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Thank God for Rich Lowry

I for one have been getting sick and tired of hearing more and more so-called conservatives publicly bash the field of candidates and hint that the party could benefit or learn something from a loss in the general election this November.


Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza published a post Sunday that picked up some steam as it led with a reference to "Batman Begins" while analyzing rumors within GOP circles that the party could rebound long-term if it suffers a big 2012 loss.

"'Batman Begins' — the 2005 movie about the origins of the caped crusader — there is a group of villains who believe the city of Gotham is beyond saving and that the only way to fix it is to first destroy it.

As the Republican presidential race has worn on (and on), there are some within the party wondering — privately, of course — whether the only way for the party to face the growing divide between its moderate and conservative wings is for the 2012 election to be its Gotham moment."

Cillizza points to the success of Republican pragmatist Richard Nixon following the 1964 general election blowout suffered by outspoken libertarian Barry Goldwater, comments from McCain strategists, and recent interviews with sudden general election expert Jon Huntsman in forwarding a claim that has not been unpopular among media coverage of the 2012 Republican primary: if a "strictly conservative" candidate like Rick Santorum gets trounced in the general election, it wil provide a wakeup call and needed ideological reflection within the GOP.

“I’d personally enjoy all the ‘we can’t nominate another Republican In Name Only’ crowd getting a stomping by an incumbent with an 8.5 unemployment rate,' said one senior party strategist, granted anonymity to speak candidly, warning of nominating a strictly conservative candidate like former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum."

Even the usually astute conservative Washington Post columnist George Will joined in the melancholy , writing March 2 that "there would come a point when, taking stock of reality, conservatives turn their energies to a goal much more attainable than, and not much less important than, electing Romney or Santorum president. It is the goal of retaining control of the House and winning control of the Senate."

Rich Lowry's spot on column Tuesday declares that "This is not time for Republican gloom," and lays waste to the idea that four more years of Obama would provide any lesson or silver lining for conservatives. Retaining the House is critical and winning back the Senate would be fantastic, but Lowry makes the important case that Republicans need to mobilize and get serious for a second term from this administration will do long-term, and likely unreconcilable damage to the American economy and government.

"All of this is hopefulness masquerading as hardheadedness. No shift in the balance of power within the Republican Party, no congressional check on the president, no silver lining can possibly outweigh the setback the GOP will suffer if President Obama wins a second term.

Assuming it’s not struck down by the Supreme Court, ObamaCare will be on the books until 2017, and probably forevermore. No matter how unpopular now, it will eventually become part of the permanent architecture of the welfare state, as unmovable as almost every other entitlement. It won’t be long before Republicans are couching their criticisms of the program in terms of “saving” it. The repeal movement will eventually feel as dated as opposition to the creation of Medicare.

If Republicans hold the House and at least a substantial minority in the Senate, the president’s ability to pass major new programs will be limited. But the debate over the Health and Human Services contraception mandate demonstrates the power and discretion attendant to controlling the executive branch. The administration came up with the rule mandating coverage with no exemption for religious institutions all on its own. What could congressional Republicans do to stop it? Nothing.

This is a theme. What could congressional Republicans do to stop the auto bailouts? Nothing. The Libya War? Nothing. The Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing? Nothing. They objected to the administration’s dithering on the Keystone Pipeline, so they included a requirement that President Obama make a decision in an unrelated piece of must-pass legislation. He escaped this clever trap — by rejecting the pipeline.

This is the tale of congressional frustration when Republicans have been united. There’s no guarantee that they will remain so if their numbers diminish next year and if their standing with the public remains low."

Lowry's complete column at The New York Post.

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