And If the GOP Doesn't Win, Cont.

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Many reader messages await on how the Republican party would react to the apparently imminent defeat of Mitt Romney -- that is, the failure to beat a marginally popular incumbent during economic hard times. Some people say defeat would necessarily propel the party back to the center; others, that it would boil out the RINOs and compromisers and empower those who say that a pure approach is the only way to win.

As an indicator of steering currents, here is an editorial tonight titled "Crush Them," from the National Review online, published a few hours before the polls were to open.

Conservatives have a rare opportunity tomorrow to do something they signally failed to do in the landslide elections of 1972 and 1984: finish the job....

It's not enough for the GOP to win tomorrow. It needs to win big, a win so convincing that even the Left won't be able to explain it away. The definition of victory in war is not a 50.1 percent majority that allows the other side to keep fighting -- it's the battleship Missouri, on whose deck the losing side signs articles of capitulation. The modern Left -- the unholy spawn of '30s gangland and '60s academic Marxism -- must be forced to its knees in surrender.

And if the scene tomorrow night is not of Messrs. Obama, Biden, Reid, et al on their knees in surrender, accompanied by Ms. Pelosi -- if the concession speech is coming from the other side and Mitch McConnell is left not with control of the Senate but with the obstructionist tool of the filibuster -- if any of that happens, I really will be interested to see how this branch of the right-wing movement "explains away" its situation and considers how the party can re-position itself.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.
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