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Cheerful Persuasion
John Mark Reynolds [author, academic] 11/10/06

Losing is no fun, but it points the way forward for traditional Christians who are also Republicans. First, there is no sense attacking the voters for their choice. In some cases the Republican candidate was tainted (Burns) or not really Republican (Chafee), but that is not enough to explain our losses. Good people lost, especially Santorum and Allen. They lost in part because the message of traditionalists is not being argued in a persuasive way.

John Mark Reynolds

John Mark Reynolds is the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, and Associate Professor of Philosophy, at Biola University. His personal website can be found at www.johnmarkreynolds.com and his blog can be found at www.johnmarkreynolds.info.

For too long Republicans have relied on simple slogans to get their ideas across. When was the last time you watched a Republican debate knowing you would hear an articulate defense of the conservative world view? Republicans need to look for leaders with a vision for justice and a culture of life, winning the War with new ideas, and the ability to explain those ideas to the public. Just as the much more serious Goldwater defeat got conservatives back to the basics of educating the public, this defeat which is far less serious, should put traditionalists back in the business of persuasion.

Just as “Clinton-bashing” was not enough to win, fear of Democrats was not enough to pull this election out. Republicans must be for ideas . . . and too often we had run out of gas. Allen’s attacks on the Jim Webb books or the “Fancy Ford” web site do not build a long term conservative majority. A good attack ad is good politics, but only when combined with a positive program like the Contract for America.

Losing candidates like to say that “this is not the end, but a beginning.” For most of tonight’s losers, that is not really true, but for conservatives willing to work harder to explain their ideas it is true. Romney, Rudy, and McCain will fight for the chance to lead the Republicans out of the wilderness. Whichever of these leaders can explain our ideas to the unpersuaded will earn the right to run the Republican party.

We need to win this War and support our troops. We have to persuade the American people that the War can be won and work to regain their trust. Lieberman Dems can help do that. Winning the War on Terror is the most important issue of our time and it can be won.

The wilderness years in Congress need not be long if Republicans begin a cheerful, courageous campaign that yields nothing to liberalism without a fight, but does so with good cheer.

Losing on one day is not as bad as showing we care more for personal loss than finding a way to act for the good of the nation.

Let’s get to work! CRO


copyright 2006 John Mark Reynolds



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