Standard of conservatism: Why Romney lost in 2012

NEW YORK, May 5, 2013 ― Still reeling from the political rollercoaster of the recent Presidential election, political junkies already are beginning to look ahead to next year’s midterm elections. 

This is especially true for the Republican Party, which seeks redemption after a poor showing last November, when it failed to claim the White House for a second straight time.

In spite of the serious problems this nation faces both at home and abroad, the Republican Party failed to oust those in charge, and were it not for the whooping they put on the Democratic Party in 2010, it would be easy to say that the nation was shifting left from its conservative roots, to a more European liberalism.

But 2010 did happen, and most studies show that Conservatives still outnumber Liberals in this nation at a ratio of almost 2:1[i]. So the real question the Republican Party should be asking is, “where are we going wrong?”

In 2008, the Republicans ran out John McCain, a grizzled veteran of Washington politics who ran as a war hero, a man of vast leadership experience, on a record of bipartisanship and as a moderate who could capture the Independent vote. Four years later, they went with a similar product, putting forth Mitt Romney, who ran as a Massachusetts moderate, a CEO with great economic experience, and just a really nice guy.

In both elections, the Republicans relied not on showing themselves to be right, but on proving the Democrats wrong. Instead of standing on the conservative principles of freedom and Constitutionalism, they ran for the center and hoped that the people would choose the lesser of two evils.

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But in forsaking these principles, they gave up on the most powerful pitch that they could make, and gave the voters no real alternative to the failures of their opponents, who remained focused on stating their own case, and controlling the dialogue.

In contrast, in the midterm elections of 2010, the old dogs of the Republican Party took a back seat to the next generation. 

Conservatives and Libertarians from across the country began to sprout up and stand firm upon their conservative principles. Instead of backing up, playing defense and attacking their opponents, they took the lead, stated their case, and cleaned house, literally.

They forcefully made the case for a return to the Constitution, and a reduction in the power held by politicians and bureaucrats alike.

SEE RELATED: Mitt Romney to CPAC: “I will be your co-worker”

It was no wonder the American people responded so energetically to this message; it is the American Ideal, and quite frankly the easiest proposition a politician could make.

These conservative candidates realized that the concepts of low taxes and low government spending are not the core of conservatism but rather a byproduct of the true story. At the true heart of conservatism is the idea that all men are created equal, and as such have an equal ability to reason right from wrong.

It is that people are smart enough to live our lives in freedom, and that the Constitution is not a guideline but the supreme law of the land, whose purpose was to curtail the strength of government and ensure a free society.

We do not believe in taking money out of the education system, but rather in transfering that money and power out of the hands of the bureaucrats and back to the teachers and parents who will actually be directing the child.

We do not want less money in the hands of the poor, but instead we want to take that money and power and bring it back into the hands of the people where it belongs, not in the hands of politicians thousands of miles detatched.

It is upon these principles that these leaders stood, forcing the voters to think and ask themselves certain questions, such as, who should run my retirement account? Should it be me, or the politicians who have driven the wealthiest nation in history nearly $17 trillion into debt? And who should decide what I eat and what I drink? Me, or a bureaucrat hundreds of miles away who does not even know I exist, until election day.

Do I not have the same ability to reason right from wrong as everyone else, including the politicians? Then where does any politician get the authority to run my life, or yours?

Upon hearing this message declared across the nation, Americans were emboldened, realizing that they are not as dumb as most politicians would have them believe.

They remembered that the idea of America was to create a free nation and to foster a virtuous people; that the American government was supposed to protect our natural rights that are ours by birthright; and that jobs, shelter and food are guaranteed only in slavery, while man’s spirit deserves and requires freedom.

It is rather for us, whose lives will be most directly affected, to make the decisions as to how to live our lives. It is we, the citizens of the United States, who are purposed to create a free nation for all men for all time.

It is the easiest pitch on the planet to make, and when made as sincerely and as vigorously as it was in 2010, it cannot be defeated.

When you look at the great electoral victories of the last 40 years, you see a clear pattern. When a man stands against his opponent, and argues that he deserves it more than the other guy, he loses. 

But when he stands upon principle, and allows the virtue of those principles to outshine those of his opponent, he wins, and he wins big. 

It is because Senator McCain and Governor Romney were unable to meet this standard that they lost. Not because their campaigns were in disarray, or that they did not have enough time. They had years to get it right.  

They did not win because they were unable to see that America does not want a CEO or a man of experience to be in control of their lives. We want a man who will meet this standard and stand firm upon these principles, securing for us the freedom to foster a more virtuous nation.

[i] Gallup - U.S. Political Ideology Stable With Conservatives Leading


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Stephen Boniberger

Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Stephen Boniberger is a Junior at St. John's University where he is a Pre-Law student double-majoring in Political Science and History with a minor in Classics. 

In addition to speaking four languages, and being Vice President for St. John’s University’s College Republicans, Stephen also founded the Young Americans for Freedom Chapter at St. John's University where he is currently the chapter’s Chairman and President.

Influenced by John Locke, William Blackstone, and the Founding Fathers, Stephen identifies himself as a Reagan Conservative, a strong proponent of Originalist Constitutional interpretation, and is well versed in an array of topics ranging from Politics and International Relations to Philosophy and Constitutional Law.  

Contact Stephen Boniberger


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