The Republicans’ Road Back

I generally take anything that Newsweek says aboot the “future of the Republican Party” with a grain of salt, especially in a week where they have Rush Limbaugh on the cover.

It’s like listening to NBC News or the New York Times – when you don’t want the GOP to have a future, your opinion of what we need to do is meaningless to me. So an article called “The Republicans’ Road Back” from the mostly liberal rag generally makes me says, “Meh.”

However when it’s written by a cat like Yuval Levin (National Review, Ethics and Public Policy Center), I take it a little more seriously. Levin’s advice is rather simple and one I feel makes a great deal of sense – reconnect to core principles, but apply them in new ways.

He also spoke on the lack of “new ideas” and leadership as well…

Those lessons include the need for a commitment to economic growth, free trade, a strong defense, traditional values and a creative restraint of the welfare state. But more than anything they point to the need to apply these general principles in a constructive and engaging way to the problems of the moment—understanding that the moment and its problems are always changing in this never-resting country. They suggest that standing up for principle and proposing incremental policy reforms are not mutually exclusive. A governing conservatism requires both.

The insight that brought the reforming conservatives to power was that the opposition must offer an alternative. And so the challenge for conservatives today is not only to explain what is wrong with the Democrats’ prescriptions but to lay out what they would do differently and why, especially with regard to the severe economic crisis we now confront and the unusual response it requires.

The right does have some serious proposals to draw upon—in health care, for instance—though not nearly enough. And it has a few potential leaders, too, in governors like Bobby Jindal and Mitch Daniels, and members of Congress like Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan. These are not sufficient for a comeback just yet, but they have little chance to be heard for the moment in any case. That is the work of the next few years for conservatives: sharpening their knives against the worst of what the left is advancing, even as they sharpen their pencils for some creative policy development.

As God said to Moses, read the whole thing.

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