The Midnight Messages of Mr. Romney and President Obama

November 6, 2012

by Joseph  A.  Morris

The wisdom of the Framers in establishing the Electoral College, and not in having us choosing our chief magistrate by raw popular vote, is seen once again.

Even though, at this hour, we do not know whether or not Mr. Obama has won a majority of the popular vote across this nation, there is no doubt but that he has won a landslide in the Electoral College.  His victory is decisive and his claim on office is legitimate.  In a world that is uncertain, dangerous, and rude, Americans should be grateful for this.

I was very grateful for Mr. Romney’s prompt, succinct, and generous concession speech.

In defeat he offered only sincere congratulations to the President and a message of healing balm and unity to his supporters and the American people as a whole.

Mr. Romney offered neither an apologia for his candidacy nor an agenda for the nation.  It was too late for either.

Rather, he did the only right thing for the loser to do in a constitutional republic in which the rule of law is taken seriously:  He led his fellow-citizens in accepting, as definitive, the results of the election, and in bringing the current political contest to an unambiguous end:

“This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.”

We should be grateful for this, as well.

President Obama’s victory speech was also very generous.  It was surprisingly un-self-referential and it was devoid of any strident claims of a mandate for specific legislation or other measures.

The President’s remarks were reflective of a genuine love of this country and of a vision of social cohesion of a kind.  But they were also revealing of Mr. Obama’s persistent and fundamental failure to understand what really makes America exceptional.

In a peroration delivered this election night with a fervor that recalled his national debut in 2004, Mr. Obama said:

“The role of citizens in our democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

“This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

“What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

“The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.”

Social cohesion, diversity, and “love, charity, duty, and patriotism” may well be admirable attributes of America and Americans, but they are not what has made America “exceptional”.  Any other people might well see themselves as “exceptional” for the same reasons.  As Mr. Obama said in 2009, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.”

At the heart of what really has made America special, and ultimately great, is its commitment, hitherto, to the limiting of government.  That’s the distinctive “principle we were founded on.”

It is a vision of people as self-determining ends in themselves, and not as mere tools for the achievement of government’s ends by other means.

It is a wise people that recurs to its own first principles.  In their respective speeches tonight, closing the 2012 election campaign, Mr. Romney and President Obama finally opened a debate on America’s founding principles.  And that is something else for which we can also be grateful.

Patent
Join ACU

The ACU Blog

ACU Slams McCain for Selectively Citing Ratings to Make Himself Look Better

Breitbart.com by: Michelle Moons

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)’s campaign team is getting called out by the very organization whose rating it cited on

ACU’s Letter Against Re-Authorization of Ex-Im Bank

The American Conservative Union urges Congress to allow the authorization of the Export-Import Bank to expire.

As with many government programs, the Export-Import

ACU Says NO to “Comprehensive Patent Reform”

As part of ACU’s long-term strategy to stand up against those who seek to take advantage of American Inventors, we

ACU Releases 2014 Annual Ratings of Congress

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 12, 2015

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:  Ian Walters (202)347-9388 iwalters@conservative.org

 

ACU Releases 2014 Annual Ratings

The Road to CPAC

5 Bizarre Ways the Government Uses Your Money

Tax_graphic copy

It’s Tax Day!

Ever wonder what the government does with your money? Don’t worry, they’re spending it just as responsibly as you would… Because everyone

The Weekly Standard: Inside Hillary’s ‘Very Luxurious’ Van: A Bed, TV, and Lots of Leather

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 3.23.48 PM

Originally published by The Weekly Standard

Written by DANIEL HALPER

Hillary Clinton has arrived at her first campaign stop, completing the 965 mile

ACUF Chairman Carly Fiorina on Fox News: Hillary Lacks Leadership, Results

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 11.30.33 AM

ACU Foundation Chairman Carly Fiorina appeared on Fox News this morning to discuss Hillary’s candidacy for President.  “(Hillary Clinton) doesnt have a track record of

ACU Chairman Schlapp on Hillary: “We’ve Had Enough”

Screen Shot 2015-04-11 at 10.45.13 PM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Ross Hemminger (419) 934-3069

(Washington, DC) Today, American Conservative Union Chairman Matt Schlapp released the following statement on the

Founded in 1964, the American Conservative Union (ACU) is the oldest and largest grassroots conservative organization in the nation. For more than forty years, ACU has served as an umbrella organization harnessing the collective strength of conservative organizations fighting for Americans who are concerned with liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values, and strong national defense. As America's premier conservative voice, ACU is the leading entity in providing conservative positions on issues to Congress, the Executive Branch, State Legislatures, the media, political candidates, and the public. Read More

1331 H St NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20005
Ph: (202) 347-9388 | Fx: (202) 347-9389

Contact Us
Privacy Policy
Opportunities/Careers

ACU. All Rights Reserved.