Don’t be angry at Obama, be angry at the Republican establishment

GOP LeadersMonday was a day of pomp and circumstance, with many of our fellow Americans celebrating the second inauguration of Barack Obama as president of the United States.

Amid a gushing media, the accolades flowed as easily as the champagne.

But I sense most conservatives – not to be confused with Republicans — are in a funk. A lot of time and energy went into to defeating this president and his progressive agenda, and the effort fell short.

People on the right are frustrated, even angry.

But should this anger be directed at Obama? Remember, his promise to “fundamentally transform America” came before he was in office. Are we to fault him now for doing just that?

Erick Erickson, managing editor of, has written a column, “The Loyal Opposition,” that’s worth a read. It takes an honest look at how Obama is perceived by many on the right and puts the last four years into perspective. He also addresses conservatives’ anger:

“I cannot be outraged by him doing what he set out to do. I am far more outraged by the Republicans not doing what they said they would do.”

Erickson adds that there is too much outrage among conservatives, too much piss and vinegar, that we’ve become “purveyors of outrage instead of preachers for a cause.”

That anger is unbecoming of the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, he said, adding that, more importantly, “if you must be angry, don’t be angry at a President doing what he set out to do, be angry at a Republican Establishment not doing . . . well . . . much of anything.”

While I do not always agree with Erickson, sometimes he hits the nail right on the head, and Tuesday’s column did just that. Many of my conservative friends and colleagues are adamant about not spending the next four years doing the same things that led to the re-election of Barack Obama.

That’s a good starting point, but where do we go from here? As Erickson states, we’re “off key and off message.”

The path forward — sorry — is to take a hard look at ourselves and the tactics we employ, to stop playing into a convenient narrative set by the media and making it easy for them to categorize the conservative message as “extreme.”

And more importantly, to direct our angst at the appropriate target.

The Republican Party is tasked with a simple concept: sell freedom over the servitude created by dependence on a benevolent federal government. It’s a challenge Reagan rose to meet, but few have done so effectively since.

As fallen conservative warrior Andrew Breitbart said, “If you can’t sell freedom and liberty, you suck!”

In the end, if the right wants to change the course we find ourselves on, and avoid being in the same position four years from now, bemoaning the inauguration of Hillary Clinton, then we had better find a way to convince the American people that the conservative path is the best path forward.

Tom Tillison


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