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On my Sadness at John McCain’s Loss

After George W. Bush’s reelection four years ago, I had this nice feeling which lingered for several weeks.  Peggy Noonan couldn’t stop being happy about the election result.  Bearing this in mind in the campaign’s final days, I resolved that should our guy lose, I would refrain from bringing the election up with my liberal friends, at least until the president-elect started selecting his cabinet.

Now that their guy has won, I try not to bring it up.  I wish for them to enjoy the nice feeling I so enjoyed back in 2004.  We had our chance to be happy about an election.  Now, it’s their turn.  Let them celebrate without experiencing our sadness.

Yet, I will note that all too many bring it up.  Yesterday, at a brunch for my college alumni association to honor a representative of the alumni office visiting the City of Angels, I as the only (open) Republican at the event, found myself questioned by others there about my take on the election.  I was delighted at how civil were the exchanges, but disturbed at how little most people knew about Sarah Palin, with one very smart guy taking at face value any charge leveled against her.  As if Newsweek were a reliable source on Republicans.

There is another reason I don’t want to bring up the election with my political adversaries.  I am surprised at how sad the result has made me.  I attribute part of my sadness to the failure of our side to promote a conservative economic message in a campaign in which the economy was the primary issue.  While some claim our ideas were defeated at the ballot box, I note that they weren’t even presented.

At least on economic issues, this campaign did not provide a vehicle for our ideas nor a solid defense against those blaming the economic crisis on conservatism.

The other thing that makes me sad is that, in the course of the campaign, I really grew to respect John McCain the man.  I watched his classy performance at the Al Smith dinner, delighted in his self-deprecating humor on Saturday Night Live, revisited the story of his integrity and courage when captured by the North Vietnamese, and really, **REALLY** appreciated the love he felt for our country, a love that was made particularly manifest in that most gracious of concession speeches.

And I wish someone who recognized his merit as a human being had told the Arizona Senator that to win the office of which he is surely worthy, he need articulate a better economic message and make that message the theme of his campaign.

It’s almost as if John McCain were the right man for the job, but was running at the wrong time.



  1. I wish someone who recognized his merit as a human being had told the Arizona Senator that to win the office of which he is surely worthy, he need articulate a better economic message and make that message the theme of his campaign.

    People tried to tell him, but he wouldn’t, or couldn’t listen. A guy who sneers that its somehow wrong for people to work for “profit, not patriotism” (paraphrasing) can’t credibly deliver a pro-private enterprise message. Because he doesn’t really believe in it.

    Also, suspending his campaign to go back to Washington to support a bill the public was largely against betrayed his mindset; that Washington knew best.

    Meanwhile, Obama won by campaigning like Reagan, even though he fully intends to govern like Carter.

    All that said, I am not sad… at least not about this. I don’t know whether we’re stuck with Obamunism for four years or eight or forever, but at some point you just have to let go of what you can’t control, and just make the best of what you got.

    Comment by V the K — November 10, 2008 @ 9:55 am - November 10, 2008

  2. A guy who sneers that its somehow wrong for people to work for “profit, not patriotism” (paraphrasing) can’t credibly deliver a pro-private enterprise message.

    That’s Biden. McCain: “I want everybody to be rich.”

    George Herbert Walker Bush lost the ’92 election when he looked at his watch during one of the debates with Clinton. McCain lost the election with his impulsive suspension of his campaign to help pass a stimulus package that looked like a Christmas tree.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 10, 2008 @ 10:09 am - November 10, 2008

  3. Noonan is a whore.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 10, 2008 @ 10:13 am - November 10, 2008

  4. I am referring to a debate where McCain sneered at Mitt Romney “I led for patriotism, not profit.” Thus revealing his real contempt for a capitalist entrepreneur who had helped create thousands of private sector jobs.

    Comment by V the K — November 10, 2008 @ 10:14 am - November 10, 2008

  5. But if McCain had won, would we have had that same joy you write about, or would it have been tinged with some aprehension? I would have been giddy about Palin, but McCain, he would have some proving to do…

    A radio talk show here was on last night asking listeners and callers about this “historic election” and how did it feel. All callers were ecstatic about it, how we have conquered racial barriers and all. I found myself screaming at the radio, “Look at the policies! Look at the philosophy!” Yes, it is great that we have overcome so much…but at what price now?

    Comment by The other Peter H — November 10, 2008 @ 11:06 am - November 10, 2008

  6. Sad? yes, I am sad. I am in mourning for our country. I know I must pass through the 4 (or is it 5 stages) before I gain acceptance.
    The majority of the country and almost all of our leaders truly have given up on the ideas of freedom and personal resonsibility, and traded them in for with equality and security. The ant has become the slave of the grasshopper.

    There’s an easy fix to help rebuld the gop with conservative candidates. The RNC should simply direct NH, IA, and the other early states that they must allow only republicans to vote in their primaries thereby stopping independents and democrats from eliminating conservatives from the field of our candidates.

    But I think it’s too late. Too many of my co-workers and neighbors want me to pay for their mortgage and gas and childcare and healthcare and retirement and education … etc

    Comment by Russ — November 10, 2008 @ 11:34 am - November 10, 2008

  7. I’m still sad. And I can’t take the endless Obamathoning that is going on in the news. The adverts for Access Hollywood’s in depth coverage on the Obama presidency are killing me. I wish they would go back to covering Britney’s uncovered personal bits.

    Comment by Vivian Louise — November 10, 2008 @ 11:54 am - November 10, 2008

  8. but at some point you just have to let go of what you can’t control, and just make the best of what you got.

    best advice ever!
    Clearly our memories are very short, so we are doomed to repeat our mistakes over and over. Welcome to the new Carter years.

    There is a Hebrew saying: This too shall pass. That goes for both the good times and the bad. We are entering a very difficult time, I am praying that it is only economic – and that we aren’t hit again with horrible death and destruction on our own soil, or to our people defending others overseas.

    Comment by Leah — November 10, 2008 @ 12:25 pm - November 10, 2008

  9. Not to be depressing, but Osama has apparently dropped a big hint that another attack on the U.S. is coming. Soon.

    May we live in interesting times.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 10, 2008 @ 2:35 pm - November 10, 2008

  10. I agree with you and feel for you. In understand why Clinton won, I understand why LBJ won, I understand why Truman won… but I don’t understand why Obama won. It makes me sad for our country, that would would reject a good man with good experience who is a solid moderate, and support a man with questionable associations with bad people who has no experience and is a solid liberal. What was the American public thinking? I’m also sad, because being from Michigan, I’ve seen what happens when an inexperienced leftist rules, and it sad, very sad.

    Comment by aconservativeteacher — November 10, 2008 @ 2:45 pm - November 10, 2008

  11. That’s Biden. McCain: “I want everybody to be rich.”

    Unless of course youre one of the “greedy” sons of bitches on Wall Street. Sorry, but I suspect someone had to write the line, “I want everybody to be rich” for McCain. I dont think he has the core conservative economic values to come up with that obvious line by himself.

    Comment by American Elephant — November 10, 2008 @ 3:35 pm - November 10, 2008

  12. #10 I feel the same way, but I think the reason Americans voted for Obama is mostly because they didnt really hear about those associations, his lack of qualifications, his radicalism and corruption and when they did, they had both the Obama campaign and the “mainstream” media the Ministry of Truth telling them those were lies.

    Comment by American Elephant — November 10, 2008 @ 3:41 pm - November 10, 2008

  13. Sorry, but I suspect someone had to write the line, “I want everybody to be rich” for McCain.

    Lots of people believe in the “There Was No Cone Of Silence” conspiracy, particularly those who heard the line “That’s above my pay grade” and started screaming something about Def-Con 4.

    Comment by Ignatius — November 10, 2008 @ 5:57 pm - November 10, 2008

  14. Your words are an echo in my own head. I wasn’t a major McCain supporter until Gov. Palin came on board. Then, I began to read McCain’s writings, listened to him laugh at himself, saw his ability to crack a joke with aplomb, and watched the POW videos. I gained a tremendous appreciation for the man inspite of some of his policies and practices of the past.

    I had hope for the future under a McCain/Palin win. I had hope that the conservatives were alive and well in the USA. I still believe they are. It isn’t popular for me to say I still believe Obama bought, stole and paid for his $650 million dollar win (63 million votes to McCain 58 million and $87 million spent….you do the math…who REALLY won after all????)

    I want to support my president because it is the patriotic thing to do. I tried to support Bush even as he made me, I wouldn’t bash him. But I have such grave doubts about Obama……his TRUE belief system is everything WRONG for this country.

    The Palin issue is an problem for me too. I support her. I am appalled at the media treatment of her. As a woman I am angry and horrified at the hate filled words and acts directed at her offend me as a female.

    It isn’t ok to say all the racist things being said about Obama, but no one should have condoned the hate spewed at Palin. Sign of the future? You betcha!

    Comment by Carrie — November 10, 2008 @ 9:42 pm - November 10, 2008

  15. I was a huge McCain supporter since the beginning of the primaries and I was very upset when he lost on Tuesday. I was expecting him either to win, or for him to lose because of only Virginia. It surprised, and upset, me to see Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada all go Obama’s way.
    Anyway, I’m not as sad now because I do believe Obama’s policies are going to worsen the recession, leading to a Republican control of the Senate in 2010.
    These Republicans need to be new, conservative faces with a new plan for America; like a “Contract for America” that the GOP brought in the 90’s. After some success, the American people will vote a Republican in as president (Bobby Jindal 2012!!). Finally, the story will end with conservative republican control of the House, Senate, and White House. Then, 76 year old John McCain will be named Secretary of Defence.

    Doesn’t that scenario make you happy?

    Comment by Pat — November 10, 2008 @ 10:56 pm - November 10, 2008

  16. #9: another attack on the US? After we elected The One? I thought that was supposed to fix everything. I am depressed.

    I watched Palin’s interview with Greta Van Sustren and she remains loyal to McCain… it’s too bad McCain can’t show a little loyalty in return and publicly rebuke his loose-lipped minions.

    I can’t say I’m saddened by the results (maybe a bit concerned).

    Comment by SoCalRobert — November 11, 2008 @ 12:03 am - November 11, 2008

  17. Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) said it: “He fought a 1974 war in a 2008 world.”

    Comment by Jeremayakovka — November 11, 2008 @ 12:26 am - November 11, 2008

  18. #12

    I still think it was all about White Guilt. I’m curious, though, if this means that the 2012 candidates won’t release ANY information about themselves and refuse to tell us who they are.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — November 11, 2008 @ 1:29 am - November 11, 2008

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