It seems there is no shortage of advice for the GOP these days after they lost the Presidential election against a weak candidate (on paper) and a chance to retake the US Senate. In both cases the GOP did not get the job done.
Until 2012 no President has been re-elected to a second term with a smaller majority of the vote, with unemployment at the range it is today and with negative polling about the direction of the country like it is today - that is until 2012. What has annoyed me about all this soul searching is that it has been done a lot by individuals who do not have the best interests of conservatives at heart.
One writer to the NYT said "Republicans would have to offer something beyond the “government is bad” mantra that alienates many of these potential constituents, an economic program more credible than trickle-down tax cuts, and backward-looking social policies." Steve Lopez of the LA Times said to California Republicans that their future was bleak without a "major makeover." Sarah Westwood, who describes herself as a lonely college republican at GWU says the GOP can't win unless they get the attention of young people. A bunch of guys on something called Red State Update says lose Fox News and the Laffer Curve (which they describe as nutty economics - wonder what they think about Keynesian economics!) Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch argues "The lesson for the Republicans is they will never win future presidential elections unless and until their platform accommodates diversity of opinion on hot-button issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and use of medical or recreational marijuana. " (Wonder how he feels about the diversity of opinion in the Democratic Party Platform on these issues.) So there is no shortage of advice.
Brett Stephens (Earth to GOP; Get a Grip) of the WSJ who argued in the early part of the year that Romney would win the nomination and lose the race says that the GOP should back off on the Gay Marriage issue and on Immigration. Stephens predicted early in the cycle that the GOP would not win. And his advice was pretty much on point.
All this weltschmerzing has made me dizzy. Andrew Kohut (Misreading Election 2012) from Pew has a slightly different take than the rest of the crowd. He suggests that Romney did not do as bad as some of the others claim. Kohut points out that a) Romney never did connect with voters and b) that the GOP did better with several groups than in previous elections.
So where does that leave the GOP? Should conservatives be bringing out the sack cloth or should they do some more careful reshaping? From my perspective, while I agree with some of the critics about gays and immigrants and a few other issues. I also believe that to shape an electoral strategy conservatives need to weed out the weenies like Todd Aiken. - however, there is a bigger theme that is more important. What is wrong with the current crop of "progressives" - from my view they want to destroy liberty. What is wrong with the some in conservative circles - they also want to destroy liberty. They both believe that the state can actually solve a set of problems. But a lot of young voters understand that yammering about what people do in the privacy of their homes, and what we can do with people who want to come to this country are simply different sides of the issue of whether we as Americans believe that the federal government will be able to make wiser choices about health care than individuals. Conservatives need to look at public policy issues through the lens of liberty.