There will be time for recriminations later. But not much time. There is work to do.
First, you do have to congratulate Barack Obama for winning the election. The popular vote will be fairly close, but electorally this is shaping up to be a landslide. He has run an excellent campaign. It would be churlish to deny that.
Everyone is telling us that this is an historic moment. And of course it is. President-elect Obama is African-American. He did rise from modest circumstances and has managed to convince over 50% of the electorate that he is the right man to lead this nation. No matter how much I disagree with this sentiment, I have to accept it. And we all have to accept that this man has an extraordinarily difficult job in front of him. And he will need help.
What do conservatives have to do? We have to support President-elect Obama when he does the right thing, and we have to challenge him when he does the wrong thing. He will do some of both. We have to ensure that we are clear in our focus and our arguments. We have to accept that, however narrow the margin, the electorate has not chosen a conservative presidential candidate. As I said, we have work to do. And it will start soon.