GOP needs to go back to principles
The 2008 election cycle, as endless as it seemed, is over. Emerging from the ashes of Republican defeat is the stark reality that must be addressed if the party is to regain its political viability. The Republican Party must decide who it really is and what it really stands for.
Karl Rove, the so-called "architect" of the Bush election victories of 2000 and 2004, suggests that Republicans sit back and calculate their strategy based upon the early policy decisions of the incoming Obama administration. Therein lies the critical flaw of the typical Washington insider: Political posturing at the expense of basic conservative core values.
I would submit that abandonment of the core principles of conservatism not only led to the defeat of John McCain, but the continuing loss of seats in both the House and Senate. The themes of "crossing the aisle," "compassionate conservatism" and the "new tone" ushered in by the Bush administration and further embraced by the McCain candidacy only further accelerated the demise of the conservative movement.
Clearly, the economy was first and foremost on the minds of many voters in this election. That being said, 56 million voters cast their ballots for a party in ideological disarray, a party pandering to special interests and sacrificing core beliefs in the name of political expediency. The voters were poorly served.
In a relative and practical sense, we should be engaged in a struggle of distinctly different ideologies, not a political popularity contest. Consensus does not equate to meaningful leadership. Adherence to the basic tenets of the Constitution is essential to our survival as a Republic. Rugged individualism and personal responsibility must be trumpeted over government intervention, ever expanding welfare programs, and progressive socialism. That is the American way. Or at least, it used to be.
The fork in the road is immediately ahead. In one direction, the concept of centrism will lead to the death knell of the Republican Party as we know it. The other path is laden with challenges, obstacles and myriad struggles to reclaim the mantel of true conservatism. The choice is at hand.
I choose the latter.