What If We Could Take a Mulligan On the 2008 Election?
Would anyone want to go back to 2008 and do it over, even if it were highly likely that McCain would win this time? Obama has been a disaster, is pretty much the prevailing consensus, and there’s no disagreement with that here. But where would the country be now if McCain had won? Back on March 30th of this year, when the Republican field for 2012 didn’t look all that promising, I tried to rationalize an Obama win in 2012 by offering some evidence that it might not be all that bad. Now the Republican candidates look better and an Obama win in 2012 would be more forbidding. In that post, however, I considered where we’d be if McCain had won:
The way to think about an Obama reelection in 2012 is to think about a McCain victory in 2008. Had McCain won in 2008 where would conservatives be now? “On the ropes” is the only answer that makes any sense given what is known of McCain’s history and his personal traits. It’s unimaginable that there would be the sort of conservative ascendancy that has occurred in the last 2 years if McCain had defeated Obama in 2008. Obama has done for the conservative movement what McCain could never have done, nor had any desire to do, and that is to revive the conservative movement and inspire The Tea Party which has moved big numbers of “precious” independents away from the Democrat party to the Republican party. I call independents “precious” because both parties think they are the key to electoral success.
I’ve never seen anything in all the stuff I read almost daily, or listen to on conservative talk radio, that has said anything similar. Until now, that is. Today Instapundit points to Victor Davis Hanson’s article on The Great Obama Catharsis. Hanson begins with this:
Barack Obama has done the United States a great, though unforeseen, favor. He has brought to light, as no one else could, many of the pernicious assumptions of our culture from the last half-century. He turned theory and “what ifs” into fact for all America to see, experience, and, yes, suffer through.
And ends thus:
Had McCain been elected, or had Obama proved a canny Clinton triangulator, we would never have gotten out of the bipartisan rut of massive borrowing, growing government, higher taxes, and unionized public employee regulators. But with Obama as the great liberal deliverer and with the masses scared to death of Him, the next president will inherit an America in catharsis. The future is uncertain, but at least now, after our cauterizing, we have some sort of chance to return to the old principles that might save us.
My sentiments exactly. As bad as Obama has been, McCain would have destroyed the conservative movement and that would have led to longer term ills for the country. At least now conservatism is still alive and we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. You’d think far-sighted liberals would have preferred McCain. Actually, they did in the open primaries before the general election. They knew something conservatives didn’t.
You’ll want to read the whole thing, of course.