The Silver Lining for Conservatives

There is no minimizing the catastrophe for conservatives that occurred on Election Day. The United States voted for four more years of the most leftist occupant ever of the Oval Office.

And yet, President Obama’s triumph offers conservatives opportunities that a victory by Gov. Mitt Romney would have denied them.

What conservative would have been excited about four, and probably eight years of Mitt Romney? While conservatives warmed to him as the campaign progressed, they all knew he wasn’t one of them.

How committed, after all, would the man who originally authored Obamacare as governor of Massachusetts been to overseeing its dismantling? I never bought into any of Romney’s arguments that his health care scheme was substantially different from Obama’s because it was state-based. Some of the same people even worked on creating both plans.

America, if it is to save itself, needs sweeping changes: drastic reforms to entitlements, huge cuts in spending, and a commitment to holding the line against raising taxes. It takes an ideologue – yes, I used a dirty word, I know – to actually promote and enact such changes.

Romney didn’t even really campaign on low tax rates; he wanted “tax reform.” He didn’t talk much about Obamacare, entitlements, out-of-wedlock births, or any of the major issues facing the nation. He chose Paul Ryan, a true conservative, but never aggressively embraced Ryan’s ideas.

How much worse for conservatives will four more years of a lame-duck Obama be than eight years of Romney?

Conservatives now will have a chance to address immediately the demographic issue that is threatening the Republican Party, an issue that would have been masked by a Romney victory. Conservatives need to figure out how to sell their ideas to minorities and women, while promoting candidates who are capable of doing this.

And now, the incredibly talented conservative GOP bench will be activated in four years, not eight. Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Wilson, Virginia Gov. Rob McDonnell, New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, among others – the quality of the 2016 GOP Primary field will surpass that of the 2012 group immeasurably.

Conservatives believe the nation would have been better off if Romney had won. But there’s a silver lining for them in his defeat, and it’s not insignificant.

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Award winning journalist Keith Koffler has 16 years of experience covering Washington. As a reporter for CongressDaily, National Journal magazine, and Roll Call, Keith wrote primarily from the White House, covering three presidents and learning as few have the intricacies of the West Wing and the behavior and motivations of its occupants. While mainly stationed at the White House, he also extensively covered Congress and Washington’s lobbyists. Keith has also written for a variety of other publications, including Politico, The Daily Caller, and The London Observer. He currently writes regular opinion columns for Politico. He blogs at

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