Ben Stein: The GOP will come back

Volunteer Clare Frew puts away a life-size cutout of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney as she prepares to close the Chatham County Republican Campaign office, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Savannah, Ga. Romney lost his bid to defeat President Barack Obama, losing by more than three million ballots in the popular vote, and by 332 to 206 in Electoral College votes. AP Photo/Stephen Morton

(CBS News) Before we close the book on the week just past, some last thoughts on Campaign 2012. Republicans have been doing a lot of soul-searching since Tuesday's election - and that includes our contributor Ben Stein:

Wow. It sure hurts to lose, and we in the GOP came so close in so many vital states and in the popular vote.

And, in hindsight, we can see we made some big mistakes - weak behavior in the third debate, wacky Senate candidates, naming as a candidate a man of great wealth and a finance background after a Wall Street debacle.

But let's not cry and swear to leave the country, as some of my Republican friends did the other night.

Our position as a party is not at all terrible. We still control the House. We have enough votes in the Senate to block anything we hate. The Democrats know they won by a modest margin. They have no overwhelming mandate, and they know it.

I have seen our party in far worse shape - after the Goldwater disaster of '64; after Watergate and the thorough beating we got in the 1974 elections when we barely held a third of the House. We have been pronounced dead and buried over and over again. And we've always come back, like the Energizer Bunny.

Only we don't want to be just a bunny. We want to be the creating party, the party of life and energy. And we can be.

We still have great ideas: Limited government; a warm welcome for small business and job creators; appreciation of living by work, not handouts; the protection of innocent life; fairness for the working family; recognition of the basics of individual liberty.

But we have to make some changes in our hearts - big changes. This is not the white man's country exclusively anymore, and it hasn't been for a long time. The strategy of appealing to angry white men is not correct, either morally or practically.

This is a genuine multi-cultural, multi-racial democracy today. We must appeal to working women, to single women, to blacks. In particular, we can and must stop hurting the feelings of Hispanics and start inviting them into our party. We must plead with them to see that we have common cause on many issues, especially small business, the value of hard work, the sanctity of family and life.

We can do it and we will do it.

Next time around, let's find a man or woman with the eloquence and charisma of a Barack Obama on our side, and a party platform that invites everyone, of every sex and race who shares the best of our values into our tent. And at their best, they are still America's best values.

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