Former congressman Mickey Edwards wrote provocative Op Ed titled “Reagan wouldn’t recognize this GOP” in the Los Angeles Times a couple of days… It’s worth reading. I agree with Edwards’ central point which point which is that the contemporary Republican party has lost its way.
Where Edwards loses me is here:
The Republican Party that is in such disrepute today is not the party of Reagan. It is the party of Rush Limbaugh, of Ann Coulter, of Newt Gingrich, of George W. Bush, of Karl Rove. It is not a conservative party, it is a party built on the blind and narrow pursuit of power.
Not too long ago, conservatives were thought of as the locus of creative thought. Conservative think tanks (full disclosure: I was one of the three founding trustees of the Heritage Foundation) were thought of as cutting-edge, offering conservative solutions to national problems. By the 2008 elections, the very idea of ideas had been rejected. One who listened to Barry Goldwater’s speeches in the mid-’60s, or to Reagan’s in the ’80s, might have been struck by their philosophical tone, their proposed (even if hotly contested) reformulation of the proper relationship between state and citizen. Last year’s presidential campaign, on the other hand, saw the emergence of a Republican Party that was anti-intellectual, nativist, populist (in populism’s worst sense) and prepared to send Joe the Plumber to Washington to manage the nation’s public affairs.
The problems faced by the Republican party aren’t the fault of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or the grass roots of the party. Conservatism is alive and well on main street, where its failed is in Washington… The party’s leadership and of its political consultants have abandoned the principles and ideas that made Ronald Reagan successful and replaced them with a brand of populist, politically expedient “republicanism” that has more in common with the Democratic party than it does with conservatism.
If republicans are going to have any chance in 2012 or in the 2010 mid-terms the party leadership has rediscover core its core conservative principles and begin crafting policy ideas rooted in those principles.
H/T: Hot Air.
Other McCain has a slightly different take.