WHINOs: On the martyrdom of the holy, holy Republican base

At FreedomFest, I did an interview with Matthew Boyle of Breitbart Radio, a nice enough guy but a pretty good example of the WHINO style in American politics. What about Romney? Boyle demanded. Romney, he said with absolute assurance, lost to Barack Obama because millions of conservatives stayed home, finding him insufficiently committed to their cause.

The first aspect of what is wrong with this analysis is obvious: It assumes that a “real conservative” who couldn’t beat Mitt Romney in a Republican primary dominated by “real conservatives” would have defeated Barack Obama in a national election not dominated by conservatives at all, i.e. that Romney was the weakest candidate except for all the guys who couldn’t beat him.

But the defects in this analysis do not stop there. I am not sure that the psephology actually says what the WHINOs think it does, but even if it were so, the further problem with this line of thinking is obvious: If you are a conservative, and if you believe that the way to reform American public policy is to elect conservatives, and you arrived at Election Day believing that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were, from the conservative point of view, interchangeable commodities, then you are either a fanatic or extraordinarily ill-informed. In either case, you owe it to yourself and to your country to be a better citizen, and maybe read a book. There are all sorts of good reasons to abstain from voting, but the preposterous notion that there isn’t much difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney isn’t one of them.