Robert Knight

The pundits are already at it, saying that conservatism is dead.

But Barack Obama and Joe Biden were elected in large part because they managed, in the face of all evidence, to run to the right of McCain-Palin.

Obama-Biden pretended they weren’t much different from social conservatives. In fact, they didn’t look much different from fiscal conservatives, either, and played the bogus “tax cut” card better than McCain. They got away with it for two reasons:

1) The McCain-Palin campaign was so busy being Democrat Lite “mavericks” that they refused to raise issues that would have given voters a stark moral choice.

2) The media were happy to ignore the disconnect between the Obama rhetoric and his radical policies and associates. They had the perfect excuse: If the McCain campaign doesn’t make an issue of these things, why should we?

Exit polls showed that at least 60 percent of voters said the economy was the most important issue. That makes sense when the stock market is bucking like a mechanical bull, digging a deep pit. Meanwhile, the media are blaming the government-driven mortgage collapse on (take your pick) Republicans or “the free market.” McCain-Palin responded by talking about Wall Street “greed” and “greedy” oil companies This is the language of envy, and the GOP is not in the same league with Democrats when it comes to stoking the sin of coveting. “Did we mention we’re mavericks?”

Given the media’s Obama infatuation and the McCain campaign’s insistence on sticking to a losing script until the last days, it’s little wonder that many voters decided to “make history” with the first African-American president. A lot of Americans regardless of party are proud of this, although many would rather it was Michael Steele, Alan Keyes or anyone without the radical resume of Barack Obama.

Absent from the campaign coverage were potent issues like judicial activism, marriage, abortion, gun control, cultural depravity, and illegal immigration. Some of these were triggered by rogue judges, and resulted in state initiatives. As the Committee for Justice’s Curt Levey observes, “Even if McCain and his GOP colleagues were squeamish about tackling these controversial issues directly, they could have used the judges issue to tap into the conservative leanings of voters….”

The media made it all about Obama’s historic ascendance and McCain’s and Palin’s quirks and fumbles.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.