We're being told by an obviously biased mainstream media that the GOP is in danger of disappearing from the political scene if it doesn't "move to the center" and adopt the policies of the Democrats.
Retired General Colin Powell is held up as role model for the GOP, mostly by the Democrats his views resemble. Powell and a handful of other GOP moderates claim they want a "bigger tent" and a "broader based party," but their first move is to advocate purging the present Republican ranks of social conservatives and talk show hosts. Republicans should reject their advice.
The GOP has been much worse off. In 1936, after losing four consecutive elections and having carried only two states in the presidential contest, they were reduced to 16 seats in the Senate and 89 in the House. Yet by the end of 1940 they had retaken 22 of those Senate seats and over a hundred of those in the House.
Much is made of the decrease in numbers of those who identify as Republicans, but the number of those who call themselves Democrats has also declined. This can be ascribed partly to the chic and know-nothing belief that political parties don't really mean much, combined with the spread of the idiotic practice of encouraging that via open primaries.
Republican "moderates" once openly called themselves "liberals." Many were part of the GOP for class reasons. They were Republicans because someone pointed out to them that the maid was a Democrat. They were the country club types who avoided issues — all issues. Two things you shouldn't talk about at a GOP meeting were religion and politics.
Any functional political party, even Green and Libertarian, is a coalition. Its first rule is those who hold public or party office are obliged to support the party's nominees. Conservatives tend to go along with that, if sometimes grudgingly. Moderates often don't. They're above it. They are like the wedding guest who blows off the ceremony and bringing a gift but shows up for the reception to eat the food and drink the booze, self-absorbed and tacky.
That fits General Powell. He owes the pinnacles of his career to the GOP coalition headed by both President Bushs. He was seriously considered for the presidential nomination despite his positions favoring gun control and abortion and his holding back of Stormin' Norman from removing Saddam in the First Gulf War. Republicans treated him well, yet he took a dive on a reasonably centrist John McCain ostensibly over Sarah Palin's qualifications to be VP, opting instead for — Joe Biden.
The Republican Party has won its two biggest victories of the last 30 years when led by coherent, competent conservatives — Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich. Losses came after forgetting the fundamental principles of less government and less spending, and the even more fundamental principle of not stealing. Too many GOP scandals were a major factor in turning off the voters — twice.
It's the Democrats turn. The electorate is naturally fickle, which worked well for them twice. They will now be responsible for all their bad ideas, and we'll find out how well the voters like those policies when put into practice, many far to the left of where those voters are now. Others have secondary consequences that will reduce their current sound and feel good appeal. For the GOP to adopt any of them is suicidal.
Republicans need to sort the many strains of conservative thought that makes up the center right into a coherent package based on limiting the federal government and maximizing individual freedom, and then adapt that message to modern communications methodologies. Doing that should return a national majority relatively soon.
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