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November 10, 2006

I NOTED EARLIER that Ann Althouse is depressed about the elections, and looking around it seems that a lot of people feel that way. Well, I understand that, God knows. But one iron rule of elections is that you win some and you lose some. And people tend to exaggerate their importance and, if they're on the losing side, catastrophize.

I remember lots of gloom-and-doom and catastrophization in the gun rights community ten or twelve years ago. Defeat seemed inexorable, the media were all on the other side, the politicians who were supposed to be on the right side of the issue couldnt' be trusted, the electorate seemed easily manipulated, and --- well, enough. Sound familiar?

Ten years later the Democrats won't touch the gun issue, right-to-carry laws are passing in state after state, and the "assault weapons ban" -- once seen as the camel's nose in the tent -- has expired. How did that happen? Not because of gloom and doom, but because people worked to make it happen: worked politically, worked in terms of communications and media, worked in terms of not getting discouraged but just plugging away. Want the electorate to come around to your views? You've got to persuade them. Over the years, I've seen this hold true for one issue after another.

Is this a "detached and academic" perspective? Well, I am an academic, after all, and I'd probably be detached about the end of the world, which this isn't. Maybe I "lack fire," but I think it's a realistic perspective, borne of experience. It's okay to feel bad for a while. Maybe it's even therapeutic. But ultimately, things happen because people want to make them happen, and work to make it so.

Meanwhile I note that Rush Limbaugh, who was complaining about my pre-mortem before, now says he feels "liberated" because he's able to say things like . . . what I said back before the election. Well, better late than never, but one problem with the GOP is that it lost touch with the things it was supposed to stand for, and a little more tough love from Limbaugh before the election might have done some good.