Perhaps the worst of all possible defeats are the unexpected. To go into a fight knowing loss is  likely. that one can prepare for that. But to be certain that you will win, and to get ruthlessly denied, that staggers.

I’ve spent a few days trying to figure out what in the name of all things decent this means, aside from Nothing Good. It’s not just that we lost, it’s that I can no longer believe the people who told me otherwise. All the bloggers, poll wizards, and pundits who were predicting an easy Romney victory were absolutely dead wrong. About everything. And that experience would be wasted if I didn’t take it as a wake-up call.

I think Ladd Ehlinger is right: We cannot afford to ignore the cultural razor that the Left has at our throats. When the Todd Akin thing blew up, I made a few clever Photoshops and left it at that.  Did I argue with people who insisted on ranting about “Republican Rape Fans.” No. The argument was too stupid. People would eventually see that, and it would blow over. I let it pass.

Andrew Klavan is right: Life is short, but Art is Long. And Demographics matter far less than ideas. We have them. We need to sell them.

Jeff Goldstein was almost certainly right, in just about every post he’s written since the campaign began. Romney’s weakness was the weakness of those who believed him to have won the election after the first debate: he believed that competence, in the face of Obama’s manifest incompetence, would win through. That would be enough if we had a media interested solely in calling balls and strikes, and a voice in the wider culture. But we have neither, and we cannot continue to pretend otherwise.

I don’t know if there’s any hope for America in 2016 or beyond. I don’t know if hope lies in running a more boisterous, punch-back-twice-as-hard campaign, or in going on a Long March of our own through the cultural institutions of the land. I think a bit of both, and I’m going to make it my own personal mission to forward both missions to the best of my ability.

But I do know this: the next time the GOP nominates some establishment twerp who’s supposed to have a claim on my vote because he stood in line and held his ticket, I’m gonna give money to the Libertarians, and my vote. I live in Maryland, for God’s Sake; every party that isn’t the Democrats is a third party here.

And if the polls tell me that the Democrats have a +6 advantage, I might go ahead and believe them.

(Hat Tip: Jonah Goldberg at NRO)

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