Where The Conservative Media Went Wrong
December 3, 2012
By Cliff Kincaid
Conservative columnist and author Ann Coulter is trying to rationalize her outspoken support for Mitt Romney in the wake of his stunning defeat. “Romney was not the problem” is the title over her latest column. “Don’t Blame Romney” was the title over her column immediately after his defeat. “Romney is What the Country Needs Now” was the title over her column just before the election. She had confidently predicted a Romney victory, tweeting, “I can’t see a scenario where Romney wins less than 273 electoral votes.”
Since the stakes were so high, it is imperative that if conservative columnists and commentators are going to perform a useful educational function going forward, they should realize where they went wrong and why. Michael Barone, who had predicted a Romney landslide win, tells PJ Media that Romney was “outhustled in a base turnout election” and that voter fraud was not a significant factor.
Steve Baldwin, former Executive Director of the Council for National Policy and a former California state legislator, says the problem all along was that “…as any conservative from Massachusetts knew, Romney was a liberal at heart who, as Governor, led the nation in passing three of the left’s most sacred issues: Same sex marriage, Cap and Trade, and government control of health care.” Baldwin’s report, The Buying of a Movement, contends that Romney never had a conservative worldview but that he cultivated support among important parts of the conservative movement and media in order to remake himself for a presidential run. However, a significant number of conservatives nationwide clearly did not buy the argument that Romney was a legitimate conservative. They found their voice in websites like Renew America, founded by Stephen Stone and associated with Alan Keyes.
One of these issues—same-sex marriage—is worth a detailed examination. After attending Restoration Weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida, Ronald Radosh reports that leading conservative analysts and political leaders have concluded that the Republican Party has to move left on issues like illegal immigration and cultural issues. Regarding the latter, he notes that gay marriage initiatives were passed in four states on November 6. “We need a truce on divisive social issues,” is supposed to be one of the verdicts from these conservative thinkers.
They need to think harder. First, the movement for gay rights, which is funded by billionaires like George Soros and rich homosexuals, will not accept a truce. Second, in the four states where gay marriage won on the ballot on November 6, the vote tallies against gay marriage surpassed the vote totals for Romney. In Maryland, Romney was behind the vote for traditional marriage by 12 points. This is telling. It means that a certain number of people voted against Obama’s position on gay marriage, but they did not vote for Romney. This suggests that Romney failed to galvanize social conservatives on his behalf.
Although Romney’s position was that he was in favor of traditional marriage, he did not campaign on the issue. What’s more, he had said publicly that the spontaneous public protests in favor of Chick-fil-A over its CEO’s comments in favor of traditional marriage were not part of his campaign. In addition, during the campaign he reiterated his support for opening up the Boy Scouts to homosexuals.
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel recognizes the political reality. On the group’s “Faith and Freedom” radio show, he pointed out that Romney failed to speak out in favor of traditional marriage, including in the four states with gay marriage on the ballot. In addition to Maryland, they were Minnesota, Maine and Washington. “Had he done so,” Staver said, “his numbers would’ve gone up and I bet the marriage polls would’ve gone up.” Instead, he noted, Romney was a “one-note” candidate who focused almost exclusively on the economy.
George W. Bush, when he was running for re-election in 2004, was smart enough to realize that he should campaign for president by emphasizing support for traditional marriage. Bush had endorsed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Many commentators believe that the anti-gay marriage measures on the ballots in 11 states in 2004 helped drive Bush’s re-election. The ballot measures passed easily, receiving on average roughly 70 percent support. The belief is that some of this support went to Bush, as a result of his campaign emphasizing traditional marriage. In other words, social conservatives were motivated to go to the polls and some of this support rubbed off on Bush. In the swing state of Ohio, which Bush won, it was seen as critical.
The rationale behind Romney’s candidacy was that the economy would propel him to victory. How many times did we hear the claim that “No President since FDR has been re-elected when unemployment is above 8 percent?” Emphasizing his business acumen, Coulter had confidently predicted, “Romney will be the most accomplished incoming president since Dwight Eisenhower.”
Bombarded with messages from the Obama campaign and the Soros-funded propaganda machine, including the Super PACs he funded, voters found Romney’s private sector experience on Wall Street and wealth more objectionable than Obama’s record as a Marxist president. Of course, Romney, acting on the advice of Karl Rove, never uttered the word “Marxist” or “socialist” when talking about Obama. Romney ran a campaign that was designed in part to win the votes of those who went for Obama in 2008. It was a disaster in the making that many prominent conservatives in the media did not see coming. Some still do not want to grasp the magnitude of the defeat.