Sunday, May 3, 2009

Advice that Will Fall on Deaf Ears

Reihan Salam has an article in the Washington Post today called, "Specter's Exit Isn't the Problem." It's another attempt to point out why the GOP is in decline and as he puts it, "out of touch." Here's the key passage:

conservatives don't need higher volume. Conservatism at its best is a tough and demanding creed. To sell it, you can't call people who've lost their jobs and their homes "losers." You need to sell the virtues of a growing and flourishing economy and the free-market policies that will make it happen. Because conservatives aren't a majority, hard-edged accusations of socialism wind up alienating millions of potential allies -- voters who are a little uncomfortable with Obama's spending, particularly if it threatens to saddle their children with debt, but who recognize that the government needs to act to stave off an economic collapse. And so conservatives need to understand their political opponents.
Unfortunately many conservatives think "higher volume" is exactly what they need. They welcome the loss of people like Specter, and would be happy to see politicians like Susan Collins leave as well. Unlike some, even though he opposes it, Salam understands that social conservatism isn't what has put the GOP into the minority. It's economic incoherence.
Ronald Reagan won 49 states as an ardent pro-life conservative, and it can happen again, provided that Republicans learn the right lessons from the mess they're in. Before Americans will even consider voting for you, they need to believe that you have some basic understanding of the economic challenges they face.
Although his analysis makes a great deal of sense, I have no doubt that Salam, like David Frum and others, will be dismissed by the base as just another RINO.

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