Talking Points

Laura Ingraham: Disbelief and despair in the Republican Party

Talking Points 11/8


By Laura Ingraham

Well, since Romney lost in an electoral landslide on Tuesday night, I feel like I have become the chief psychologist for conservatives. Voters who were young conservative thinkers, who are young conservatives in the 1980s are now wondering whether all is lost. Ann Coulter was on my radio show yesterday.


ANN COULTER, POLITICAL ANALYST: If Mitt Romney cannot win in this economy, then the tipping point has been reached. We have more takers than makers and it's over. My country that no longer is interested in conservative ideas that it is interested in handouts.


INGRAHAM: This frustration and dejection is understandable. And I, like many conservatives, thought Mitt Romney would pull out a victory, and I like many Republicans, am extremely disappointed. The autopsy of what went wrong is ongoing. There will be conflicting opinions on the cause of death for the Romney campaign and all those senate races.

I happen to think that Mitt Romney ran an overly cautious and defensive campaign which allowed the other side to define him, perhaps the exception being that first debate. Some establishment Republican types say this requires the party, however, to be less conservative, to be more moderate. And it's no surprise that Democrats agree. I find that depressing.

Conservatism won huge for the GOP in 2010. And it beat back a union backed recall just recently in Wisconsin. But in just two years, a short period of time it's become unmarketable? Nice try.

To paraphrase George Will, for Mitt Romney, conservatism was kind of like a second language he was never comfortable articulating it or arguing it. So of course Latinos and women and new voters they weren't sold on it either. In that vacuum they ended up buying the malevolent portrait of Romney that was relentlessly pushed by Team Obama and their Super PAC friends and of course, it was very unfair. But the urge to despair in the face of all of this is a losing proposition. It gets us nowhere.

Five days after Barry Goldwater's landslide loss to Lyndon Johnson in 1964, conservatives, including William F. Buckley and Brent Bozell Senior didn't waste time cursing the darkness. Instead they founded something called the American Conservative Union. And they took it upon themselves to plot out a long and short-term strategy for their cause which was conservatism.

The pathway at that point was cleared for fresh voices and new approaches. ACU friend Ronald Reagan became Governor of California in 1967. And the movement slowly but surely grew in popularity. In his 1980 victory, Reagan converted Democrats not by adopting Democrat views. But instead by convincing them that conservative solutions offered the only hope for American renewal. We need to do that same thing again.

And that's "The Memo."