The jury is in: the conservative cause may well have taken a beating at the polls last month, but it certainly is not and cannot be dead.
“Conservatism is a body of ideas. The Grand Old Party is a political outfit. The GOP is not always conservative,” Heritage Foundation’s president Edwin Feulner said during a recent bloggers briefing at the think-tank.
Feulner argued that the movement must get its principles right once again, generate new ideas and market them smartly.
“We must not forget that ideas are important. Our friends at the Center for American Progress (CAP) have veered away from that understanding,” he said.
And he added: “The center-right is still on the ascendancy, and President-elect Barack Obama is headed there too.”
Expressing optimism that the conservative movement could rebound, he summed up the reasons for the GOP’s failure as:
- An incumbent who could not articulate conservatism.
- An incumbent who made bad decisions.
- The global financial crisis.
- A GOP candidate who is not a good listener.
• A demoralized GOP base.
Feulner, however, argued that he believes the GOP still has within its ranks leaders who could espouse conservatism while leading the party into the future.
The party, he added, must court Hispanic and Black voters more in order to counter the Democrats’ success with both demographics in the future.
“Let us take lessons from Newt Gingrich and learn some Spanish,” he said amid much laughter from the audience.
He noted that both Hispanics and Blacks may be politically liberal, but remain suitably conservative on cultural issues that could make them natural disciples of the GOP. He said bi-partisanship among conservative think-tanks would be much needed under the new administration.
He cautioned conservatives against changing for change’s sake, and urged them to secure America’s heritage so that future generations will not have to start all over again.