Today's my 37th birthday.
Needless to say, Tuesday night's election results weren't the present I was hoping for. So, as a gift to myself, I'm re-subscribing to Ricochet after a lengthy absence.
Why? Because I need an outlet for the frustration I am feeling about last night's election and Ricochet is the best place I know for some honest conservative conversation.
After all, where else would you find someone like Rob Long, willing to admit that conservative media has its own echo chamber? At no point in this election cycle did I ever see a sign that Romney was about to pull off a sweep. Sure, there was a clear, short period of excitement when he selected Paul Ryan as his vice presidential candidate, but even that was excitement mostly because I had steeled myself for someone worse. And then there were the debates, yes, but even that only seemed to close a gap, and one had to worry about what holding the ball and letting the clock run (after Hurricane Sandy hit) would net. In the final weeks we had countless conservatives saying the polls were wrong, the turnout models were undercounting Republicans and overcounting Democrats, and that we could all safely shift percentage points from the blue column to the red column to get the real result. It got repeated so much you couldn't help start to believe in it because you wanted it to be true. But it was all based on an assumption.
I have to admit that I listen to talk radio and watch Fox News in part because I need a refuge from the dishonesty and smallness of what passes for journalism and objectivity in other outlets. Maybe not the best reason to choose to listen to a program, but certainly not a horrible one. Still, can't we all admit that there's a degree to which conservatism has fell a little too much for our cult personalities, thinking their rhetorical style is more persuasive than it is, more rigorous than it is? We believe in the power of truth and reason, but we need to be able to be truthful about ourselves as much as we are about the state of the country.
Similarly, where else can you find someone like Adam Schaeffer who is emphasizing the importance of the get out the vote effort, the new science on what works, and the need to understand techniques that enhance persuasion in the ultimate measure of whether you persuaded: did the person get up and take a step to go vote? I think many conservatives have personalities that are persuaded by ideas alone, and thus have a tendency to think its only a matter of time before the substance of our ideas will break through and persuade others. But, if we are honest, we know that's not the case. In other aspects of life, many of us are quite conscious of how persuasion often has to rely on packaging, finding influencers, etc., and not just the substance of the message. And when turnout is such a key, what's wrong with doing everything we can to have the best ground game, in addition to having the truth on our side?
So, I'm back and hopeful to find in Ricochet much conversation that goes beyond what comforts us conservatives. We certainly will need some solace over these next four years. But most of all, we need to get in the game and figure out how to win.