express pride in their weakest candidates and least popular ideas, and do their utmost to sway public opinion in their favor so that their candidates and ideas will emerge strengthened and victorious.
Conservatives must learn to act in a similar manner. Allowing the left and the media to set the narrative and destroy the cream of our crop will encourage the media to continue their vicious work and will lead to the crumbling of conservatism. If Republicans face defeat in 2012, which I hope won't happen, the media will immediately set out and target the two strongest conservatives who may likely run in 2016 and unload can-after-can of filth upon their heads. After all, if it worked in the past why not do it again? One can already see this occurring. As long as Palin was considering a presidential run, all barrels were aimed at her. After Palin announced she isn't running and the media congratulated each other on a job well done, they've turned to others including dumping one hit piece after another against the new rising conservative star, Marco Rubio. Their shift in focus is not the slightest bit coincidental.
Sarah Palin is the perfect example to portray the mishandling of the GOP in contrast to Democrats' superb handling of similar situations, precisely because she isn't running for the presidency. Palin had proven to be capable in calling out the Obama administration and its wrongdoings, promoting conservative ideology, and creating a large base of dedicated and enthusiastic supporters. The left and its shadow, the media, have exerted its every last ounce of effort to mock and distort her image, often resorting to outright lies. Instead of the GOP and all conservatives having focused on fighting back the false claims thrown at one of their leaders, many joined ranks with the media and labeled her as radioactive and unable to win an election should she run. They did so not because of her misdeeds since she has an impeccable record and has greatly helped the conservative cause, but out of fear of upsetting and contradicting the media and public opinion.
What many don't realize and must become aware of, is that they can help shift public perception as the left had done with Harry Reid and Michael Bennett. This can only be achieved through defending and lauding conservatism to the public. This currently includes repealing ObamaCare, overtaking the White House and the Senate, and decreasing the size of government via deregulation and the disposal of several of its agencies. At the same time conservatives must learn to back all their peers at every cost, even the cost of defeat, for defeat is temporary while having the wrong focus is death.
Abie Rubin blogs at The Thinking Voter.