The “Beautiful Losers” Who Killed Conservatism
The late, great Washington Times columnist and editor Sam Francis coined the term “Beautiful Losers” – a reference to the classic Bob Seger song – to describe Republican politicians of a certain stripe in the early 1990’s. Much of his work centered on criticizing the mainstream conservative – or Bush Republican, if you prefer – movement in that decade from his paleoconservative perspective.
Even today, Francis’s term “Beautiful Losers” truly captures the current state of the modern conservative movement.
Now, what is a “Beautiful Loser?” That would be someone who believes that losing in politics is preferable to winning – if winning includes wielding power according to one’s professed principles. For example, a “Beautiful Loser” would think that banning transgender surgeries for minors, when it’s known the suicide rate for such people is 19 times the average, can’t be done because “using the government to legislate morality is bad” (perfect example: Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson made a similar comment on Tucker Carlson’s show in 2021).
Someone who rationalizes losing in politics as “standing by principles” is a solid indicator that you are dealing with a “Beautiful Loser.” Thirty years ago, Francis wrote about how the conservative movement does not understand how power functions in society. The same sentiment still applies. What bills itself as the conservative movement is still filled with “Beautiful Losers” to this day.
Simply put, the reality is that the political Right has a fetish for losing. The “mainstream” Right, which since the Trumpian wave has washed through the Republican Party isn’t actually as mainstream as it would like to be, does not want to win in the “Battle for the Soul of America”—the phrase used in Pat Buchanan’s 1992 RNC Speech.
“Conservative” leaders caved when gay marriage was legalized in 2015 through judicial fiat. “Conservative” leaders caved on amnesty and decreasing legal immigration levels. “Conservative” leaders caved on vaccine mandates and mask mandates. “Conservative” leaders caved on repealing Obamacare. “Conservative” leaders caved on the border wall. The list goes on and on.
The hallmark of the “conservative” Beautiful Loser – perfectly embodied in Bush Republicanism – is utter contempt for his or her voters. That’s why the most charitable nation in human history needed to be “kinder, gentler” in 1988 and it’s why we had to have “compassionate” conservatism in 2000. Regular Americans attempting to preserve our country as founded aren’t good enough for these people. We just saw a great example from Texas Senator John Cornyn, who, after engineering a surrender on Second Amendment rights based in morbidly unconstitutional “red flag” laws, responded to being booed off the stage at the Texas GOP convention by the very activists who had funded and staffed his 2020 re-election campaign before he stabbed them in the back by declaring that he wouldn’t be swayed by a “mob.”
Authentically conservative voters need to recognize this situation sooner rather than later if we want to restore our nation and the conservative movement. The clock is ticking, so we can’t wait any longer.
An Example of a Beautiful Loser
The recent battle between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Walt Disney World opened my eyes to the fact that far too many “Conservatives” are “Beautiful Losers.”
As the DeSantis/Disney drama unfolded, former Trump legal advisor and Newsmax Contributor Jenna Ellis criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing a bill ending Walt Disney World’s special government status in Florida. This action from DeSantis came about after Disney repeatedly mischaracterized Florida House Bill 1557—which prevents teachers from teaching sexuality to young elementary students. Ellis’ bizarre betrayal of the conservative project was echoed by National Review’s Charles Cooke and “conservative” talk host Erick Erickson.
In response to DeSantis’ signed legislation, Ellis claimed that ending Disney’s self-governing status is actually an assault on free speech. What a joke. In fact, Ellis offered to provide legal support to Disney.
That example shows why we can’t have nice things on the Right.
This post is getting fairly long, but I wanted to include one more example of the “Beautiful Loser Complex” in recent years.
Let’s revisit John McCain and his failed 2008 Presidential Campaign. McCain was the perfect example of everything we’ve talked about in this post.
During a campaign event in 2008, McCain told his supporters that his opponent Barack Obama was “a decent person” and someone that “you don’t have to be scared of as president.” That quote just says it all.
McCain was not willing to criticize his opponent Barack Obama—one of the most atrociously lawless, Marxist US presidential candidates in history—due to “principles?” Yet, McCain was sure willing to criticize and even spite more conservative/populist figures like President Donald Trump. Give me a break.
John McCain, after all, built his political career on the fact he spent several years being tortured in the infamous Hanoi Hilton by people who shared most of the same ideological fetishes as Barack Obama. And yet he harbored no particular philosophical grudge meaty enough to warn against such an opponent?
Maybe he wasn’t that beautiful after all. Maybe he was just a loser. Trump certainly thought so and wasn’t bashful about it.
Losing in politics is not a virtue. What is a virtue is passionately and courageously articulating your values and doing everything within the bounds of the law to make them a reality on behalf of the people who choose to support them and you. Assumedly, if you attain power, that would also mean you’re representing a majority of your countrymen.
Because elections have consequences.
So, what’s the lesson here? The lesson is that we have to play to win. The Right can no longer sit idly by while the Left wields power and radically transforms America into a multicultural, dysfunctional, third world Banana Republic dump. We the American people need strong Christian patriots who care deeply about preserving America as founded under our constitutional order to get into positions of power – and then boldly wield that political power for the good of the American people.
Let’s end on a more optimistic note. I want to remind everyone that despite all the doom and gloom you might be tempted to feel after wading through this recitation of recent history, there are solid young America First conservatives out there who “get it.” As tough as times might be currently, I am excited to see what the future holds for the Gen Z Conservatives in the America First movement.
Victory is inevitable! Because defeat isn’t possible if we refuse to concede.