For years, I have been involved in trying to help steer the party away from the hard right and more to the center right. It has not been easy and at times, it has felt rather fruitless.
Tonight, it not only seems fruitless, but pointless.
Republican leaders seem to have a tin ear when it comes to dealing with the future of the party. The message to them after two losses was that they are not conservative enough, as if people are crying for earmark reform and not health care reform.
This is what Brent Bozell has had to say about last night's losses:
The liberal wing of the GOP has caused the collapse of the Republican Party. It is no longer a viable player in the political conversation, and deservedly so: For a decade it has spat on the values of Ronald Reagan. Conservatives let it be known on Tuesday in races all over the country that it has had enough with the betrayal.
There's a liberal wing of the GOP? Please. There hasn't been an active liberal wing of the Republican Party for about 30 years. When you lose the last Republican in New England, you don't have a liberal wing. If there was a wing, I'd be joining that party.
The frustrating thing is that the party has closed their eyes to people like: someone that is economically conservative, but socially liberal. If you saw my ballot yesterday, it was split ticket, Obama at the top, but the GOP downballot. I'm someone that is open to taxes, but also wants the budget balanced, and I don't want to us to go back to the bad old days of 70 percent tax rates. I think health care reform is important, but I don't want the government running the show, just making sure that everyone has access and help those who can't pay. I think welfare reform was a good idea and think that charter schools are a good thing that could help our educational system. I am strong on defense. I believe in immigration, but I also think that those who come into the country illegally have to pay something for breaking the law before we talk about a path to legal citizenship. I am for regulation, but not at the expense of the entrepenurship that has fueled America.
What is hopeful is that there are people like David Frum, David Brooks, Ross Douthat and others who are calling for a more responsive conservatism. But the thing is, the people in charge aren't listening. On Thursday, members of the far right are going to meet as if the answer is to be more conservative instead of responding to the needs America as it is today. Isn't that conservative, to view the world as it is, not as what we would like it to be?
In the end, I don't know how long I will stay. I'm not going to the Democrats because I just don't agree with all of their ideology. Philosophicaly, I am a conservative. But the GOP is losing someone like me. I know of many who have left or are just hanging on.
The Brent Bozells of the world can meet and talk about how they need to "more conservative." That's a ticket to a looong time in the wilderness.