#1) The Republican Party can get back into power without the conservative media.
There are two big problems with this. First off, popular members of the conservative media tend to be popular because they do a good job of representing the views of the people who watch, listen, or read them. So if Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, or Mark Steyn think you’re doing a lousy job, then there’s a very high chance that their fans, who should be a Republican’s biggest supporters, think you’re doing a lousy job, too.
Secondly, because the mainstream media is so biased, the American people tend not to take what they say at face value. Instead, they tend to look for clues and inconsistencies that tell them what’s really going on. So, they may not believe CNN or the New York Times if they say the Republican Party is mediocre, but if Laura Ingraham or Charles Krauthammer says it, they take it to heart. After all, if even the people who are supposed to be on the “GOP’s side” say they suck, they must really suck.
#2) The Republican Party can get back into power with a demoralized base.
For two straight elections, because the GOP has demoralized its core supporters, they’ve had to try to win a “lesser of two evils” election. In other words, sure, we’re not very good, but the Democrats would be even worse.
How’s that working out for us?
For the most part, yes, Republicans did go to the polls. But, millions didn’t, fundraising plummeted, campaigns were hurting for volunteers, and very few people on the right were talking up the GOP to their moderate friends and families.
If the GOP isn’t going to try to get conservatives excited again and is merely going to try to wait until the Democrats screw things up even worse than a Republican President who is less popular than Nixon, they could be waiting a long, long time.
#3) A losing political party can afford to “purge” people.
Ehr….if the GOP is losing, it means we’re getting LESS votes than the other side. How are we going to beat the Democrats by making our ranks even smaller?
Now, that doesn’t mean every part of the Republican coalition has to have an equal say in the agenda of the party — they shouldn’t — but it does mean this “purge” talk is silly.
#4) We can win with Reagan’s agenda.
Wrong. We can win with Reagan’s principles, but not his agenda. Reagan’s agenda was formulated to deal with the problems of the late seventies and eighties, not the problems of 2008 or 2010.
Just to give you one perfect example, the income tax was at 70% when Reagan came into office and so, cutting it was a major issue. Today, as conservatives often point out, a large portion of the American public pays no income tax at all. Since that’s the case, we would be foolish to believe that issue can move as many voters as it did in 1980.
#5) The Republican Party can randomly mix and match the issues it takes on based almost totally on political popularity.
There are a number of people, usually self-styled Republican “reformers,” who seem to be under the impression that the GOP can simply abandon some of the dearly held political beliefs of the majority of their supporters for political gain.
Political parties can and do shift positions — but, there needs to be some sort of rough consensus on the issue. You can’t simply take a plank that 80% of your supporters hold and believe is important to the party and decide that issue is “out” forevermore because you think that would be politically helpful.
Why? Because it demoralizes your supporters, it causes them to work at cross purposes with you, it makes the party look insincere, and if the majority of the people in a party hold a position, it will eventually win out.