In the wake of President Obama’s victory, conservatives are too busy licking their electoral and popular wounds to consider the happier news. As far as they’re concerned, there isn’t any. But this is short-sighted. During the president’s second term, one arena is guaranteed to prosper: the bestseller list. Its categories will be much more predictable than the weather. Herewith, a few.

What Went Wrong? How Mitt Romney failed to offer a lucid alternative to Obamacare; how the GOP candidate scored a knockout in the first debate and then blew his advantage by playing it safe for the next two encounters; why the Paul Ryan choice opened big . . . and then fizzled in the final few weeks; why Romney failed to persuade women voters that his party was not misogynistic; why Republicans never recognized the importance of the auto industry bailout; and so on.

The Mainstream Media Pressure: The many ways in which major newspapers and networks continued their look-the-other-way practices when it came to White House scandals but had plenty of time and space to devote to the meaningless candidacies of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich; how the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the AP and Reuters, ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN, among others, abandoned their journalistic principles to become outright advocates for the president—even in “objective” leads and front page stories.

What Did He Know and When Did He Know It?: A shelf of volumes about the unending list of scandals emanating from the White House, ranging from the sleazy gun-running operation of Fast and Furious to the pocket-picking of GM stockholders to the bankruptcy of Solyndra; and on to the stimulus that didn’t stimulate, to the shovel-ready jobs that never materialized, to the surrender to environmentalists on the Keystone Pipeline that promised more jobs and less dependence on Middle East oil.

Benghazi: The mother of all scandals. How White House strategists created a fiction about the death of an American ambassador and those who tried to rescue him. First came the appearances of Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton, insisting on Sunday news shows that the attack was caused by an anti-Muslim film. Then came the arrest of the filmmaker—a clear violation of the First Amendment. When it turned out that no one had seen the film and that the assault was well-planned and executed, the president’s operatives sought to push the “We Killed Bin Laden and Undermined al-Qaida” line and ride out the scandal. And so they did. But for how long?

All Is Vanity: The hell-in-a-hand-basket approach favored by Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Mark Steyn, and their colleagues. In the next two years will come an avalanche of despairing tomes about a changed America. How the white male voter has been marginalized; why the Democratic Party has a lock on the future because of new Hispanic voters, African-American voting blocs, and left-leaning youths. For armchair doom-and-gloom types and buyers of gold and silver.

Looking Back: The opposite of the down-in-the-dumps books, these are studies of the American Past. They’ll show the incredible resilience of a nation that rose up in rebellion, threw off unfair taxation, and prospered despite major depressions, World Wars, and domestic catastrophes. The most heartening of these books will reexamine the extraordinary Founders who believed in American exceptionalism, and why their lives and works continue to echo down the years. At least one of them will quote Mark Twain, whose words have more relevance than ever to conservatives: “Loyalty to country, ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”


City Journal is a publication of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (MI), a leading free-market think tank. Are you interested in supporting the magazine? As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, donations in support of MI and City Journal are fully tax-deductible as provided by law (EIN #13-2912529).

Further Reading

Up Next