According to articles like this, influential conservatives are blaming their loss at at the polls on moderates, who they blame for leading the party away from it's core principals. Along with recent reports that conservatives are painting Bush as a "moderate" (in the hopes of removing that albatross from their neck), it looks like they are moving full speed ahead into reef and are talking about people like Sarah Palin (who couldn't even articulate a single Supreme Court case she disagreed with other than Roe v. Wade) as the future of the party.
What really amazed me was this line from the CNN article:
"What has made the conservative movement strong is when you have social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and foreign policy conservatives working together," [Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council] said. "This was the first step in what will be a long journey in rebuilding that communication and that common vision."
Fiscal conservatives? Where are those fiscal conservatives, because I sure as heck haven't seen them in decades. Certainly not during the Bush Administration, and we rarely saw them in the Congress under Clinton.
Since when has the last time fiscal conservatives had any influence on the GOP? Heck, beyond saying that they will cut government and tossing out non-starters like earmarks, when has any member of the GOP who has a serious chance of getting elected laid out any policy vision that is in line with fiscal conservatism? Ron Paul is about the closest I can think of with any degree of credibility, and frankly, he led the "3% revolution" which went absolutely nowhere.
Republicans need to face it that they are a closet big government party. They love talking about cutting, but they never really do it... much less articulate a coherent vision for what the budget will look like post-hatchet job. It's a great thing to talk about when they don't have power, but when they do, they certainly don't live by that credo.
Kinda like their lip service to state's rights. Really, that's another motto that should be ammended. Perhaps "States rights for issues the GOP cares about, and no states rights for issues we dislike." While we are at it, perhaps the Democrats can stop talking about being fierce protectors of American jobs, while simultaneously shipping them overseas...
Anyway, I agree that the Republican party needs to rebrand itself. They need to refocus on a coherent message, but one that absolutely has to resonate with voters and not just harken back to tradition, because it worked for Reagan 28 years ago. The Democrats learned the hard way that sticking to core liberal values regardless of what the electorate feels at the moment is the path to destruction. That's why they were in the wilderness for so long, and it took them six years to broaden their coalition beyond their traditional base. Now there are blue dog Democrats which are staunchly anti-abortion, and aren't going to go along with a crazy left-wing agenda.
Republicans really need to learn this lesson. The Democrats were able to grab large numbers of seats in the house, senate and the the golden prize of the presidency not just by having a charismatic presidential candidate, but by also broadening their coalition to include moderates. In the end of the day, those moderate Democrats should help prevent the the extreme fringe of the party from dominatating the agenda and passing whatever MoveOn.org and Code Pink wants, and thus keeps the party relevant.
The Republicans not only a new transformational figure who can articulate these goals to the common man, but the philosophy of the party needs to transform itself for the 21st century, and not keep running as if every election is Reagan vs. Carter.