Congratulations to Mitt Romney for having conducted a disciplined and idealistic campaign of great consequence for the country, even if he did not prevail. He is such a good and generous man that the defeat is very hard on all of the people that saw in him a combination of talents that the country desperately needed. Nature intervened after he had successfully overcome all the powers of incumbency, but he and his team –and especially his remarkable and wonderful family– sacrificed so much and worked so hard that is very difficult not to feel disillusioned with a country so unwilling to confront its deep problems and trust a virtuous man to lead it.
President Obama’s speech tonight was gracious and optimistic, and we have to hope he does move to the center because as Congressman John Campbell said on the program tonight, the GOP is not going to accept a slow move towards socialism. The president won re-election, but not a mandate. Not even close. This wasn’t 1984 much less 1964 or 1936. The GOP owes Mitt Romney and the all of his supporters the continued control of the House, and for that we should be very grateful.
I suspect the bruising political battles of the past four years will continue unabated because the country did not choose one course or the other, and the president’s re-election was so remarkably narrow and built on such a precariously empty agenda and so many tricks and sleights of hand that it is hard to imagine what he will want other than comprehensive immigration reform, which of course will do nothing to address the fiscal woes engulfing us. The rot of Obamacare will spread, and the regulatory maximalists will press forward with their ruinous agendas, and the House will not be in a position to stop the unelected rule-makers anymore than the president can force through his devastating tax agenda. We have a stalemate at hand, but what will be necessary is for the GOP to set its sights immediately on 2014 and recruit candidates for the Senate with the capacity to negotiate a fully partisan MSM. One weak link much less two or three can and do cripple entire elections. Whomever replaces Senator Cornyn at the head of the NRSC will have to start tomorrow to think through this challenge because we have to get the Senate in 26 months.
Ideas will matter more than ever, and their effective presentation even more so. The bad news is that Paul Ryan remains in the House. The good news is that he remains in the House, and that the rising generation of governors remains incredibly talented and innovative and they add Mike Pence to their number. I hope that Reince Preibus can be persuaded to stay at the RNC and improve on the very good machine he helped Mitt Romney build. It will be easier on the GOP the next time as the Democrats must suffer through their own succession battle as did the GOP in 2008, and they will have to do so as the economy grows even more stagnant.
Will stagflation come? Almost certainly yes, and the brutal reality of the fiscal hole the president dug will descend, and rather quickly. Will healthcare rationing arrive in the form of the IPAB? Yes, and seniors and their families will be shocked by the consequences. Will there be a crisis of confidence in our debt, and another panic? I hope not but rational people have to assume so.
My biggest worry is four more years of starving our military, and here the House must simply say no, even if it forces the showdown that the GOP strove so hard to avoid for fear that it would wreck their political chances. It is the Speaker’s and Leader McConnell’s first duty to make sure the military gets what it must have.
Pray for the president and the Congress and yes, with special zeal, for the health of the Supreme Court. We are in uncharted waters, but the Framers were geniuses, and we will see if that wisdom surpassed even what we had previously appreciated.