Jack Kelly describes the path to a GOP comeback at Post-Gazette.com. [HT: RealClearPolitics.] His conclusion:
"Republicans should retain their social conservatism and regain their economic conservatism. But the conservatism that wins elections is a conservatism of optimism and inclusion, not doom, gloom and ethnic division. Republicans will not regain their majority without fidelity to Ronald Reagan's principles. But they may need Mr. Reagan's attitude even more."
Among Kelly's intriguing observations:
The Republicans lost in part because they strayed from economic conservatism:
"A survey taken last month by Onmessage Inc. of 12 swing districts held by Republicans indicated [that] Democrats were viewed as more likely to cut taxes for the middle class, more likely to reduce the federal budget deficit and more likely to control federal spending. Democrats won eight of those seats."
Virulent anti-immigration sentiments are a loser for the GOP:
"No party running on a nativist platform has been successful nationally. When House Republicans traded in the sunny optimism of Ronald Reagan for the sour crabbiness of Pat Buchanan, their fate was sealed.The midterm elections were not a repudiation of social conservatism:
"President Bush understands that unless the GOP regains the Hispanic votes that House Republicans drove away, their future will be bleak. This is behind his otherwise unfortunate choice of the undistinguished Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida to be chairman of the Republican National Committee, over the very capable Michael Steele, who is African American. (Interestingly, blacks were the only ethnic group among whom Republicans recorded gains in 2006.)"
"Liberals engaged in wishful thinking say the election was a repudiation of social conservatism. The results of referenda around the country make it clear this is not so.
"A ban on racial preferences passed easily in Michigan. Initiatives defining marriage as the union of one man with one woman passed easily in seven states, failing narrowly only in Arizona (49 to 51 percent), and only because that initiative would have banned civil unions, too. (Americans want to preserve the institution of marriage, but they don't want to discriminate against gays.) And while Arizonans were turning out Republicans who ran on enforcement-only immigration platforms, they approved (74 to 26 percent) a measure making English the state's official language."
Gee, Jack Kelly sounds alot like the Hedgehog.