Conservatives Must Never Give Up. Never.
On October 21st, 2010, Western Free Press—then a brand-new organization—covered the American Solutions event at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix. There were a number of powerful speakers, including then-candidate David Schweikert and American Solutions founder Newt Gingrich. The event was memorable, but the highlight was the moment in Speaker Gingrich’s address when he spoke of Washington’s daring, against-all-odds, Christmas Day raid on the Hessians at Trenton . . .
Washington’s troops, down from 30,000 to 2,500, battered by winter and a series of defeats—one of three of them wearing burlap bags for lack of boots—were on the brink of disaster. It was the Revolution’s darkest hour, and Washington needed a victory. Crossing the Delaware, moving troops and cannon up hills and muddy riverbanks—and aided by a snowstorm seemingly Heaven-sent—Washington won that victory. It turned the tide of our War of Independence, just when all appeared lost.
Two weeks after Gingrich gave that speech, Republicans won the landslide victory of 2010, taking control of the House, as well as state legislatures and governorships across the nation. It was one of the biggest Republican victories of the last 100 years—possibly the biggest.
Almost a year to the day after the American Solutions event, Western Free Press scored an exclusive interview with presidential candidate Newt Gingrich—one of only a few media entities at the event to do so. At that time, Speaker Gingrich, and all of us, had high hopes—optimism that the American people would reject Obama for a second term, and we could begin to set America on a better course again. We all know how that ended up.
Now, here we are in 2013, and talk of “giving up” ripples through the conservative movement.
Some speak of giving up on the Republican Party—denying them support, or seeking options in other political parties, or parties yet to be created.
Some speak of giving up trying—long-time activists threatening to put down the musket they have wielded for years and leave the field of battle.
Some speak of giving up hope itself. “The obstacles are too great,” they say. “Freedom is on the ropes. The union is lost.”
If you want to think of this as the moment in the story where the stirring music swells and the general tells his battered troops never to give up, that the fight is not lost, feel free. I myself make no such pretensions, for better men than I have given that speech. I will simply tell you this:
Giving up is folly. Giving up is madness. Giving up is unacceptable.
If I were to start listing reasons why now, I would still be listing them at sunup tomorrow. Instead, I will just list a few.
First, and most basic . . .
The Cause is not lost
Yes, things seem bleak. Yes, statism’s long march over the last century has left a country that the Founders would hardly recognize. But that country is still America, and what the Founders bequeathed to us is still there—in our Constitution, in our Bill of Rights, and in our lifeblood. The forces of liberty are stirred in ways they have not been since at least the Civil War, and arguably since our Revolution itself. In what seems to be our darkest hour in a long time, a new Great Awakening is underway.
And think of it—if the Republican nominee had won the White House and a few races had gone differently in the Senate, we’d be having a much different conversation. We’s be talking about how we’d turned the corner, and we were on our way to setting things right. The country has not gone mad . . . we’ve just taken an unfortunate detour.
The 2012 election was not the beginning of a Democrat dynasty
A few essential points:
- Obama is the first president to be reelected to a second term with a lower popular vote than his first election.
- He is also only president other than Wilson to receive fewer Electoral College votes for a second term.
These are significant indicators. Obama’s reelection does not show that an era of Democratic dominance has begun. He bled votes. Unfortunately, Romney underperformed McCain’s totals as well, as three million conservatives foolishly and shamefully stayed home. In the end, Obama beat Romney with a more sophisticated use of social networks and new media, micro-targeting voters and getting just enough of them out in key districts to give him the win.
In the meantime, Republicans kept the House and, in spite of several deeply flawed candidates, only suffered small losses in the Senate. Obama’s coattails were there, but minimal, as Republicans held most of their historic 2010 gains in state legislatures and governorships. In fact, the GOP is much stronger than the Democrats in the states.
The blaring bias of the media, and the sting of Obama’s victory (which many of us thought unlikely), can make things seem worse than they are. The left is strong, but they are by no means invincible. In fact, in 2005, they were doing much of this same hand-wringing we now are.
Our odds are good for 2014
Obama likes to think that he can break the will of the Republican Party, and scatter its former supporters to the four winds. There is no doubt that he is trying, and that he hopes this will bring his party victory in 2014. Unfortunately for the Democrats, two things stand in the way of those hopes.
Our bench is deep for 2016
Take a look at the young, phenomenal Republicans who are waiting for their turn at bat.
Marco Rubio. Charming, affable, handsome. Deeply versed in conservative principles and ideas, and able to articulate them brilliantly . . . and extemporaneously. Polls already show him carrying enough Hispanic votes to win a hypothetical general election.
Rand Paul. Not quite as charming, but gives a plain-spoken understanding of first principles like few politicians have in many a year. Brings a whole new crowd of young people and libertarians into the fold.
And there’re many more, like the stunningly accomplished Ted Cruz and the brilliant and successful Bobby Jindal. Heck, people are even talking about Dr. Ben Carson as a possibility now.
Who do the Democrats have? Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. Granted, Hillary is a formidable candidate, but she’s old news, and she really appears to be the Democrats’ only hope. If the electorate is in any way disenchanted with the past when the election rolls around, she is going to have an uphill climb.
The tide always turns
If there is one that that is for sure in American politics, it is that no one party, faction or ideology holds sway forever. Though they are not regular as clockwork, changes in power always happen.
In fact, a brief look at history indicates that Republicans are in a better position historically than they have been for a long time.
For the 62 years from 1933 to 1995, Republicans held the Senate for only 10 and the House for only two. Since that time, the GOP has had the Senate for ten of the last 18 and the House for 14 of 18. The GOP is also at a high water mark in state legislatures not seen for generations.
Much of this success is due to the advent and rise of new media. The Internet and talk radio have given conservatives a voice, and a way to get past the mainstream media blockade, and it’s working. We need to continue, and to dramatically expand, our new media efforts.
Ideologically, conservatives are also in a stronger position from an historical standpoint. Prior to the Buckley-led renaissance of the late 1950s, conservatism as we understand it today was virtually lifeless. A few decades after the movement became animated, Ronald Reagan ushered in the largest economic expansion in human history.
Reagan followed Carter
Speaking of Reagan, think of how bad things seemed in the 1970s. Some economic factors, such as inflation, were even worse than they are today . . . AND we had leisure suits!
Yes, many of us thought that 2012 was to be the moment that people became as disgusted with Obama as they were with Carter. Apparently, we’ll have to wait a little longer for that moment. Perhaps Romney was simply not strong enough of a candidate to overcome Obama’s inherent advantages. Lesson learned for 2016. It’s highly unlikely that the GOP primary electorate is going to make that mistake again, especially with the sluggers we have waiting on our bench.
But wait, there’s more . . .
Obama’s presidency may be dangling by a thread
Yes, he has been amazingly resilient, and he has a media that will go to almost any lengths to cover for him. But he has exceeded the authority of his office. He has exceeded the Constitution. He appears to have gotten away with much, but the fat lady has not yet sung on a series of scandals. Americans detest corruption, and if Obama’s veneer is ever finally pierced, even the media will not be able to save him. Watch that space.
Obamacare is unravelling
Activists and high-information conservatives have long known that Obamacare is an unworkable disaster. Now, young people, vulnerable seniors, and even Obama voters are making this discovery. Many are openly expressing a feeling of betrayal. What happens when the internal contradictions of Obama’s signature achievement finally cause it to collapse like the house of cards it always was?
We’ve all heard the analogy of a frog in a pan—if you put him into hot water, he’ll jump out right away. If you put him in tepid water and then slowly heat it up, he’ll allow himself to be boiled to death.
That analogy is often applied to the growth of socialism, fascism, and other manifestations of statism. It is argued that the heat has been turned up on us so slowly over the last 100 years that we accepted each incremental change. There is a reasonable argument, however, that Obama has overreached and awakened the sleeping dragon. The core principles of liberty are on people’s lips again, in ways they haven’t been since our Founding.
People are truly starting to get it. People are activated. People finally see statism for what it is, and they are terrified. Things seem chaotic and difficult now, but all the pieces are in place for a rebirth of liberty in America.
There have been a dozen precipitating actions by Obama and his cohorts, but their recent move against gun owners may be the fateful step. There is something visceral in the American psyche when it comes to the thing that the Founders believed, more than anything else, is necessary to preserve the liberty of the people.
The states are rising
It isn’t just individuals that have finally understood the true nature of statism. The states are now aware too, and they are rising up to defend their sovereignty from an increasingly dominant, abusive, and centralizing federal government. Now is not the time to leave the fight. Now is the time to stand with the states and help reassert the balance of power our Founders established and bequeathed to us.
America has been through worse
This is not our darkest hour. We must remember that. We are resilient. We have come through tougher times.
In fact, it was Winston Churchill who pointed out that, “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing . . . after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”
We can fix this. We just have to stay in the fight and see it through.
Liberty itself has been through worse
Think of it. Look at human history. Is this the worst crisis liberty has ever faced? Of course not. Did people give up in much worse circumstances? No. Think of what Churchill saw Britain through, and what he said to those young boys at Harrow in 1941.
It is our duty to fight. It is our duty to remember what Ronald Reagan said about liberty never being more than one generation away from extinction. This is OUR generation’s turn to rise to liberty’s defense. How could we do any less?
And speaking of generations, what of the next? What of our children? Obamas and his people are selling them into debt slavery. Years from now, when our children ask us how we could let this happen, and what we did to stop it, what do we tell them?
Do we tell them we despaired and left the battle?
Do we tell them that the tea party didn’t trust the establishment, the libertarians didn’t like the socons, and the socons didn’t like the libertarians, so we just stopped trying to work together?
Do we tell them we gave up and let their future be taken from them?
No. No no no.
Think of our Founders
Think of what they sacrificed. John Hancock was one of the richest men in the colonies. He poured his fortune into the Colonial cause and lost it all. They all pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors.
Think of the odds they were up against. A third of the Colonies was with them. A third was against them. A third were indifferent. And they were going up against Great Britain, a colossus that bestrode the earth, with the most powerful army in the world.
But the odds were even longer still. Of those who supported their cause, only about 10 percent did so in a material way, and only three percent were ever active in the field against the British.
And yet that three percent changed the course of human history!
Fight now, or fight later
We either defend our liberty and fight to set things right now, while we’re strong, or we do it later, when we’re weak. We are not a scattered Remnant, desperately waging a last-ditch insurgency in the face of almost certain defeat. The forces of liberty are everywhere. The forces of liberty are awake. But if we start pulling ourselves off the battlefield now, we grow weaker and cede the fight to the left.
But the left will not stop. They will advance, taking more and more. We’ll have to fight at some point down the road, because our backs will be up against a wall. But we’ll be weaker and the odds will be much longer. We fight now, while we’re strong, or we fight later, when we’re not.
If you are an activist . . .
Stay in the fight! Do not despair. If you are a blogger, writer, lawyer, ground-pounder, think-tanker, social media warrior, speaker, thinker, street artist, musician, actor, or tea partier, we need you. The movement needs you. Work with anyone you can on our side. Don’t focus on our small disagreements—focus on the core beliefs we share. Never give in.
The movement needs you. Liberty needs you.
Right now, the left is funding everything under the sun: Bloggers, informational websites, Twitter activists, Facebook operatives, issue forums, sockpuppets, internet fact checkers, comment trolls, media “watchdog” groups, activist groups, protest groups, black ops, and so much more. The left’s funding infrastructure provides millions of dollars to keep their activists in the field 24-7-365.
Conservatives have caught up a little, but we’re not even close to parity with this relentless onslaught. Ironically, it is not for want of activists, but want of the same kind of investment the left puts in its people and its mission. There are tens of thousands of conservatives who are willing to slog through the mud and snow, day in and day out, to keep fighting for the cause. All they need is for conservative individuals and entities to fund them, so they don’t have to wear burlap bags on their feet.
No matter what role each of us plays in the movement, we have all had moments where we feel a heavy burden. But we never stop pressing on. This is what we do. We fight.
To everyone in the movement . . .
We are the people who understand the stakes. We are the people who get it. If we don’t fight, then who will? If we give up, who will be left to rise to liberty’s defense? We are Americans—we fight until we make things right.
Every generation has to fight to stay free.That is not a burden. That is an honor.
We don’t give up because we are right. Our cause is just.
We don’t give up because these men didn’t:
Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including AnyStreet.org (now a part of Western Free Press) and Liberatchik.com. He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to WesternFreePress.com.