Schmidt and McCain could not begin to count the number of votes that would be lost were the party to abandon social conservatives and their issues. Whatever minimal gains might be made from younger, more progressive Republicans will be more than offset by older (and younger) social conservatives who will abandon the party and either stay home in disgust on Election Day, or vote for third-party candidates. Either scenario will bring the same result: the election of more liberal Democrats.
Meghan McCain said Republicans needed to look forward, be more modern, forget the past (presumably she means those Reagan and Republican congressional victories) and adopt new beliefs. Why not forget the Founders while we're at it? McCain's perfect candidate was on the "Today" show last Tuesday. Carlie Beck, a California high school cheerleading coach, was fired after she posed nude for Playboy. In an interview, Beck said she thinks everyone should make up his or her own morals. That "philosophy" is perfect for the GOP of McCain and Schmidt. It's beyond the "if it feels good, do it" code of the '60s. It's morphed into, "if it will get you elected, embrace it."
Dissing the past is a quality found mostly in arrogant youth who think they know more than anyone else and believe only they are enlightened enough to tell the rest of us how and what to think. But the past and those who have gone before are great teachers for moderns who would learn. The writer of Ecclesiastes noted that there is "nothing new under the sun."
Republicans can take old ideas that once brought them victory and repackage them for a new generation. Embracing what has worked -- economically, politically and morally -- has sustained America through many challenges. While a moral reformation cannot come through government, moral deterioration will advance with greater speed if political leadership does not remind the country of unchanging principles.
What shall it profit a party if it gains electoral victory, but loses its political soul?
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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