Monday, December 03, 2012

Lessons from Obama’s Win (II)

Ben Domenech is a conservative blogger at “Ricochet.” In the aftermath of Romney’s 4.5 million vote loss to Obama, Domenech sought to bury the type of professional GOP political consultants Romney used by going after Mike Murphy, who did work for both John McCain and Romney:
Uber-consultant Mike Murphy. . . is a millionaire thanks in large part to the ad sale commissions from countless campaigns. He represents a way of campaigning based on massive air wars, top down direction driven by ad men consultants, the time when you dominated the three television channels and controlled the narrative from on high … all methods which have proven particularly irrelevant to electoral results in the internet era. . . What’s really [needed] – conservative ideas and ground-up grassroots activism.
I agree with the need for bottom-up activism. Though TV advertising is still vital, it won’t dominate as it once did. Obama’s victory importantly involved a solid ground attack, along with its massive TV bombing campaign.

Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, however, warns against over-interpreting Obama’s win. He writes our:
American subconscious assumes that the voice of the people really is the voice of God, and that being part of a winning coalition must be a sign that you’re His chosen one as well. [So] the losing coalition must be doomed to wander east of Eden. . . Republicans are now Radio Shack to [Democrats’] Apple store. . .
Douthat instead offers some “unpleasant truths” about liberalism’s gained future; it represents a coalition “created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear:”
  • winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.
  • unmarried women[:] single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.
  • the typical unchurched American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his disconnection from community in general. 
  • What unites all of these. . . is the growing failure of America’s local associations — civic, familial, religious — to foster stability, encourage solidarity and make mobility possible. 
Douthat doubts renewal is on the horizon that justifies “blithe liberal optimism, and the confidence with which many Democrats assume their newly emerged majority is a sign of progress rather than decline.”

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