John Andrews

The magnifying glass that came in my rehab kit showed the Dems’ retention of the White House and Senate, as well as their Colorado legislative gains, to have been a tactical victory won on intensity and execution, not a repudiation of conservatism. The telescope, looking back, revealed many a political pendulum swing after all seemed lost – think 1964 for my side, 2004 for their side – and likely the same when looking ahead.

Then there was the mirror. Gazing into it was painful, but what a reality bath. Had the GOP, me included, often forgotten that politics is about people no less than principles? Was the other side’s edge in intensity and execution, securing reelection for Obama, baggage and all, partly our fault? Who could be to blame for the tarnished Republican brand but us? Ouch and ouch again.

Inviting a number of conservative audiences to try the mirror exercise has been interesting. There was pushback. “Nobody in this room bears any of the blame,” insisted a friend in Denver. “That’s moderate talk, RINO talk,” said another friend in Grand Junction.

“Death of a Nation,” went an online whine from Colorado Springs. “GOP, DOA, RIP,” moaned an email from Evergreen. Oh really? Time will tell. I’m betting that 2014 and 2016 will prove the reports of conservatism’s demise, like that of Mark Twain, to have been greatly exaggerated.

John Andrews

John Andrews is former president of the Colorado Senate and the author of "Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century"