"It's that time again. Throngs of delirious Democrats are invading the streets and suites of Washington to celebrate their victories in November.
"Across town, members of that other party gather in hushed bands, mourning their loss of power, employment and staff. The more prolific have taken the op-ed pages of every newspaper as their pillories, to flog themselves for their defeat.
"As a member of that other party, enough is enough. It is time to look forward, not back."
I wrote those words for a column in February 1993. Back then, the future of the GOP could not have looked dimmer. The party needed to refocus and recharge. The following year Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress and state legislatures across the country.
Now, after two disastrous election cycles, it is clear the Republican Party must refocus again. A reenergized GOP must make Republican principles appealing both to its base and also to the changing face of America. If the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan wants to return to power, it must become the party of the 21st century.
Right now, like then, we are conducting a detailed post-mortem to figure out what went wrong.
Some are blaming the party for moving too far to the right, losing moderate and independent voters to the Democrats. These people say social issues such as gay marriage and abortion should be replaced by economic issues. Others say the party has moved too far to the middle, demobilizing core supporters. These people cite the No Child Left Behind Act, agriculture subsidies, and now the $700 billion mega-bailout as examples of big-government policies.
Still others say that nothing is wrong with the party, and all the blame lies with John McCain and his campaign. They cite a lack of organization, a coherent theme, consistent strategy, and various missteps as leading to the GOP defeat.
Finally, some say that it's the president's fault, and the Republican Party simply could not win in this environment. They cite President Bush's low approval ratings, the percentage of voters who think the country is on the wrong track, and the declining economy as creating a no-win situation.
America is a center-right country, both economically and socially. The majority of Americans support domestic energy development, low taxes, and allowing people choice in their retirement planning and their children's education. The majority of Americans also support marriage between a man and woman, restrictions on abortion, protecting common religious expressions such as "one nation under God," and Second Amendment freedoms.