From the social conservative point of view, the election results were bad. Really bad. That does not mean bad for social conservatives, though. It means bad for the country.
President Obama actually has been one of the most positive things to happen to the conservative movement in a very long time. He has positioned himself squarely against almost everything we believe and has delivered blow after blow in a relentless attack that has unified us in unprecedented ways.
This election does not change that one bit. To the contrary, Mr. Obama's re-election only guarantees and solidifies that unity for years to come, increasing our collective passion to see the nation change course.
We always have recognized that liberalism has an attractive message to sell to the country -- especially in these times, when so many are struggling. In Mr. Obama, the liberal movement has found the ultimate salesman, promising a perpetual "helping hand" from government to those in need. There is no question that is a compelling narrative.
The problem is that it doesn't actually work. Liberalism offers help for the misery it creates. Its "compassion," therefore, is forever needed. It is a brilliant plan, really, but one that eventually will be exposed for what it is: a form of exploitation.
Sadly, people usually must undergo much distress to rediscover old truths. It seems this generation will need to go through some very harsh times before it wakes up. Things are sure to get worse before they get better.
No one disputes that we are living in tough times. The sole question for Mr. Obama this election was, "Whose fault is it?" The president took cover under the George W. Bush blanket, and the strategy worked. Make no mistake; this was not an overwhelming vote of confidence for the president's policies. It certainly lacked the enthusiasm of the "hope and change" campaign of 2008. The failure of the president's policies is what gave Mitt Romney an opening to make the economy so compelling, something no one thought he could do at the beginning.
To everyone's amazement, Mr. Romney had the president on the ropes after that first debate. He would have delivered the knockout blow in the second debate with the whole Benghazi debacle but for moderator Candy Crowley's urgent aid. Even after that, Mr. Romney had another chance to knock Mr. Obama out on that third and final debate on foreign policy. His unwillingness to do so would prove fatal, followed closely by Superstorm Sandy's destruction in the Northeast and the resulting aid of a most unexpected ally for the president: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
It was a series of unfortunate events, no doubt, but events that remind us we are not to overreact to the final outcome of the presidential race.
Social conservatives usually are blamed every time we lose an election, but the fact is that social conservatives did some great work this election, despite the obvious challenges Mr. Romney's record presented. A national post-election survey commissioned by the Faith and Freedom Coalition found that the evangelical vote increased to a record 27 percent of the electorate, the highest share of the vote in modern political history.
Our work to get out the vote paid off, and this is an area that still presents enormous potential, with only about half of all evangelicals actually voting. There is more reason for encouragement. We have a strong crop of young leaders with amazing potential, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who reminds us of the strong bond we can establish with Hispanics and other minority groups who share our conservative values. Reaching out will require much work, but it is promising work.
By far the most problematic result of the election for social conservatives was two states' legalization of homosexual "marriage" by popular vote for the first time in our nation's history. But once again, that is not problematic because of some perceived loss of power or influence with the electorate. The other side's victories are minute compared to our record on the issue. The problem comes from the pain that inevitably will follow from those states' decisions.
Then again, sometimes pain is the only thing that compels us to seek a cure for what ails us. Social conservatives stand ready.
Mario Diaz is legal counsel for Concerned Women for America.