During his campaign for Minority Leader in 2006, Pence said, "Our new Republican minority must rededicate itself to the ideals and standards that minted our majority in 1994. Only by renewing our commitment to fight for the principles embodied in the Contract with America can we hope to have the credibility to earn back the opportunity to lead this national legislature.
"We will only defeat the Democrat agenda by presenting a positive, conservative message in vivid contrast to the big government liberalism of the new Majority. To renew our Majority, we must offer this nation a compelling vision of fiscal discipline and reform. We must again embrace the notion that Republicans seek the Majority not simply to govern but to change government for the better. We are the agents of change and we must return to that reformist vision."
Is there a Republican who objects to this vision? Is there one, besides Pence, who has it?
In 1977, Ronald Reagan spoke of principles that transcend eras: "We, the members of the New Republican Party, believe that the preservation and enhancement of the values that strengthen and protect individual freedom, family life, communities and neighborhoods and the liberty of our beloved nation should be at the heart of any legislative or political program presented to the American people. Our task now is not to sell a philosophy, but to make the majority of Americans, who already share that philosophy, see that modern conservatism offers them a political home. ... The job is ours and the job must be done. If not by us, who? If not now, when? Our party must be the party of the individual. It must not sell out the individual to cater to the group. No greater challenge faces our society today than ensuring that each one of us can maintain his dignity and his identity in an increasingly complex, centralized society."
For Republicans to win - and be worthy of winning - they need to get back to where they belong.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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