National Review Editor: GOP Down But Not Out

Thursday, 15 Nov 2012 11:10 AM

By Bill Hoffmann

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The Republican Party is down but not out, according to John O’Sullivan, an editor-at-large at the National Review.

O’Sullivan, who recently took a post-election Caribbean cruise with 600 conservatives, readers, and writers of the National Review, said he was passed a note by a shipmate during dinner that read: “Ship of fools or voyage of the damned?”

“It was quite an acute question,’’ O’Sullivan writes in a column in Monday's editions of Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

“Maybe the better phrase would be ‘conducting a postmortem’ following the recent death of the Mitt Romney campaign and, arguably, the deaths of the Republican Party and the American conservative movement as well.’’

Still, O’Sullivan argues, “Republicans have some time. Although current demographic change is slowly working against them, the white vote will remain a clear majority for maybe another 40 years.

“In addition, there’s an electoral bloc already swinging their way that failed to turn out in sufficient numbers last week: namely, the white working class that used to be the solid centre of the Democratic coalition.

“Its drift rightward makes the GOP competitive still. And that group shares many of the ambitions and insecurities that animate most middle-class voters in the ethnic voting blocs that the Democrats claim for their ‘rising new electorate.”’

O’Sullivan, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, said one guest on the cruise, columnist Ramesh Ponnuru, had analyzed the various possible reasons “why the Republicans were losing the great American middle class.’’

“He concluded very persuasively that they had ignored or played down policies to help these voters deal with their problems from high college fees to rising medical costs and concentrated too much on the interests of corporate America and the rich,’’ O’Sullivan writes.

“As a result, they were seen as unsympathetic to ordinary Americans. Sort of obvious? Right. Folly not to have acted on this analysis before? Alas, yes.

“Can the GOP adopt policies that address these concerns now? Sure. So we’re on a ship of fools, after all. What a relief! Waiter, another martini.’’






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