Conservatives have a rare opportunity tomorrow to do something they signally failed to do in the landslide elections of 1972 and 1984: finish the job. Nixon’s victory was vitiated by Watergate and quickly revenged by Woodward and Bernstein, leading to his replacement in 1974 by Jerry Ford, a man who exactly nobody thought was qualified to be president of the United States, probably including Ford himself. Ford led to Jimmy Carter, whose ineptitude and weakness in turn lead to Ronald Reagan, who swept Carter away in 1980 and then smashed Walter Mondale and the Democrats to powder in 1984.
And then, having won a famous victory, conservatives went home and left it to the establishment GOP in the form of another man who never should have been president, George H. W. Bush, to fritter away the fruits of ideological victory and be supplanted by Bill Clinton.
In retrospect, of course, William Jefferson Blythe III was Pericles of Athens compared to Barack Obama, who far more than Clinton has revealed the true face of contemporary American left-liberalism in all its coercive ugliness: a blizzard of executive orders; the deployment of the regulatory agencies that have (in the words of the Declaration of Independence) “sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance”; and the naked Marxist appeals to race and class envy. The most anti-American of American presidents has run the most un-American of campaigns.
And that, by rights, should be it. That it’s not explains the alarm of conservatives whose view of patriotism is that they love their country as it is, not as they wish it might someday be. From Day One of the Obama administration, real conservatives understood the explicit threat of “fundamental change,” whose meaning can now be clearly discerned in Obama’s “revenge” remark; for the Left, “revenge” is precisely what this election is all about. For them and their voting-bloc constituents, it’s payback time: payback for slavery and segregation; payback for poverty; payback for foreign wars; payback for restrictive immigration laws. They’ve long used the goals of the civil-rights movement — which after all was directed precisely against Democrats – and the Vietnam-era “anti-war” movement — which arose in opposition to the foreign policy of the Democrats — as wedges with which to crack the larger social structure and now, so close to realizing the ultimate expression of “critical theory” — that everything about America stinks — they and their media allies are doing their best to swing one last election for Obama.
Mitt Romney is an imperfect standard bearer, but tomorrow he is the army we have. Elsewhere, I’ve predicted a Romney victory and even a retake of the Senate, despite the breathtaking tactical stupidity of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, both of whom needlessly wandered into the mine field of social issues (where the media is guaranteed 100 percent arrayed against them) and blew their own feet off. But, should Romney win, he can’t simply assume the vote was a mandate for putting America back to work, and then do his corporate-turnaround thing. If he wins, if his victory is beyond the margin of David Axelrod’s ability to cheat, Mitt needs to understand that a considerable portion of his vote was not only anti-Obama but anti-Obamaism, that it was a repudiation of everything the Marxist Left and its bien-pensant fellow travelers in the media stand for. And, most important, that going forward, it’s a call to substantially reduce their influence on the body politic.
The duel between “progressivism” — which is really just anti-Constitutionalism — and patriotic loyalty to the Republic as founded has been going on for a century. And the record of the “progressives” has been a disgrace, from Woodrow Wilson’s resegregation of the military, through FDR’s corrupt bargain with gangland that helped him secure the Democratic nomination in 1932 over Al Smith, through DNC member Bull Connor’s fire-hosing of civil-rights marchers. A political philosophy that masquerades as compassion and the alleviation of misery instead results in its prolongation, the better to create a permanent underclass of dependent voters (Tammany Hall developed the template more than a century ago), and the modern GOP establishment has signally failed to point that out. But through the miracle of media jiu-jitsu, all these enormities have been rolled off on the GOP, a neat trick that allows Democrats to effectively run against themselves and still blame it on the other guy.
A vote for Romney tomorrow is a vote against all that. It’s not just a vote for president; it’s a vote in favor of reformation of the media and the universities, hotbeds of propaganda and indoctrination, often subsidized by the government, and both in the thrall and in the service of the Frankfurt School “narrative,” of which Barack Obama so clearly approves. It’s a vote for the restoration of standards — the Left calls it “repression” — in our popular culture, for the acknowledgment of the role of religion in public life, for the rollback of the federal leviathan and its constant intrusions into the lives of American citizens.
It’s not enough for the GOP to win tomorrow. It needs to win big, a win so convincing that even the Left won’t be able to explain it away. The definition of victory in war is not a 50.1 percent majority that allows the other side to keep fighting — it’s the battleship Missouri, on whose deck the losing side signs articles of capitulation. The modern Left — the unholy spawn of ’30s gangland and ’60s academic Marxism — must be forced to its knees in surrender.
There’s a honored place in our political system for a leftist party, one that pushes for improvement in areas that need improving, but not one devoted to revolutionary “fundamental change.” A vote for Romney tomorrow is a vote against the socialist elements that seized control of the JFK/Scoop Jackson Democratic party in 1972, and has worked against America’s best interests ever since. A vote for Romney tomorrow is a vote for a restoration of the old Jacksonian — Andrew, that is — Democratic party, a true populist party shorn of its Communist accretions that is every bit as all-American as the other guys. Unless and until this happens, though, the modern donkeys will continue their war on the Constitution, convinced they are on the side of the angels, and taking solace in the late Ted Kennedy’s words, “the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.”
It’s up to the electorate tomorrow to show them that the dream is really a nightmare, from which it’s time to awake, that the cause of America always endures, and the work of restoring our founding principles begins anew today.