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Facing Tuesday’s loss, Resolving to Move Forward with a Positive Attitude

Two years ago, after the reelection of President Bush with increased Republican majorities in both Houses of Congress, I enjoyed this nice feeling which lasted for some time after the election. (I wasn’t alone; Peggy couldn’t “stop being happy about the election result.”) With it became apparent Tuesday night that the GOP would lose in the Senate as well as the House, it seemed I might become as despondent in the aftermath as I had been joyful in 2004.

I did not sleep well the night after the election, but fewer than twenty-four hours after realizing how complete had been the GOP defeat, I was returning to my natural good cheer and boundless optimism. (In contrast to the previous night, I slept very, very well Wednesday night.) While I wished the GOP had done more to save the three Senate seats which could have been saved (Missouri, Montana, Virginia), I realized that sometimes defeats are necessary in politics. It seemed almost the the very closeness of the 2004 presidential election meant that the winner that year would see his party lose two years thence.

And if I had to pick between winning in 2004 and in 2006, well, I’d rather we had won in the presidential year. And while I can detect a sense of sadness on certain conservative blogs, only on one have I found any bitterness. Instead, I see a sense of recognition, conservatives acknowledging the Democrats’ winning strategy and the quality of their candidates while our party failed to hold true to its principles.

I also see a sense of resolve. Instead of blaming others for our failures — or suggesting the elections might have been stolen — conservatives as well as some Republican congressional leaders are looking forward, putting forward ideas on how our party can be an effective force in opposition and considering what we need do to win back our majority.

Apparently this attitude has upset some of the left. After visiting a few sites and receiving a few e-mails, the Anchoress finds:

the weirdest fallout I’ve seen from the election is that the far left folks seem to be annoyed…angry, even at the right for not being more pissed-off, for being mostly philosophical instead of enraged about the results. I think they were hoping to enjoy watching us flip out, and they’re not seeing it. Instead of ranting and carrying on about “leftards” and spewing venom and hate and charging “stolen, stolen,” the righty blogs are thinking things over and talking and even – fer heaven’s sake – daring to laugh in real amusement as they watch the strangely positive headlines which have surfaced in the press since Tuesday.

No, we conservatives haven’t flipped out as did the left two years ago. And the initial sadness that some on the right have experienced seems, as mine, to have quickly been replaced by a resolve to find a means to move forward despite our party’s loss.

I agree with the Anchoress that the “weirdest fallout” has been the attitude of the left. Despite their party’s victory, they are as angry as they have ever been. They still dwell on their negative attitudes toward conservatives.

Anger does not well suit the party in the majority. They need show that they are prepared to govern. We conservatives have, on the whole, have shown that we intend to press forward despite Tuesday’s results.

Perhaps, I’m not as sad as I was Tuesday night because I’m old enough to realize that setbacks are only temporary. (And not only in politics.) Just two years after losing the White House in 1992, our party won majorities in both Houses of Congress for the first time in forty years. When one faces adversity with the right attitude, not only can one work on in despair, but can only find that that attitude — and the continued effort — can turn adversity into opportunity.

I see opportunity for my party — and my principles — in this defeat. And perhaps we should build on that attitude, realizing that whenever we sufffer setbacks in life, that they are only temporary and that even our missteps and misfortune contain seeds of opportunity.

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23 Comments

  1. At some point the Republicans will be in the majority again. Politics is cyclical. I was very depressed after Bush won, but soon got over it. I was thrilled when the Democrats one. Your guys will win again in the future.

    Comment by fnln — November 10, 2006 @ 5:51 pm - November 10, 2006

  2. ER won.

    Comment by fnln — November 10, 2006 @ 5:52 pm - November 10, 2006

  3. In reading the blogs and various news-outlet, one gets the impressin that it was not so-much the “Left” that won as it was the Middle, even though the Republican “moderates” lost their seats. Ironically, I suspect the real losers historically will be the social-conservatives of the Far-Right even though they survived. The great American “Center” of moderates, fiscal-conservatives and progressives shifted their support to the Democrats this election, but not their core-principles. Oddly, it’s a mirror image of the Reagan-Democrats; the protest anti-Rummey Republicans….like on a motorcycle, you shift-left to actually turn-right. Now, suddenly the recently-liberal Democrat Party has a slew of moderate-Democrats and Centrist fellow-travelers as part of their caucus. Lieberman being the extreme example where, though a “Democrat”, 70% of his voters were Republicans.

    Paradoxically, while the election might be seen as a “Democratic” victory where Bush has to bend to “liberal” Madame Pelosi’; it also affords the possibility of being a “government of all talents” where the Democrats will have to compromise on their liberal leanings just as the Administration and the Republicans will have to temper their Social-conservative, Neocon leanings to jointly govern from the Center in a Clintonian Triangulation.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — November 10, 2006 @ 6:01 pm - November 10, 2006

  4. I find it interesting that, when Democrats lose, something went wrong with external forces, and they are never to blame for their own loss.
    Some examples:
    Thier opponents, who stole an election,
    The Supreme Court, who gave the election to Bush,
    Die-Bold, whose machines were rigged to give Republicans more votes,
    The Electorate themselves (remember, according to Peter Jennings, we were simply “Angry White Men”) were either stupid or misinformed

    But when Republicans lose (for the most part), not only do they (much more) gracefully bow out, but their reaction is introspective by contrast:
    In all the discussion of conservatives, much of the blame has gone to Republicans themselves for not dedicating themselves more ardently to our shared principles of smaller government and lower taxes.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — November 10, 2006 @ 6:09 pm - November 10, 2006

  5. LOL@all of this. Read NRO’s Corner, listen to GOP radio, and leave the hallmark sentiments to hallmark.

    Comment by jimmy — November 10, 2006 @ 6:17 pm - November 10, 2006

  6. Ted, I’m not sure about one of your points specifically: Lieberman, while a trustworthy hawk, is no friend of conservative principles (i.e., I wouldn’t call him “moderate” or “centrist” by any means). His lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is 17%, and his most recent rating (1995) is 8%.

    Excellent point, though, about a reversal, if you will, of Reagan Democrats. Only (big) difference is that Reagan brought Democrats into the fold of a seismic shift in American Politics, while now (as Dan has deftly mentioned before), it’s more of a move back to his pricinciples than some sort of new idea.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — November 10, 2006 @ 6:19 pm - November 10, 2006

  7. Guffaw.

    Yeah, I notice yer ‘Joan of Arc’ friend there didn’t post any links to the lefties who are positively foamin’ at the mouth about your apparent lack of bitterness.

    I tune in regularly to marvel at your solipsisms.

    Comment by tonto_cal — November 10, 2006 @ 7:52 pm - November 10, 2006

  8. And would you all please stop with branding Nancy Pelosi a pinko liberal. For your information, many in the party that are to the left of me don’t like our new Speaker much; they think she’s too conservative; heavens to betsy.

    Comment by tonto_cal — November 10, 2006 @ 7:56 pm - November 10, 2006

  9. Ya know I think you used one word that I think defines the difference.

    Optimism.

    In general I find conservatives tend to be optimists. They don’t hang on to the doom and gloom etc. Now they may be a bit doom and gloom that the senate and house are gone, and I admit that the idea that Bush isn’t going to be able to appoint anymore solid originalist style judges to the courts bothers me, but tomorrow is another day.

    I am laughing a bit at some of the “the GOP is irrelevant now” “permanant minority” blah blah blah posts I have seen (mostly in comments at various blogs). It took the GOP a good ten years of victory before they started talking about “permanent majorities” and we just had our butts handed to us. It only took the dems a few days to start talking that talk, and they haven’t even produced anything yet.

    This is more a step backwards than a dead end I don’t think the world is going to end tomorrow because Pelosi is going to be speaker, things may be tougher, and some hopes are probably dashed (like SCOTUS), but life goes on.

    Comment by just me — November 10, 2006 @ 8:20 pm - November 10, 2006

  10. BOO!!

    monty

    Comment by monty — November 10, 2006 @ 8:22 pm - November 10, 2006

  11. No, we conservatives haven’t flipped out as did the left two years ago.

    You’re doing this just to piss me off, aren’t you? I was really looking forward to the show. What’s the point in beating y’all’s asses if you aren’t going to flip out about it?

    You realize, of course, that you are sucking all the fun right out of my week. Oh, well, I’ve still got 2008 to look forward to.

    Comment by Len — November 10, 2006 @ 9:00 pm - November 10, 2006

  12. In general I find conservatives tend to be optimists. They don’t hang on to the doom and gloom etc.

    Perhaps, but then there’s this.

    Comment by kdogg36 — November 10, 2006 @ 9:03 pm - November 10, 2006

  13. Redstate and NRO seem very despondent.

    You may also want to consider mentioning Bush’s announcement that he had plans in the works for some time to get rid of Rumsfeld. He made this announcement the day AFTER the election. A number of seats may have been saved if he had made the announcement before the election. So not only do conservatives see him as getting rid of a good leader, they also see him as keeping quiet while his party paid the price.

    This isn’t exactly causing a cheery attitude.

    Comment by Carl — November 10, 2006 @ 11:11 pm - November 10, 2006

  14. #7, Tonto:
    Sorry, I only have like 5 minutes, so I was only able to find the following:

    Stealing:
    here
    SCOTUS gave election to Bush:
    here and here
    Diebold:
    here and here and here
    Jennings’ “Angry white men”:
    here
    Generalized “Stupid” (Republican) voters:
    here and here and here

    There is absolutely no contest when it comes to blaming anybody but themselves for losses. Dems win hands-down.

    Comment by ColoradoPatriot — November 10, 2006 @ 11:14 pm - November 10, 2006

  15. Well, I do think that some Republicans here have made statements that essentially disparage the intelligence or knowledge of those who would vote Democrat. And, yes, the Democrats do the same thing with regard to Republican voters.

    My take on it? Their claims aren’t mutually exclusive, and they’re probably both right! 🙂

    Comment by kdogg36 — November 10, 2006 @ 11:17 pm - November 10, 2006

  16. How can anybody blame machines or fraud in an election that matched reality? a very unpopular government was voted out! The circumstances in 2000 and 2004 were very different. A lot of conservatives have convinced themselves the democrats were irrelevant to this election. That it was a referendum on republicans period and the democrats didn’t “win” the republicans just lost. now how absurd is that kind of thinking! Or all these new democrats are conservative? like mccaskill? shrerrod brown? there are a lot of new progressive and liberal democrats. The extremist brand of conservatism needs just one more election to send it to the grave. Let us hope 2008 is the nail in the coffin for the conservative movement!

    Comment by ryan — November 10, 2006 @ 11:42 pm - November 10, 2006

  17. There is always reason for optimism, but I think there is also cause for concern in the GOP. During the Republican Revolution, it was “moral values” that was the the rallying cry. The GOP has won 2 elections off of gay issues, in 1994 when Clinton tried to integrate the military and in 2004 because of the gay marriage issue. When that fades, as it undoubtedly will and this election began to show signs of, what will the GOP have left? America will always be with the Democrats on the meat and potatoes issues.

    Abortion will always be around, but firm majorities have opposed overturning Roe v. Wade for the past few decades. The South Dakota election result proved that. I think once the social issues begin to lose their touch, the Republicans will be in trouble.

    Comment by Chase — November 11, 2006 @ 12:01 am - November 11, 2006

  18. Also, with the Democrats making solid gains in the Mountain West and Southwest (Democrats now hold the Governor’s chair in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana), the Republicans are on their way towards becoming a regional, southern party.

    Comment by Chase — November 11, 2006 @ 12:22 am - November 11, 2006

  19. #8

    Holy flirkin’ Schnitt…Pelosi, the biggest union tool, who via her hypocrisy won’t let her own employees organize, is too conservative???? How in the hell can you get further left than she?

    I see a sense of recognition, conservatives acknowledging the Democrats’ winning strategy and the quality of their candidates

    Quality of their candidates? Are you kidding? They had to pretend that they loved God, guns and oppose illegal immigrants to get their power back. They even expressed their hatred for fags to score points. The libs showed that they were willing to do anything to get their power back. They even counted on the “culture of corruption” while hiding their own to regain power.

    Liberalism lost, Republicanism lost and Conservatism won. As far as Charging RINO’s comments, you’ll note that, as usual, spineless twat “moderates” lost as well.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 11, 2006 @ 6:43 am - November 11, 2006

  20. Also, with the Democrats making solid gains in the Mountain West and Southwest (Democrats now hold the Governor’s chair in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana), the Republicans are on their way towards becoming a regional, southern party.

    One election cycle does not equal a trend.

    It was just a few years ago that the GOP was talking about the democrats being relegated to the coasts.

    I think it is a bit too soon to declare the GOP irrelevant outside of the South.

    Oh, and come the first elections post the 2010 census, and that irrelevant South will have even more electoral votes while the coasts have been bleeding people for ages (the West expecially Nevada and Arizona have also been growing rapidly-shoot almost any of the non coastal Western states have been growing).

    I think this go around for some was as much about one party control than a mandate for the liberal agenda. I am not so sure the country is going to hop on a one party democrat controlled government at the moment either.

    Comment by just me — November 11, 2006 @ 9:12 am - November 11, 2006

  21. I think the Iraq war and terrorism gave the Reps far more credibility as a majority party for much longer than they would have had it. This reckoning may have just been overdue. I still trust the American people and hope that the Dems will become an American party once again. After all, a national Democrat party will no longer need the radical freaks for support.

    Comment by VinceTN — November 11, 2006 @ 11:30 am - November 11, 2006

  22. “No, we conservatives haven’t flipped out as did the left two years ago”
    Ha!
    Look at the above post titled:
    “Possible Election Fraud in Three House Races — Where’s Al Gore? ”
    Blaming dems and already calling for NP’s head…

    You poor repubs are so confused that you can’t keep your talking points staight…

    Comment by keogh — November 12, 2006 @ 12:42 pm - November 12, 2006

  23. Perhaps the Republicans lost, but maybe the citizenry will finally win when there’s some gridlock in DC – maybe government will stop exploding in size and cost like it has under Republican control.

    Comment by Joe — November 13, 2006 @ 9:44 am - November 13, 2006

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