The MSM will be replete with effervescent praise for the victory of now President-elect Barack Obama for the foreseeable future. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, it is all together fitting and proper they should do this. I offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Obama and promise that I will offer him more respect than he and his supporters offered the current occupant of the Oval Office.

I guess that’s a fairly easy promise to keep as the bar wasn’t set very high to begin with.

There will also be several autopsies and post-mortems of the debacle that was McCain-Palin 2008. When all the dust has settled from this election, there will be nothing left of the Republican Party’s congressional majorities of 1994-2006. The wreckage is nearly total – coast to coast and border to border. America will be subject to the whims of an ever leftward sliding Congress controlled by The Pelosi and Dusty Harry. All that stands between them and a rubber stamped Obama signature will be the Senate filibuster commonly known as the Mitch Slap. Even that threat will be diluted by weak-kneed left leaning Republicans hoping that by throwing in with the majority they might score the occasional cocktail party invitation.

In short, surveying the wreckage this Wednesday morning, no, I am not optimistic.

It is thus that I do purposely violate Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of fellow Republicans. As evidence of my Republican party bona-fides, I present the following campaign work and votes for:

Bush (41)-Quayle 1992
Dole-Kemp 1996
W-“Big Time” Cheney 2000
W- “Big Time” Cheney 2004

And finally

McCain-Palin 2008

Someplace deep in my basement storage unit I have a box (one which the Ravishing Mrs. Cordeiro would just as soon I burn) filled with all the bumper stickers, t-shirts and other memorabilia from past campaigns. Soon to be filed there will be the McCain-Palin yard sign.

In short, I’m a party loyalist. Once the primary is over, I close ranks behind the guy the party has chosen and soldier on with him until the end – bitter or otherwise.

Taking the long view of the 2008 election cycle, perhaps there was no Republican candidate that could have run the table against Obama or any other Democrat. Maybe the tsunami of a collapsing economy coupled with an unpopular incumbent would have pulled under even the best candidate.

John McCain is a bona-fide American hero who has spent his entire life fighting for and serving his country. He was not, however, the best candidate the party could have put forward this year. He was just lucky (or unlucky) enough to thread the needle of a fractured Republican base and be the last stomach-able candidate with a chair when the music stopped.

As evidence for this assertion, I cite the gold standard for political number crunching personified by US News’ Michael Barone. Had McCain’s margin of victory been 3% less, he’d have been watching this election cycle from the bleachers just like Romney, Huckabee, Thompson, Guiliani and the rest of the primary crowd.

I firmly believe the Republican Party is doomed to “wander in the wilderness” until it, and whatever leaders decide to lead it, deal with the fundamental flaws which led to this embarrassing and unnecessary defeat. Here’s my list:

The Religious Right and Identity Politics

In my not so humble opinion, this is where the Republicans hoisted themselves over their own petard. More time, effort, and energy was spent quibbling over which candidate was the most “Christian” or the most “pro-life” or the most obviously religious than any other issue – relevant or otherwise. Yes, Mike Huckabee, I’m talking about you. Your constant attempts to turn a political debate into an ecclesiastical one made us all look foolish – you included. Maybe mixing stand up comedy with biblical sermons works well in Arkansas, but trust me – those people were laughing at you – not with you.

Simply put, the Founders put Article VI in the Constitution for a reason. Religious tests have no place in politics. Either we figure this out or perhaps George Will is right. Perhaps America was more enlightened a century ago.

The Media

I have not, in my lifetime, seen a more coordinated media chorus favoring one political party over another. As far as the MSM was concerned, this election was over the very second Barack Obama superseded the (less than) inevitable Hillary Clinton. The day-to-day coverage of the candidates during the primary season was incredibly slanted. The general election campaign coverage was even worse. We know more about Stiletto Sarah’s wardrobe than we do about Barack Obama’s thin record of achievement. There is no shortage of commentary about McCain’s skin cancer treatment or Palin’s moose hunting ability. The same cannot be said about investigations into Obama’s dubious associations.

For some strange reason I simply don’t understand, the MSM has a monopoly on the debates associated with the primary and general elections. The primary debates – especially the ones featuring YouTube – redefined the term “pathetic”. The questions were lame and obviously designed to trip up the candidate rather than provide an opportunity to get insight into the candidates’ thought processes (or lack thereof). The general election debates set a new “lame” threshold.

The MSM – with very few exceptions – is little more than the public relations arm of the Democratic Party. For Republicans, MSM journalists should be treated as an adversary until proven otherwise. There are ways around the MSM filter – unless and until The Pelosi, Dusty Harry, and UpChuck Schumer get around to implementing the fairness doctrine.

Reagan Conservative Principles

It should be pretty obvious by now that attempting to get along by going along with liberals only makes conservatives weaker and liberals stronger. Reagan accomplished what he did by sticking to his principles – low taxes, small(er) government, are strong defense. The DC establishment hated him. Ronaldus Magnus didn’t care. His road to success is a proven one – much more so than the road which got Republicans where we currently reside.

The road back from the electoral abyss has been traveled before. The Democratic party has had the Washington Trifecta before. In 1992 the Clintons rode into town on the last wave of hope and change. They promptly went a few bridges too far in their quest to re-make the world. It is both possible and indeed probable Team Obama, The Pelosi, and Dusty Harry will do the same thing again.

The question remains as to whether or not Republicans will be in any shape to take advantage of the coming opportunity.

Which opportunity would that be? Well, the Bush tax cuts expire on December 31, 2009. This means Congress need do nothing at all in order to raise taxes on every single American. Now I know that President-elect Obama has promised only to raise taxes on those greedy Americans making over 250 large annually. Well, at last count it was down to 120 large, but what’s a few large among friends?

So, the odds favor a tax bill written by Barney Frank, blessed by The Pelosi, and shepherded through the Senate by Dusty Harry over whatever resistance Mitch McConnell can muster. Said bill might mirror Obama’s promised middle class tax cut, but I’m betting 2-1 it doesn’t.

Will Obama have the courage to stand up to The Pelosi and Dusty Harry? That remains to be seen, but there’s nothing in his record that would lead me to believe he would.

What I’m interested in is whether or not Republicans can find, borrow, or grow stones sufficient to stand in the breech and fight for the conservative principles upon which their party was built. On that, I’m slightly, cautiously optimistic.