Kristen Soltis was a contemporary of my older daughter Laura on the national high school debate circuit, where she was a major star. Now she works for The Winston Group, a top political consulting firm .
In this post on The Next Right blog, Kristen argues that, if the Republican brand is to be viable, the party must “propose a future.” That is, Republicans must say: “Here’s what the world will look like with our policies in place; here’s how our policies make your life and future better.” Hanging the “liberal” label on Obama and his party will not be sufficient; rather the key is to find “an outcome that a Republican government is working toward.”
My sense (and Kristen seems to agree) is that a critical mass of the public has tuned out the Republican message, whatever it might be. If the Democrats sweep to power, though, it probably won’t be long before the public tunes Republicans back in. At that point, it may expect Republicans to propose a future.
There may be a tension, though, between conservatism and “future-proposing” in the sense Kristen describes. Conservatism isn’t really about promising outcomes, so much as promoting freedom. Outcome-based Republicanism (“No Child Left Behind” for example) will be problematic for many conservatives. The “Next Right” may be the one that can satisfactorily resolve this tension.
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