Op-Ed: WESTERN FRONT: Game Called due to Darkness
A week ago we sat waiting out the storm when the lights flickered and went out. One moment we were sitting in a lit room, the television flashing picture and sound, the internet feeding news, and then we were in the dark.
At first we expected the lights to come on at any minute. Any hour. Any day. And then living without water or power, day after day, it seemed as if the light would never come back.
And then, unexpectedly, after almost a week, they did.
The lights have gone out in America now. They may come back. They may not. It's up to us. No one is going to come help us do it. Other countries have America. We have ourselves.
I did not predict any Romney landslides. I did not engage in empty cheers or promise that he would win half the country and restore moral leadership. That's not what my site is about. My site is about the hard truths and now as we sit in the dark, let's pass out some of those around the room.
We can blame Chris Christie, Sandy or Romney's last debate performance. But let's look at the actual election.
Romney outlasted the primaries because he was the most electable. Two blue state politicians, as bland and inoffensive as possible, ran on the economy, not on war or social issues, and managed to convince many Democrats that they could fix the economy. He got a white turnout to match that of Ronald Reagan and crowded rallies. And none of it was enough.
Romney had an excellent machine. But Obama had the bigger machine that was more than a collection of SuperPACs. It was the urban political machine, with its suburban tentacles, fed by taxpayer money and integrated into every budget. The time when it could be beaten the old way may be passing.
The people who came out to worship Obama stayed home. Romney's rallies drew big crowds. But when all was said and done, the lines of people who feed off the political machine were there, and the handlers of the machine cast their multiple votes and carried off their manifold frauds because their own private economy depended on it.
Every time people ask me why the left has such a grip on this country, my answer is because they worked for it. It's the answer that most people don't want to hear, but it's true. The left has been planning this for a while. They have been playing the long game, building the infrastructure and indoctrinating generations. And to beat them, we will have to do the same thing.
The right is 40 years behind the left and it remains a disorganized collection of potentials seeking a compass point. The "right" that got behind Mitt Romney consists of millionaires who want fewer regulations and easier imports from China, of social conservatives who are mainly ignored, except when voter turnout becomes an issue, libertarians who want more freedoms, and the non-ideological small business middle class and the struggling working class sensing their country and way of life slipping away from them.
Those groups could be welded together into a movement every bit as tribal and protective of its interests, capable of engaging in collective action on behalf of its own interests, as the urban machine vote. And that may already be happening with the Tea Party. But the counter-revolution of the bourgeoisie isn't here yet. And there's plenty of work to do to make it a reality.
The Republican establishment had its shot, twice. It put up moderate non-objectionable candidates. And it lost. It has no policies, beyond keeping the system going, and it has no ideas and no agenda, besides winning. It is a decadent political class fused with an even more decadent pundit class that views elections like these as a game, not as a life-and-death matter. It makes up lies and tells them to its base and hopes that the base will then forgive and forget being lied to and used one more time.
It's not done, by any stretch of the imagination. Right now, Christie is patting himself on the back and drawing up a list of advisers for a 2016 run. And a dozen equally loathsome personalities are doing the same thing. And they may even get their way. But that doesn't really matter. This is a long game and to win it, we have to think long term.
Moderation does not win elections. If you think it does, go look at the smirking face of Barack Obama. And then imagine him running for office back when Bill Ayers was building bombs. America's new rulers were once considered far more extreme and unpopular than the Tea Party. Embracing radical and unpopular ideas is not a losing strategy. It is a short term losing strategy and a long term winning strategy so long as your ideas can be used to build a movement capable of turning those ideas into an organizing force.
The question is whether a right-wing movement can emerge that will make the vast majority of small businessmen in this country feel as negatively about a Democratic president as welfare voters feel about a Republican president?
This election has come close to testing that proposition. The time has come to test it further. The left went after gun owners, the way that it went after business owners, and the NRA used its hostility to build a powerful coalition of gun owners who broke the will of the elected left and made them turn on easier prey.
The key is organization. The left built its machines by convincing entire groups that they had a binding interest in a reflexive opposition to Republicans under a Democratic umbrella. Consolidating an opposition based on the same principles, that same sense that its financial oxygen will be cut if the Democrats win, is doable. But it cannot begin and end with the financials.
This is a cultural war and living in denial of that is senseless. Those social issues? They belong on the table. Because the alternative is that the table will belong to the left and we will be stuck arguing the level of regulation that is appropriate in a society whose entire moral imperative is based on the values of regulation.
Most people, left and right, want a society based on values. Opting out of the values debate means that we lose by default. Yes some of that is unpopular. It will make some elections unwinnable. Much like supporting gay marriage twenty years ago. The left kept going and it won because that is how the game is played.
These are all building blocks, but they are still scattered pieces. The right I am describing is based on the left. It is the mirror image, a counter-revolutionary pushback against the left's intrusions into the lives, values and work of its people. And that isn't enough. A counter-revolution that is reactive will fail. It is why the Romney campaign was doomed from the start. It is why the Tea Party isn't enough. It's not enough to be against things. It's not enough to be for things because they are the opposite of the things that the people you are at war with are for.
A movement needs a deeper sense of passion. It must be fueled by a certainty that it holds the answer to the problems of its society and its civilization. It must believe that its existence would be necessary even if the left did not exist. And it must be willing to do anything to win.
This is not a mere battle of elections. The left occupied and won other fields long before it had a shot at doing anything like taking power. It is first of all a battle of ideas. And it is a battle of structures. And that means a conservative cultural war will be necessary and conservative structures must be built within the system. Rather than making arguments, we must create facts on the ground.
That's a tall order and we are way behind. And tactics like these are not very palatable to many of us, because they resemble what the left does. They would rather expect people to naturally do the right thing. And that's nice. I would very much like people to do the right thing. I would like to stop by one of those long lines that I saw today at the polls, almost as long as the one for free government stuff, and show them a graph of the national debt and the debt that their children will owe. I would like to think that it would change their minds. But I know better... and so do you.
The left got this far by having a plan. We will either find a plan or we will be gone. America will go the way of Latin America, with gated communities, conservative oligarchs, violent ghettos and red politicians screaming about power to the people. There will be no law, just men with guns and newspapers, and generals in convenient positions, and suitcases full of cocaine in the right hands. If you like this system, it's probably only a generation away. Given enough immigration from south of the border-- maybe less. And then California turns into Brazil and America turns into California.
We can stop this, but we won't do it without building a movement that can stand up to the left, without assembling machines that will bring together many of the same people who voted for Obama, and we won't do it if we are too afraid of the consequences of fighting a culture war with the left to get started.
It is dark now. On my side of the coast, the time approaches 1 AM. The dark end of one day and the beginning of a new day. It all depends on how you look at things.
Revolutions are not born out of success, they are born out of despair. They rise out of the dark hours of the night. They come from the understanding that all the other options are running out. Sometimes you have to fall down to rise and sometimes you have to hit bottom, to gather one last breath and fight to reach the top.
This is still a wonderful country. It is the finest place that this civilization has produced. Despite the events of the last day, it is worth fighting for.