Rich Lowry: The GOP's cold comfort

BY RICH LOWRY Published: November 14, 2012

The GOP has a strong bench. True enough. The party has talented up-and-coming politicians, but no one can know if any of them will make a compelling presidential candidate. Or know that Democrats won't have a compelling new candidate of their own.

No mandate needed

Obama didn't run on anything. To be sure, the president's second-term agenda was amorphous at best, except for rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the rich. Still, the direction was clear. He chose not to take an obvious opening to moderate after the 2010 elections. Instead, he moved left. He ran on an unabashed social liberalism seeking to impose an unprecedented contraception mandate on employers — including religious employers — and successfully sold it as a natural extension of the rights of women. He ran on a scorching economic populism that worked in the Midwest. He made his overall vision of government aggrandizement clear enough, and still prevailed.

The president doesn't have a mandate. No, he doesn't, but who cares? He doesn't need a mandate to consolidate Obamacare, get some kind of amnesty for illegal immigrants, appoint a few more Supreme Court justices and unleash his regulators.

Republicans will benefit from a period of soul-searching. Well, they might. On the other hand, it could just as easily be a period of divisiveness, folly and self-delusion.

Denial is a natural stage of grief. It's a psychological mechanism that is of no use to a political party, though. Republican clarity must begin with a frank assessment of the Debacle of 2012.

KING FEATURES SYNDICATE