David Rodeback's Blog

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Early Thoughts on Electoral Disaster

It's the wee hours of the night after a very disappointing election. Here are the thoughts I don't feel the need to sleep on, before I share them.

I predicted a minor Romney landslide. The actual result is a waking nightmare: a minor Obama landslide in the Electoral College, where it matters.

I stayed up long after the gleeful people on television had called the election for President Obama. I stayed up until the numbers actually justified that verdict, and then a little longer to hear Governor Romney and President Obama speak. Governor Romney spoke first, but I'll come to him second.

President Obama gave an excellent speech, saying just the sort of things a president should say. I wish I believed him. I wish his record and his campaign and his words did not not so conclusively prove that he does not, in any practical sense, believe most of what he said. But it was a fine speech.

Governor Romney spoke well and with dignity, gratitude, grace, and humility -- as he would have spoken in a victory speech, under other circumstances. For the duration of the campaign, the Democrats -- and for a while, his Republican opponents, and through it all, some libertarians -- found a hundred ways to call this uncommonly good man evil, and they spent tens of millions of dollars doing it. To do that is evil. To do that to a good man or woman is to invite the whirlwind.

Romney did not lash out in his speech tonight. He did not whine or complain. He briefly charted a serious, hopeful course for our future tonight, and did so more clearly than the victor did. My admiration is redoubled.

There's a certain urge to describe very candidly more of what I think and feel tonight. I've written out some of it already. But I'm going to sleep on it once or twice, then decide how much of it is really productive.

For the moment I will say that those of us who comprehend and treasure American freedom and the institutions which preserve and advance it have failed to make our case with sufficient effect. Because of our failure, beginning this night, freedom is in greater jeopardy, and the forces arrayed against it, both at home and abroad, are emboldened and renewed in strength.

We have long and difficult work to do, if we do not intend that future American generations shall live as slaves -- either to their own nation or to some foreign conqueror.

Ironically, some (not all) Utah libertarians will rejoice at one of tonight's results. Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson defeated high-profile Republican challenger Mayor Mia Love in Utah's 4th District by about 2800 votes (a little over one percent). The Libertarian candidate, Jim Vein, got about 5700 votes. If they cannot win, there is nothing some Utah libertarians relish more than the role of a spoiler.

Dark as these thoughts may seem, I think somehow there must still be hope. I will endeavor to find some.

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