There is no lack of navel-gazing going on now after the election. I have read one that I think is extremely interesting from my friend DJ McGuire. In his post he states the following (worth reading the whole thing, BTW):
Still, we will hear a lot about how young voters in particular are so enthralled by Obama that any opposition to his big-government domestic plans will lose the GOP a generation of voters. Not so fast.
See, those of us who remember when the Republicans were the party of limited government consider those days either halcyon or so far in the past as to be useless. What we tend to forget is this: it was so long ago that young voters don’t remember it.
The last time the Republican Party stuck its neck out and went “to the mattresses” on limited government was the “government shutdown” of 1995. Say what you will about it, the party establishment has been spooked ever since. Thus Gingrich et al rolled over to Clinton’s spendthrift demands in 1998 and hoped Monica Lewinsky would rescue them (she didn’t). George W. Bush ran on “compassionate conservatism” and caught a break when Al Gore’s voters concentrated themselves too heavily in the northeast; then he (Bush) ran for re-election on national security issues, and won. We all remember 2006 and last Tuesday.
So, the last time the Republican Party actually tried to reduce the size of government, the oldest young voter in America today was sixteen. Now, I followed politics at that age, but I was a geek. Most American teenagers aren’t. In other words, no young American voter has ever seen the Republicans try to reduce the size and scope of government.
So, for them, this election was a contest between a big-government party with the charismatic mixed-race nominee with his better-than-any-comedian-on-earth running mate and a big-government party with a cantankerous old guy with the folksy Alaskan.
Are we really surprised who won?
It is time to start over and return to FIRST PRINCIPLES!!! Reagan started this fight before in the 70s telling us in 1975 (empahsis added):
I don ‘t know about you, but I am impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, “We must broaden the base of our party”—when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.
It was a feeling that there was not a sufficient difference now between the parties that kept a majority of the voters away from the polls. When have we ever advocated a closed-door policy? Who has ever been barred from participating?
Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?
Let us show that we stand for fiscal integrity and sound money and above all for an end to deficit spending, with ultimate retirement of the national debt.
Let us also include a permanent limit on the percentage of the people’s earnings government can take without their consent.
Let our banner proclaim a genuine tax reform that will begin by simplifying the income tax so that workers can compute their obligation without having to employ legal help.
And let it provide indexing—adjusting the brackets to the cost of living—so that an increase in salary merely to keep pace with inflation does not move the taxpayer into a surtax bracket. Failure to provide this means an increase in government’s share and would make the worker worse off than he was before he got the raise.
Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.
Let us also call for an end to the nit-picking, the harassment and over-regulation of business and industry which restricts expansion and our ability to compete in world markets.
Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing government’s coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.
Our banner must recognize the responsibility of government to protect the law-abiding, holding those who commit misdeeds personally accountable.
And we must make it plain to international adventurers that our love of peace stops short of “peace at any price.”
We will maintain whatever level of strength is necessary to preserve our free way of life.
A political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency, or simply to swell its numbers.
I do not believe I have proposed anything that is contrary to what has been considered Republican principle. It is at the same time the very basis of conservatism. It is time to reassert that principle and raise it to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.
Finally, another post-mortem that I found which is worth the read. From Leslie Carbone (she has many interesting articles in the last few days) who wrote in her blog on Wednesday Time for Rebuilding:
Voters didn't reject Republicans because they reject conservatism; voters rejected Republicans because they no longer trust Republicans to uphold conservatism. And there's no reason why they should.
Time for a revolution in the ranks--time to retake the Republican party and reinstate conservative first principles.