Mitt Romney wasn’t a bad candidate. He ran a fairly strong race. He made a few errors. And he made many good moves.
Certainly he was adequate. And he was probably the strongest Republican candidate among the primary field of contenders. That is, he was the best man available to run against Barack Obama.
And he did a pretty good job.
Obama, on the other hand, was a horrible candidate. He was mean and vindictive. He was contemptuous and superficial. He ran on irrelevancies like abortion and a fictitious Republican war against women. He didn’t give his supporters any reason to feel good about themselves.
Instead, he used class warfare to stir them to hatred of their countrymen.
Yet Obama won. And Romney lost.
In retrospect it is possible that the race was over before it began. A strong case can be made that Obama secured his reelection in 2009 when he bailed out the US auto industry and so temporarily stanched the hemorrhage of jobs in Ohio and Michigan. And maybe, with the youth of the 1960s now the Medicare recipients of the 2010s and ’20s, there are simply too many Americans dependent on government handouts to care about what happens in the future.
An equally strong case can be made that Romney lost the election before he secured the Republican nomination. He may have squandered his chances when he took a strong position against illegal immigration in one of the early Republican primary debates and so arguably made winning Florida, and perhaps Colorado, a mathematical impossibility.
Many have argued that demography is destiny.
And the American electorate has changed tremendously in the past decade. Government dependency among the white working class has grown. Government dependency among an aging population and a rising tide of single-parent families has grown. And the Latino share of the vote has grown. Today some are arguing that Republicans today simply cannot win the presidency, regardless of their candidate.
All of this is important because for the past four years, most Republicans, and most non-leftists throughout the world, had been hoping that the Obama years would be an aberration. They had hoped and trusted that he would be a one-term president. All the policies he enacted during that term, on domestic and foreign policy alike, would be reversed by his Republican successor, elected by voters who understood they had been taken in by a huckster in 2008. The US economy – the anchor of US power and the engine of the international financial system – would come roaring back.
In international affairs, the US would reverse course. It would stop supporting the rise of its enemies from the Middle East to Asia to Latin America. It would embrace its allies. The former would be weakened. The latter would be secured and strengthened. America would be safe and defended.
Alas, apparently it could not be. The American spirit has been overwhelmed by the European model of social democracy at home and appeasement and treachery abroad.
But all the dependency champions who celebrated on Tuesday night cannot stop the coming storm. The greatest advantage Obama had going into the election was not demography but the fact that the full consequences of his statist economic policies and his pro-jihadist foreign policy have not yet been felt.
Nationalized healthcare will only be fully implemented in 2014. Americans will only begin watching old men and women die because the federal government denied them lifesaving, but expensive, treatments a year from now. They will only lose their doctors due to dwindling Medicare reimbursements in a year.
College students who got out the vote for Obama will only find themselves doomed to low-paying jobs and a life of indebtedness as they fail year in and year out to pay off their college loans, in a year or two. And by the time they realize what it means to be saddled with a national debt of $16 trillion, they will be locked into a government-controlled economy that requires them to keep their silence or lose their livelihoods.
THEN THERE are the consequences of Obama’s foreign policies. The attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi exposed the failure of his strategy of appeasing jihadists and had the potential to sink his presidency by turning suburban voters against him in places like Pennsylvania. But lucky for him, the Benghazi debacle was small enough for the media to hide from the electorate.
Sure a US ambassador and three others were murdered. But four is not a very large number.
And it was over in a day.
It will be harder for Obama to contain the damage of his foreign policy when Iran gets nuclear weapons and begins molesting US shipping in the Persian Gulf as gas prices rise to $10 a gallon. It will be harder for Obama to hide the effect of his foreign policy when American tourists in Egypt are massacred or held hostage and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood government demands the release of the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in exchange for intervention.
It will be harder for Obama to hide the dangers of his foreign policy when the Taliban return to power in Afghanistan and al-Qaida rebuilds its training camps. It will be harder for Obama to blame his failure on hapless American filmmakers when Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is controlled by a Taliban-aligned government that seeks a nuclear war with India. It will be harder for Obama to protect America with a gutted, demoralized military, demobilized under his command.
Rather than contend with these calamities, Obama and his statist, pro-Islamist supporters and advisers will blame their critics. Just as they blamed – and jailed – an American filmmaker for Ambassador Stevens’s murder, so they will blame overworked doctors, struggling hospital administrators, “partisan” lawmakers and “Islamophobic, neoconservative warmongers,” for the domestic decline and international mayhem Obama’s policies will necessarily cause.
With the critical election lost, Republicans have a very hard and thankless task before them. They have to do the hard work of opposing his policies with dwindling resources. They have the job of energizing, inspiring and expanding a base that is demoralized. They have the job of explaining to wavering citizens why the Republican alternative puts America on the right track.
Conservatives need to prepare the ground for their return to power. They need to make the arguments for ending the welfare state. They need to make the arguments for destroying the ascendant – and politically savvy – forces of jihad at home and abroad. They need to argue against defense cuts even as the Obama-appointed Joint Chiefs of Staff abandon strategic reason for personal promotions.
And they need to write the books, produce the movies, found the television stations, and prepare the school curricula that will enable a future resurrection of the American dream.
AS MOST people know, Israel, as the forward base of freedom in the Muslim world, is the first target of the Obama-supported, ascendant forces of jihad. As a consequence, Israel will be the first to feel the repercussions of Obama’s policies of appeasement and empowerment of Iran and
the Muslim Brotherhood.
the Muslim Brotherhood.
Certainly, this is a horrible situation. But just as demographics have changed America, so they are changing Israel. Rising anti-Semitism and economic decline in Europe have dramatically increased immigration rates to Israel, and those rates will only grow as the situation on the continent worsens. In contrast to the rest of the West, Israelis have become more religious, readier to embrace the free market and more eager to compete in talent and productivity. While Americans have joined Europe in dwindling fertility rates, Israelis have matched the fertility levels of their Arab neighbors.
Israel’s demographic and economic power have been largely ignored and undervalued.
But the time has come to use them for all they are worth. As America enters its age of dependency and decline, Israel must end its age of dependency on America and begin to depend on itself. That does not mean that Israel won’t cooperate with America. But as America’s foreign policy becomes indistinguishable from Europe’s, Israel will increasingly need to take its fate in its own hands.
We need to expand the size of the IDF ground forces. We need to expand the size of the navy.
We should reinstate the Lavi jet fighter project.
We need to expand our independent offensive missile programs, developing a serious cruise missile arsenal. And we need to promote a new generation of generals that is not psychologically dependent on their American counterparts.
As for the Palestinians, and the international, leftist anti-Israel cottage industry that supports and feeds off of them, the time has come to take our demographic advantage for a spin. As we decrease our psychological dependence on America, we need to increase our trust in ourselves.
We need to staunchly defend and assert our rights to our land. And we must exercise our right to defeat those who deny our rights and seek our national destruction.
In other words, we need to begin applying Israeli law in Judea and Samaria.
True, talk is cheap. We can expect – indeed we were warned to expect – for Obama to turn on Israel immediately after the election.
Obama can be expected to dispatch his political advisers to Israel to run the Left’s electoral campaign with the goal of defeating Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and paving the way for the return to power of the socialist, appeasement-crazed Israeli Left. We can expect the State Department, (under the guidance of New Israel Fund alumni) to renew its attacks against Israel’s religious institutions and the Jews of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. We can expect the US to abandon us at the UN. We can expect the US military to undermine any Israeli strike against Iran.
No one said any of this will be easy. But difficult is not the same as impossible. Within a year, the consequences of Obama’s failed domestic and foreign policies will make him weaker rather than stronger than he was in his first term. He will be hard pressed to pressure Israel when the US loses its leadership role in the Muslim Brotherhood- dominated Middle East. And Israel’s independence of action will consequently grow.
Our side suffered a massive loss on Tuesday.
But as long as we keep our minds and hearts focused on the fundamental goodness and truth that guide our path, we will not be defeated. We will endure, persevere and in due course, we will be vindicated.
Note to my readers: I am currently writing a book in which I describe the strategic course Israel and the US should take in relation to the Palestinians. To complete my work in a timely fashion, I am taking a leave of absence from my column until next spring.
Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.