The answer is not for the GOP to move left, but for Conservatives to rediscover they’re right…

As I noted earlier.  Maybe the demographics or the country are changing… Maybe it’s the GOP with the real identity crisis.   We need to stop apologizing for our ideals and start embracing them.  This expands several themes MOCGATOR and I have been debating:

Barack Obama’s victory vindicates the “base” strategy of the Democrats. Obama never moved to the center, even as he cast his centrist opponent as an extremist. Obama didn’t worry too much about winning conservative-leaning independents; he just made sure liberal Democrats got to the polls.

Democrats win elections by rejecting the “big tent” advice that they typically give to Republicans. While they mau-mau Republicans into “moving to the middle,” they stand immobile on the left, maintaining fierce ideological purity and deploying wedge issues without apology. This unites their side and divides the opposition, producing contests of liberal conviction and character assassination versus GOP ambiguity and polite disagreement. They nominate candidates who accept without reservation the Democratic Party platform; Republicans struggle to find candidates willing to uphold theirs. Democrats call Republicans evil; Republicans call Democrats merely mistaken. And yet, haplessly, the Republicans are the ones who find themselves answering charges of extremism from the media.

By defining the left as the “center” and liberalism as the arbiter of reasonableness, the Democrats can play this game endlessly against the Republicans. Using this same framework, the chattering class is now happily dispensing advice to the defeated GOP. The upshot of the advice is: Just surrender and embrace liberalism…

Why doesn’t the GOP try out the novel idea of running a candidate who believes in the stated Republican platform as passionately as the Dems believe in theirs? Such a candidate couldn’t do much worse than McCain and Romney. By running moderates, the GOP ends up fighting with one arm tied behind its back. Romney ran a more impressive campaign than McCain, but he still ended up conceding a lot of ground to Obama. In two campaigns in a row, Obama’s social radicalism has passed without comment from the GOP nominee. Even with the gay marriage victories in Maryland and elsewhere, Obama could have paid a price for his unprecedented stance. But he paid none, because Romney refused to engage him on social issues…

Establishment Republican pundits predicted a victory for Romney. Proven wrong, they now present themselves again as experts on the electorate, urging the party to jettison principle in pursuit of votes. They would do better to study the Democrats, who care far more about consolidating their base than constructing a wobbly big tent.


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