"First, Republicans should make front-and-center their plans to reform public institutions that were designed for the needs of the mid-20th century. Our health-care and entitlement system, tax code, schools, immigration policies and regulatory regime are outdated, breaking down, and creating substantial wreckage. If I had to boil it down to a single sentence, I'd urge the GOP to develop its reputation as the party of reform and modernization. Second, Republican leaders at every level need to conduct themselves in a manner that not just reassures voters but appeals to them. As former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has put it, 'as we ask Americans to join us on such a boldly different course, it would help if they liked us, just a bit.' ... Third, Republicans must resist the temptation of defeatism, enervation, and turning against the country. It is entirely within the power of the GOP to both remain principled and appeal to a majority of Americans. An intellectually self-confident party would, in fact, be energized by a challenge of this scale."
Read this line again: "It is entirely within the power of the GOP to both remain principled and appeal to a majority of Americans."
A bold agenda that does these things reflects Gov. Christie's record in New Jersey. By not inviting him to speak, CPAC invites comparison with a pessimistic and hypercritical political environment of the past. If the Republican "tent" isn't large enough for Chris Christie, then it will resemble a pup tent for some time to come.
Republicans should be focused on deconstructing failed liberalism and styling their alternative in positive terms, not rejecting one of their own. Hating President Obama is not a policy. Intellectually defeating his policies is.
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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