Amidst the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments in the wake of Mitt Romney’s narrow loss earlier this week to Barack Obama, a few cool-head conservative strategists and pundits have reminded us that all is not lost, that the party suffered a minor setback not a fatal blow.
Today, Charles Krauthammer, as could be expected, offers perhaps the most sage insight into the way forward for the GOP:
They lose and immediately the chorus begins. Republicans must change or die. A rump party of white America, it must adapt to evolving demographics or forever be the minority.
The only part of this that is even partially true regards Hispanics. They should be a natural Republican constituency: striving immigrant community, religious, Catholic, family-oriented and socially conservative (on abortion, for example).
He outlines a way forward on immigration reform, then reminds us that on core fiscal issues, the GOP should not moderate:
Tuesday’s exit polls showed that by an eight-point margin (51-43), Americans believe that government does too much. And Republicans are the party of smaller government. Moreover, onrushing economic exigencies — crushing debt,unsustainable entitlements — will make the argument for smaller government increasingly unassailable.
Bear in mind, given that GOP turnout was down from 2008, that eight-point margin might actually be considerably larger. It wasn’t conservative ideas which did Republicans in, but the standard bearer’s imperfect articulation of them:
Republicans lost the election not because they advanced a bad argument but because they advanced a good argument not well enough. Romney ran a solid campaign, but he is by nature a Northeastern moderate. He sincerely adopted the new conservatism but still spoke it as a second language.
Read the whole thing. The good news is that there are a whole host of younger Republicans, many accomplished reformers in their own right waiting in the wings.