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The ten must-read reactions from American conservatives to Romney's defeat

By Tim Montgomerie
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Elephant shieldIt wasn't all bad for the GOP, of course. They retained control of the House of Representatives. Because of big gains two years ago they had 29 of 50 governorships before Tuesday. They didn't lose any of those. In fact they won North Carolina meaning they now have 30 of 50 of the US Governorships. Additionally, across the MidWest, they defeated union attempts to gain new anti-employer rights. But the overall outcome was disappointing. President Obama was re-elected and the results in the Senate fell well below the expectations of earlier this year.

Here are ten must-read reflections from conservative commentators:

Where was the CONSISTENT blue collar message? Katrina Trinko focuses on Mitt Romney's 'rich guy' problem in her reflection for National Review: "Throughout the primary and the general, Romney consistently talked about how he wanted to create jobs and how his economic plan would bring that about. But it wasn’t enough, particularly in the general, because President Obama and his campaign successfully made people worried that a more robust, roaring economy in a Romney presidency wouldn’t necessarily be a bonus for them. The way Obama talked, you’d think that no one but the wealthiest and upper middle class would be thriving in a Romney economy. And that was a notion Romney didn’t push back on forcefully enough. He needed to say ad nauseam that in a Romney economy, poor and middle class Americans would be better off, too.  It’s not enough to say “all” Americans would have been better off; you have to spell out it with more specificity than that when your opponent is constantly accusing you of favoring the rich." Kevin Williamson (again at NRO) credits "class warfare" against Romney for Obama's re-election.

Republicans need to become the party of the little guy against the vested interests. Timothy Carney at the Washington Examiner makes an argument familar to ConHome readers: "Republicans need a new coalition and a new message. The heart of that coalition should be the working class. The message should be populism. Populist movements in the past have often been ugly because they scapegoated vulnerable minorities. The new Republican populism shouldn't blame the "47 percent" of Mitt Romney's imagination, or immigrants seeking to make a better life. The new Republican populism should declare war on the cronies and special interests who use big government to rig the game in their favor and deny opportunity to those trying to climb the ladder and live the American dream."

America is shifting Left as the number of government dependents grows - a trend that will only accelerate because of ObamaCare. John Hinderaker at PowerLine: "Decades ago my father, the least cynical of men, quoted a political scientist who wrote that democracy will survive until people figure out that they can vote themselves money. That appears to be the point at which we have arrived. Put bluntly, the takers outnumber the makers... Over 100 million receive means tested benefits from the federal government, many more from the states. And, of course, a great many more are public employees."

Realignment, not Romney is the GOP problem. So argues Ed Morrissey at HotAir: "Republicans can’t blame the candidate, or at least they shouldn’t.  Mitt Romney ran one of the most well-organized national campaigns in recent memory within the GOP.  He raised prodigious amounts of cash, keeping pace with Obama.  The RNC followed suit, building a massive and impressive GOTV effort that really did produce a big increase in turnout — but not enough to match what Democrats did in this cycle.  Republicans blamed John McCain in 2008 and even George Bush for the bailouts, but those fig leaves are gone, and the realignment is too apparent to ignore."

Five Senate races have been lost in the last two election cycles because of poor Tea Party candidates. That's not the view of some Democrat or even of a liberal Republican but of Fred Barnes, a Christian conservative. In the Wall Street Journal he writes: "In 2010, Republicans lost at least three Senate races because tea party nominees were poor candidates. That kept Republicans from a 50-50 tie. This year, they lost two very winnable Senate elections because tea party-backed candidates were gaffe-prone." Some more traditional conservatives remain in denial, however. See this in the Daily Caller.

But the establishment Republicans can hardly get sniffy. At the Daily Caller Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel remind us of the ideological corruption of much of the GOP establishment: "Washington insiders who were part of the recent big-spending, pork-barrel earmarking, lobbyist-hugging, massive-growth-in-government period in our history still lead the establishment wing of the Republican Party. This is the group that added a massive Medicare Part D entitlement without paying for it, bailed out Wall Street bankers without making them pay for it, and micromanaged state and local education efforts. For a party based on limited government and budgetary discipline, behavior like this is death. Their fiscal incontinence infuriated the base of the party and led directly to the tea party movement."

Republicans must reconsider their position on immigration or risk losing the growing Hispanic vote. In his Washington Post column George Will writes: "Perhaps Mitt Romney lost the 2012 election on Sept. 22, 2011, when, alarmed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entry into the Republican nomination race, he rushed to Perry’s right regarding immigration, attacking the Dream Act. He would go on to talk about forcing illegal immigrants into “self-deportation.” It is surprising that only about 70 percent of Hispanics opposed Romney." At The Hill, Dick Morris has more on the daunting demographics facing the Republicans.

Republicans are losing young voters by opposing gay marriage. At Commentary D G Myers calls for social conservatism to be modernised: "What conservatives do not seem to grasp is that same-sex marriage is not an issue for gays only, but also for the young, who support it overwhelmingly, without question. And if the GOP really is the party of marriage, shouldn’t it be in favor of extending the goods of marriage to as many as possible? If marriage is everything we conservatives say it is, why should we want to deny its moral benefits to gays? The point is to stand for marriage, for an institution that promotes human freedom, and not to barricade ourselves behind the status quo ante. That’s how the party of freedom becomes the party of reaction." In her Washington Post blog Jennifer Rubin argues that Republicans don't have to like equal marriage but they must, at least, stop opposing it.

And, finally, let's not forget that Obama campaigned as a fiscal conservative (albeit a dishonest one). Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine: "Note, however, that Obama didn’t campaign as someone who is unconcerned with debt; nor did he campaign on a transformative platform. Instead, he campaigned on a program of dealing with the debt by taxing the rich. Once it becomes clear to Americans that we can’t solve the debt problem this way, he will be left high and dry. That’s fine with him, but it won’t be fine for his Party."

And, finally, ignore Rush Limbaugh. So blogs crunchy conservative Rod Dreher.

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