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Krauthammer to GOP: “No reinvention when none is needed”

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.



  1. The Republicans still need change.

    You cannot say “Get government out of our lives” while simultaneously saying “We’re going to use government to push our values”.

    I say this as a fundamentalist Christian, by the way. I believe deeply in my values but I also believe forcing them on others via legislation is wrong.

    The Republicans need to stop the infighting. They do very much resemble the Democrats of 2000 to 2004.

    They need to quit jumping in front of the media and then complain when they are ambushed by unfair questions and coverage. Hello! The MSM are not your friends.

    Abortion. Hey, I’m pro-life, but that discussion needs to be off the table. Make it a states right issue and then stay out of personal beliefs. Don’t think for a second the Media didn’t learn a valuable lesson from Akin.

    Gay marriage. This is a loser issue. Again, the government should not be legislating marriage outside of a legal definition for tax purposes. I still resent having to get a “marriage license”. The government has no role in telling anyone who is a legal adult who they can and cannot marry. I wish my fellow Christians would get that through their heads.

    Comment by Crazed Java — November 9, 2012 @ 11:47 am - November 9, 2012

  2. I don’t know if I can agree with him on this one. Basically he’s saying that conservatives stayed home because Mitt Romney was a “moderate”. How was he a moderate? He was anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, anti-amnesty. So I’m supposed to believe that conservative Republicans would rather have Obama and Obamacare than a moderate republican? It doesn’t makes sense. the number of democrats that turned out was even lower. Does this mean that they think Barack Obama is too moderate?

    What Romney and his team did, to their detriment, was expect the economy to collapse and people to run back to republicans. It didn’t collapse…it’s limping along miserably, but 9 out of 10 people still have jobs. So what did people focus on? Vaginas, immigration and a president who was publicly for gay marriage.

    I like Charles K (even though he was pretty anti-gay marriage a few years ago, not sure if he still is). However, if he really thinks we can continue to alienate entire swaths of the demographic and hope that an economic calamity will scare people into being fiscally conservative, and ignore their social concerns, he’s misguided.

    Comment by Steven Ferre — November 9, 2012 @ 11:50 am - November 9, 2012

  3. Crazed, I hope you’re not reading this post as advocating complacency. Quite to the contrary. I simply think we need better messaging — and better outreach.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 9, 2012 @ 11:50 am - November 9, 2012

  4. Steven, I think you’re misreading Krauthammer’s piece. He acknowledges that the GOP has a Hispanic problem.

    Nor is he saying that Romney was too moderate. He is saying that he didn’t make the conservative argument as well as he could.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 9, 2012 @ 11:53 am - November 9, 2012

  5. No, not complacency. Sorry, just very frustrated with the Republicans right now. I’m a follower of politics and this has been looking a lot like the Republican version of 2004 since the primaries. I didn’t want to believe it, but I made the call early on. I held out hope that Mitt could carry the day and he made a good case for himself but in the end made the exact same mistake that Kerry made in 2004 that flipped me from a Kerry voter to a Bush voter. All he offered was too much of the same and “My plan is better”. Romney was more specific than Kerry but offered no substantial differences where it counted and when combined with his utter failure to combat the media caricature in order to remain looking humble I think he couldn’t carry the deal. I think the petulance of the Republican party did not help.

    I’ve been a Democrat, a Republican, and a Liberetarian in that order. I gave up on parties and just try to vote for the right candidate. I’m one of the independents who voted for Romney. Where were the Republicans to back me up? The evidence is starting to point out they just stayed home. Demographic shift? That looks like a smokescreen more and more. If the Republicans want to have their 2006, 2008, and 2012 then they need to get their act together starting now.

    Don’t think my frustration is directed at you guys. You do good work in a tough environment.

    Comment by Crazed Java — November 9, 2012 @ 11:59 am - November 9, 2012

  6. Hi B. D Blatt –

    I might have misread it – I’ve been reading so many post election obituaries that I maybe conflating them. While I agree that CK makes a concession about Hispanics, which should be obvious to us all, he implied to me, by calling Romney a Moderate, that it was this “Moderation” that kept conservatives at home. I’m just not buying it. If it’s true, the party is hosed, because they’re cutting off their nose to spite their face. (an expression I hate, BTW!)

    Comment by Steven Ferre — November 9, 2012 @ 12:00 pm - November 9, 2012

  7. Crazed, thanks for the good word. You’re not the only one to say that Romney offered no substantial differences where it counted.

    And Steven, as per Crazed’s point that I reference in the ¶ above, I think the problem wasn’t Romney’s moderation, but perhaps his failure to make his solution clearer.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — November 9, 2012 @ 12:08 pm - November 9, 2012

  8. I still think what the Republicans need to do is basically grow a spine and learn to articulate common sense principles that could potentially appeal to a large number of people. They should go into inner city neighborhoods and areas with a lot of immigrants and articulate those principles. There is no reason that conservative principles of fiscal solvency, limited government, and natural rights (or, in other words, “equality”) should be divisive (and even the idea of respecting the law with regards to the issue of immigration).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — November 9, 2012 @ 12:13 pm - November 9, 2012

  9. onrushing economic exigencies — crushing debt,unsustainable entitlements — will make the argument for smaller government increasingly unassailable.

    Only if logical minds are engaged.

    The Democrats demagogue and their voters lap it up.

    Dan, do you believe that we will somehow stumble onto the right “messaging” to awaken those on the Democrat side to vote thoughtfully?

    Do you believe the “moderates” and “independents” are more predisposed to vote for smaller government, the status quo or go with the flow?

    Do you ever ask yourself why socialism and communism spread while democracy has to wait for the good times when the “peasants” don’t feel like they are risking their security blanket?

    Comment by heliotrope — November 9, 2012 @ 12:24 pm - November 9, 2012

  10. Has anyone seem any exit-poll result of the G/L vote for 2012?. One poll says 23% voted for Romney…about the same as voted for Bush-43 in 2004. Another poll says that only 9% of G/L voters supported Romney. If that’s true, that’s a significant loss of support within the gay Republican electorate.

    We know there’s a Gender gap for the GOP.
    We know there’s a Hispanic gap for the GOP.
    The Party lost the Black vote several generations ago.

    Comment by Ted B. (Charging Rhino) — November 9, 2012 @ 12:26 pm - November 9, 2012

  11. It’s funny how the Left (obviously not Krauthammer) is full of advice about conservatives should, in effect, give up. “Be like us! You can’t win!”

    But “It was ever thus.” Having conservatives give in on taxes / social-fascism / Big Government, is what the Left is all about.

    From where I sit, Democrats have a HUGE majority outreach problem. They lost whites, 60-40! They also have a huge gender gap problem; they just can’t seem to appeal to men.

    Obama is a crippled president now, having won with a clear and humiliating loss of support from the American people.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 9, 2012 @ 12:45 pm - November 9, 2012

  12. So, the GOP gives 10,000,000 illegals amnesty. 7,000,000 of whom will vote Democrat for the rest of their lives.

    Sounds like the usual Republican level of genius at work.

    Comment by V the K — November 9, 2012 @ 1:16 pm - November 9, 2012

  13. […] Krauthammer to GOP: “No reinvention when none is needed” […]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » Conservatives, from despair to resolution in three days — November 9, 2012 @ 1:33 pm - November 9, 2012

  14. When people like Rubio, Ryan, and Jindal are the future of our party, I feel confident that it is a bright future.

    Comment by JLanceCombs — November 9, 2012 @ 1:42 pm - November 9, 2012

  15. “Winning” Democrats Celebrate Gridlock

    The results from Tuesday night’s election tally means, we are in for at least two more years of gridlock. Voters voted for status quo. The democrats hold the presidency, and the senate, the republicans hold the house, so no change. It’s going to be like ground hog day up in here for the foreseeable future.

    Comment by keyboard jockey — November 9, 2012 @ 1:52 pm - November 9, 2012

  16. I like Charles Krauthammer. I heard so many reasons to vote for Romney. The Keystone Pipeline for one. Obama won´t approve it. That oil will go to China. More drilling on Federal Lands, offshore and ANWR. Obama was reluctant in releasing leases. Reduction of taxes on businesses to stimulate the economy. finally the killer of all Obamacare. It goes into effect on January 1st. Romney would have repealed that would remove clouds of doubt over the private sector. The majority voted for self destruction. By 2016 we will be Greece. Most of all, the same reason four years ago, I urged conservatives to vote for McCain, to deny Obama the pleasure of nominating progressive, activist jurist to the SCOTUS. If Republicans stayed home, they better not criticize Obama when he nominates acouple of Kagens and Sotomayors.

    Also, Charles makes the same mistake that many others make when talking about hispanics. They are not like blacks, practically monolithic. You can´t lump hispanics as one group. while Cubans and Puerto Ricans are Carribeans, they are as different as night from day. The same is true of Mexicans and Central Americans. Most Mexicans were nurtured by PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) which is socialist in ideology. The state owns the petroleum industry and loses money. The people look for the tortilla subsidy, and there is universal health care. Forget about family values, Freebies trumps values everytime. As long as there are Mexican American politicians like Mayor Antonio Villraigoza ,who was a member of MENCHa (a racist organization) and never repudiated it, they will hammer that idea home to their constituents. (Read Pat Buchanan´s book, State Of Emergency) Central Americans are different. Where they stand politically is based on where they stood back home. those who supported the communists in the civil wars, will be Democrtat in theU.S., while those who opposed them and supported the elected government will generally be Republican. South Americans havave awhole differnet bag. I recommend reading the book, Liberty For Latin America by Alvaro Vargas LLosa, published in 2005. There are so many influences that have made the journey to economic freedom virtuually impossible in South America. Chile is one country that seems to have moved passed it and is prosperous.

    Comment by Roberto — November 9, 2012 @ 2:43 pm - November 9, 2012

  17. Republicans cannot cave on Amnesty. It will be big mistake that will severly impact any future chance of winning the presidency. Maybe it is already too late. Nonetheless, to anticipate the future, they must attract more minorities while keeping its own groups. I felt the social conservatives were ignored in this election cycle.

    Romney’s 47% gaffe was his original strategy. It didn’t work. The 53% to get him elected didn’t materialize. You would think the wealthy would vote for him, but they didn’t. 8 of 10 wealthy suburbs voted for Obama.

    The Republicans must appeal to single women. No more of the slut shaming talk. No more ill-advised rape talk. I am pro-life, but the discussions about rape was nauseating. We will never overturn the abortion law unless we get smart about it. The Democratic “War on Women” campaign worked and we ignored it.

    Republicans need to get more people on our side. This will not be easy. We need to start a dialog. We should have more townhalls. The Republican position should be discussed instead of demogoged.

    Comment by anon322531 — November 9, 2012 @ 4:19 pm - November 9, 2012

  18. The Republican position should be discussed instead of demogoged.

    Comment by anon322531 — November 9, 2012 @ 4:19 pm – November 9, 2012

    Funny, the Obama position was nothing BUT demagoguery, and that worked.

    There is no reason for Republicans to change their message. Obama lies. Obama Party members lie. Obama voters want free stuff and don’t care about personal responsibility.

    Deal with it and move on. You can’t reason with a spoiled brat, and the vast and overwhelming majority of Obama voters are spoiled-brat looters and mooches who have turned to the government when their own parents ran out of money.

    The Republicans must appeal to single women.


    Single women are apparently so stupid that they believed Romney was going to ban tampons.

    Single women bought the “Julia” argument, which is that the government should give you everything you want without you having to lift a finger or pay for it.

    Conservatives need to recognize this. If a woman is that dumb, that selfish, and that self-centered, she will never vote or be a Republican. She is going to vote for the party that encourages her to be promiscuous and stupid and that promises to pay all of her bills for her.

    Republicans need to present to adults and for adults. Let single women decide if they want to grow up or if they want to be wards of the state.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — November 9, 2012 @ 4:51 pm - November 9, 2012

  19. NDT+1

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — November 9, 2012 @ 11:20 pm - November 9, 2012

  20. The people who want Republicans to lose every elections are always giving the Republicans advice:
    – Embrace Amnesty.
    – Embrace Abortion
    – Embrace Athiesim
    – Embrace Taxes and Spending.

    Note these people never, ever, ever, ever have any advice for the Democrats who they will actually vote for. Advice such as:
    – Cut spending.

    Comment by V the K — November 10, 2012 @ 11:07 am - November 10, 2012

  21. I’ve just been wondering why there has been such a rending of garments over this. Romney lost, which at this particular time is extremely unfortunate. But people, on both sides of the aisle, are acting like Romney’s loss is the end of the GOP unless the GOP effectively makes themselves indistinguishable from the left. But–and correct me if I’m wrong–a majority of state governors continue to be Republican, more Hispanics holding elected offices are R than are D, Republicans did not lose the House of Reps…and so on. I really, really did not want another four years of Obama, but given the success of Republicans at the state and local levels and the relatively large numbers of elected Hispanics who are Republican, it is far from clear that this is the end of the terrible white Republicans.

    Comment by Julie — November 10, 2012 @ 11:11 pm - November 10, 2012

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