On Tuesday November 2nd 2004, President G.W. Bush was re-elected by more than three million votes than his Democratic Party opponent John Kerry received, with Bush winning nearly 51% of the vote.
President Bush carried 31 states, and the GOP won a 30 seat majority in the House, and picked up four seats in the Senate to have a a 9 seat majority 55 to 44, The Republicans also had 28 state governorships, as well as there being a conservative majority in the Supreme Court.
If there ever was a time when it could be truly said "America is a center-right country", it was on election night 2004. The GOP was seen as the party of economic stability, of a prosperous, broadly contented America, and the rock of security in the face of the radical Islam terrorist threat.
Election night 2008, just four years later, it was all gone.
Ten years to the day from the invasion of Iraq a Democrat has been elected twice with over 51% of the popular vote (the GOP actually lost Indiana!) and the Democrat's control the Senate.
The Electoral College scenario for the GOP is challenging to say the least. If Florida is lost early on election night, which is has been for the last two elections, that's it for whoever the GOP hopeful is.
This electoral turnaround, a disaster of huge magnitude, was unthinkable without the utter disaster that the invasion of Iraq turned out to be. Wrongly considered, whether in blind ignorance, or in wilful deliberate ignorance in the face of false information, the Iraq invasion, as it unravelled in death and destruction for no apparent legitimate reason, turned Americans against President Bush and his administration in droves.
People like Cheney and Powell, who were seen as leaders in a legitimate fight against terror and a regime with "weapons of mass destruction", were viewed as unlovely, arrogant, tools of people "neocons" with an agenda, and bringers of death to American servicemen and women and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi's.
This revulsion and rejection of the administration did not, in itself, lead to a rejection of America's social conservatism. Although the administrations personnel were seen as the face of social conservatism, rejection of the war did not automatically mean a rejection of the social environment.
What did happen was that the leftists who opposed the social milieu, the gays and their same sex marriage agenda, ultra-leftist demagogues like those at what till then were obscure blogging sites like "Daily Kos" and Wonkette" received massive inputs in readership and energy from the young, from radical feminists, Gays, Hollywood liberals, leftist mainstream media journalists and the like.
Given the powerful social and mainstream media platforms, assisted by an endless stream of talk show hosts, like David Letterman making anti-Bush "jokes" night after night, the conservative social agenda itself became an attack point.
By pure luck for all these groups they had, in candidate Obama, a focal point for an "the time has come for a Black to be president" campaign which allowed their liberal agenda to be incorporated in a genuinely felt need in the body politic.
Hollywood added to this progression of the lefts social agenda by portraying the Gay/lesbian themes as "the new normal" in a wave of sitcom's and movies aimed at the young who were encouraged by Bush revulsion, and starry eyed attraction to Obama, to vote in record numbers.
So strong were the center-right leanings of Americans, that even with the disaster of the Bush war years John McCain and Sarah Palin were in the lead in the opinion polls until the full force of the economic crash hit (and McCain "suspended" his campaign) after which it was impossible for McCain, or any Republican to have won.
For social conservatives, the damage caused by the Iraq war led to a revulsion against the Obama administration's policies and social agenda, which culminated in a massive swing to the GOP in the 2010 mid-terms which brought a recovery of the House for the GOP and retention of a majority of governorships.
On the presidential level however too much blame was still sticking to the Bush administration, allied to the bully pulpit and natural inclination to let a sitting president serve another term, for the GOP to defeat President Obama. Having a weak, and poorly performing centrist like Romney, did nothing for the conservative cause either.
Is there a possibility of a return to the 2004 social environment situation? Absolutely not in an absolute sense as a number of states have legalized same-sex marriage. At this writing, the Supreme Court may indeed legitimize it for all states, at which point America will have changed forever. Most certainly the attack on the second amendment will be the next major focal point for the left at that point.
Same sex-parenting and adoption are common, abortion is legal-even the horror of partial birth abortion. If the Democrats win the presidency in 2016, then it is difficult to see what social conservatism would look like, and what battles could be fought on behalf of it.
If there is an extremely difficult economic scene in 2016, then there is a good chance for a social conservative to be elected president. It may be that a more conservative Supreme Court could then be put in place, and the GOP once again could win control of Congress.
In that case the leftist social agenda could be stopped where it is now, with only a small minority of states allowing same-sex marriage and, most importantly, a renewed Reagan-ite conservative social consensus/ethos could once again be the norm.
America would, at that point, consider the Obama years to have been an historical anomaly caused by a disastrous Bush administration, with both the GOP and America having learned a salutary, and, hopefully, unrepeatable lesson.
It is my opinion that only a Palin led counter revolution (whether as candidate or king maker) in 2016 could be the only force capable of halting the radical left's ascendency.