George Edward Pickett was a general in the Confederate army during the Civil War. He is most famous for leading Pickett’s charge on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg. He had not been a particularly distinguished officer before the war, graduating last in his class as West Point. Still, he was capable enough to rise in the ranks and led the US forces in the Pig War with Britain. Although he personally detested slavery, he left the US Army when the South seceded in order to defend his home state of Virginia. He was promoted to general in 1862 and commanded a division under General Longstreet at the Battle of Gettysburg.
On the third day of the battle, General Lee decided launch a full scale attack on the center of the Union lines. He hoped that the previous days’ attacks on the Union flanks had drawn enough soldiers away to make it possible for the Confederates to smash through the center and defeat the Northern forces. Lee ordered three division to make the attack, Pickett’s division and two others led by Generals J. Johnston Pettigrew and Isaac R. Tremble. These last two divisions had already fought and were under strength but Pickett’s division was fresh. After a two hour artillery barrage, the three divisions attacked
At first the gamble seemed to be succeeding. Although Pettigrew and Tremble’s divisions did not get very far under the Union fire, Pickett’s division attacked the Union lines and a brigade led by General Lewis Armistad actually managed to break through temporarily, but the Union’s position was too strong and when the Union soldiers rallied, they massacred the Confederates. Pickett managed to survive and when he made his way back to Lee, Lee asked him about the condition of his division and Pickett replied, “General, I have no division”.
Many years later, Pickett was asked why the South lost the Battle of Gettysburg. Should Lee have disposed his forces differently? Should the attack have begun earlier or later? After thinking about the question for a while, Pickett finally said, “I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it”.
As we go over the details of the results of the last election and try to figure out what we did wrong to cause our loss, let us not forget the possibility that the Democrats may have had something to do with it. It is possible that Obama won simply because he ran a better campaign. That is not to say we don’t have anything to learn from this defeat so that we can do better, but perhaps we should study what the Democrats did right as much as what we did wrong.
I had good reason to be anxious. We didn’t do so well in the election. There is no way around the fact that this has been a major defeat for the cause of freedom. We get to spend another four years under Obama’s incompetent management.
Well, I have spent the required day in mourning, whining about the death of the Republic on Facebook and now it is time to get back to work. I think that it is always better to see the bright side of life, so I will try to make the best of it.
Well, things are not quite as bad as they seem. Obama hardly won by a landslide. In the popular vote, Obama won 60,841,109 votes while Romney got 57,941,258 votes. I guess 50-48% against a sitting President isn’t too bad, although we could have done better. In the Electoral College it is 303 for Obama and 206 for Romney with Florida and its 29 votes still undecided. The final map looks like this.
It could have been better, but it could have been worse, but it wasn’t a landslide. Here is what a landslide looks like.
In both these cases, and in 1972 and others the opposing party was absolutely routed. This isn’t the case here. In Congress, we did better than one might expect suggesting that Obama’s coattails were short. We only lost two seats in the Senate making it 53-45 with two independents. This is a lot better situation than we had after 2008 when the Democrats had nearly a filibuster proof majority. We also held our own in the House of Representatives. We moved from 242-193 to 233-193 with several seats still being decided. If we didn’t win, at least we didn’t lose and I think we can call Congress a draw.
Things are a little better at the State level. We have 30 Republican governors, up from 21 in 2008 and 20 in 2010. I don’t have solid information about party control of the state legislatures, but it seems to be a draw there with neither party making any major gains.
Now, the downside. It doesn’t look as if Obamacare is going to be repealed. This is bad since the federal government can hardly afford a new set of entitlements and the population doesn’t need to be even more dependent on the government. Well, if we can’t end it, we must make it palatable. The Republicans ought to find ways of adjusting and tweaking this monstrosity in order to bring it more in line with Conservative principles. I suggest arguing for more control and funding at the state level and, down the road when it is obviously not working, introduce the idea of re-privatizing health care.
Demographics seem to be against us. I do not think that the changing composition of the American population means the end of the Republican party. This is only certain if you think that party affiliation and policy preferences are somehow hardwired into various races and ethnic groups. How racist is that? We need to do more work on this. I do not believe that the Republicans should try to play identity politics the way the Democrats do. This won’t convince anyone and the people most susceptible to this sort of thing will always go for the Democrats. We certainly should not waste our time courting “civil rights” organizations like the NAACP. These groups are under the control of the Left and their sole purpose, these days, is electing Democrats. The concerns of the people they purport to represent are a distant second to them. I am not sure what the answer is, but there must be some way to persuade minorities that Conservative principles benefit them too.
We have to gain control of the media narrative. I know we have Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet, but more needs to be done. The Mainstream Media is weaker than it once was, but too many people still get their news from them. They have to be made irrevelant.I suggest that Republican politicians treat the MSM as it really is, the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party and react accordingly. This means not giving them interviews, giving their reporters accommodations on campaign buses, etc. They shouldn’t complain about media bias, though. When asked, they should state dismissively, “Well, CBS (or the New York Times, etc) is old media and we prefer to spend our campaign resources on more relevant outlets”. Make it clear that they are just no longer important enough to bother with. And, we also need to fight more against the slanders of the Left. Don’t let them get away with calling us racist, bigoted, Nazis, etc. Point out the general nastiness and mendacity of the Left.
Why we are on the subject, can we stop calling them Liberals or Progressives. They are neither. Truth in advertising demands we call them what they are; Socialists, Marxists, Statists, anything but Liberal. Their intellectual forebears are not such great Liberal thinkers as John Locke or John Stuart Mill. They are rather Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin.
Let’s not form circular firing squads or fight each other. There are lessons to be learned from this defeat, but we cannot abandon or throw under the bus any Republican factions. We win by growing the party, not purging it.
Well, those are my thoughts, whatever that may be worth.
As Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
“You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”