Barack Obama and his drones are deservedly happy over dodging the bullet of a shitty economy and getting another four years to play golf at Andrews Air Force base. But when you step back, wipe the tears from your eyes, the actual vote numbers are fascinating. Let’s just deal with the facts:

Fewer people voted this year than in the 2008 election.
In 2008, Obama garnered 69,456,897. Compare that to the 61,128,734 this year. That means more than 8 million people no longer thought that Obama was the one or was worth a vote.

How about the Republicans? Here’s another shocker. McCain received 59,934,814 in 2008 while Romney, despite the appearance of more enthusiasm, only received 58,138,521 this go round. That’s almost 1.8 million fewer Republican votes for Romney. Despite reduced enthusiasm and support for Obama, Republicans were not inspired.

Rush Limbaugh devoted a big part of his program today discussing this. Rush insisted:

We didn’t lose the election on Tuesday because we’re pro-choice or pro-life; we did not lose the election because single women hate us and don’t like us. That’s not why we lost. We might not be getting a majority of those votes, but when three million of our own people don’t show up, it doesn’t matter who on the Democrat side we’re not getting. I want to take you back to this program and me on January 6 of this year. . . .

In a subsequent conversation with a caller Rush continued:

CALLER: Well, I want us to get the Republican leadership to wake up, and we’ve gotta get conservatives.

RUSH: Ken, I hate to tell you, but that’s not the message they’re taking from this election, as you know, if you’ve been listening to the program today. They know that three million didn’t show up. If they come to believe that the three million didn’t show up because they don’t like moderates, they’re just gonna get mad at you like the Democrats get mad. At least what I’ve seen so far on TV, and read, and is coming from the so-called conservative media, the Republicans think they goofed up by failing to get the Hispanic vote and the single women vote. They think they goofed up on the demography side, which tells me that you’re gonna continue to be pretty unhappy with the direction they go.

CALLER: Well, the establishment of the Republican Party has unfortunately been in Washington too long —

RUSH: Well, I’m just gonna tell you, look, I understand what you’re doing, but you gave us Bill Clinton, and now Barack Obama. Your vote is your vote. I understand. I saw this figure, I saw this three million didn’t show up. I saw it yesterday morning. It didn’t register. I even mentioned it at the beginning of this program. It didn’t register ’til last night when I compared it. Had you guys all shown up, Romney would have beat Obama, popular vote, by 180 thousand. Those are hard numbers, real hard numbers. I don’t know what it would have meant Electoral College-wise. Anyway, I gotta go. Ken, thanks for the call. Back after this.

Looks like the number is closer to two million than three. That said, we are seeing what I think is Conservative denial. Conservatives (whatever that is) insist that if only they had a genuine Conservative they would have victory. Nonsense. There is no such thing as a “genuine Conservative.”

Why do I say that? Answer me this–which of the following is a “genuine Conservative?”

Rick Perry
Rick Santorum
Michelle Bachman
Herman Cain
Newt Gingrich

Depends on what your pet issue is. If abortion is your make or break, then Santorum and Bachman meets the test. But their position, while based in a strong moral position, is not shared by a majority of Americans. Do you really think either would have fared much better than Romney? Perhaps they might have drawn more of the base, but you cannot discount the possibility that they would have inspired more Democrats and Independents, who sat this one out, to go to the polls to vote against them by backing Obama.

Want some more anecdotal evidence of the Conservative myth? Look at what happened to Tea Party Conservatives Alan West and Joe Walsh. Both won their races as Tea Party advocates in 2010. This time, both lost. While West is still disputing the results (and only lost by less than 3000 votes), neither West nor Walsh managed to rally a surge of “Conservative” to vote for them and keep them in office. Sad, I think both men brought courage of their convictions and deserved to be re-elected. But, their conservative views did not produce enough conservative voters willing to back them and off-set the Democrats and Independents who did not agree with them.

Hardline Conservatives are like hardline Liberals. Each have a Utopian vision that they believe would usher in perfect Government if only given a shot. But each are pursuing a Chimera–a mythical thing composed of different parts.

What do Conservatives believe? Ostensibly, they believe in limited Government. However, on the issue of abortion, some who claim to be Conservatives insist the Government has every right to insert itself in the decision on whether or not a fetus should be carried to term.

Marriage? Many Conservatives want the Federal Government to insert itself on the question of who can marry whom. Social Conservatives, for example, strongly believe in the Defense of Marriage Act and want the Feds to set the standard for what States can and cannot do on the matter of whether Homosexuals can marry.

How about the Government’s power to detain someone without habeus corpus? Well, if the Government labels the person a “terrorist” then many Conservatives are quite happy to let the Government do what it wants.

There is an inherent conflict between Economic Conservatives and Social Conservatives.

The caller to Rush’s show quoted above is an example of the dark underbelly of Conservatives. This guy is mentally just like Al Qaeda’s Ayman Zawahiri. No, I do not mean that the caller wants to kill innocents in the name of his belief, but he does hold the same kind of uncompromising mentality. Zawahiri will condemn practicing Muslims as Apostates because they do not adhere to what he considers true Islam. This caller rejected Romney as not an “Authentic Conservative” because he dared to take the rational, sane position that in Government one must work with the other side in order to achieve tangible results.

I also am fascinated by the bizarre obsession with Ronald Reagan. I thing Reagan was a great President. But he was not a “true Conservative.” He found ways to compromise with Democrats in order to get his legislative priorities through. Reagan did not act like the mythical true Conservative. He did not eliminate the Department of Education, for example. And, under his leadership, the Federal Government grew in size.

Okay, I’ve teed it up. What do you think?

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.