Known Unknowns

“[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don’t know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

—Former United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld


Byron York has a terrific article in this fact free shooting from the hip post-election week of hand wringing and incessant demands on party purges from people who aren’t even in the Republican Party.

The week following the 2002 election, talking heads on television gave every sort of prognostication about what was wrong with the Democratic Party.

2004 fueled the analysis further.

A lot of it turned out to be wrong. Two years later, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party took over Congress and two years later, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party took the White House too.

So much for returning to the roots of the “moderate” Democratic Leadership Council, which ceased operations in 2011, less than seven years after the media finished excoriating the Democrats for their leftward, loss accumulating drift in 2004.

The biggest problem the GOP faces now is that so much of the punditry and analysis coming from within the GOP and on television comes from two groups of people: (1) those whose world view in politics began with the election of 2000 and who lack any sense of history and (2) those who have never really liked conservatives anyway.

Lest we forget, as Dan McLaughlin has pointed out repeatedly, every Republican nominee since Ronald Reagan, excluding John McCain, opposed Ronald Reagan in the 1980 Republican Primary. There is a lot of ill will toward the Reagan Revolution within the GOP. It is exacerbated by the ill will outside the GOP.


Are there problems? Yes.

Does the GOP need some fixing? Yes.

Do we know what the problems really are? No. Not Yet. Before the GOP takes a full drift left or starts throwing people overboard, perhaps we should analyze the actual loss.

For example? Remember that gender gap? Actually, black women went overwhelmingly for Barack Obama as most black voters do. Remove them from the equation and Romney won women handily. So was it a gender gap or the black voter gap that caused the “gender gap” talking point?

Do you know that the auto bailout might not have been what caused Romney to lose Ohio? Turns out black voters voted in record high numbers and Romney’s campaign failed to turn out an offsetting array of voters who turned out for John McCain.

Many of the people offering major solutions for the GOP, from amnesty to embracing abortion, are talking out of their rear ends — flying blind in a torrent of data, much of which has yet to be processed. This is an analysis that will take months, not weeks. It’s no reason to throw out long held planks of the platform, let alone principles that have served the party well and paint a clear contrast with Democrats.


We should realize we know what the unknowns are and need to now learn them.

About the only thing we do know right now is that Karl Rove’s Crossroads PAC failed to deliver and now wants to fight conservatives in primaries despite major losses by lots of candidates he was cool with this time around, Romney got taken to the cleaners by a lot of failed consultants, and if the GOP doesn’t rub itself in alcohol its consultant class of leeches will continue sucking the party to failure.

Perhaps we should start with that purge, instead of purging social or fiscal conservatives.


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