Matt Lewis

Much has been written lately regarding how the Republican Party might re-form itself into a winning operation. Of course, this debate has been around for a long time, but our recent losses have reignited the debate. This time, however (perhaps having learned from liberals that “progressive” sounds better) -- the moderates have re-branded themselves as “modernizers”, “reformers”, or “pragmatists”. And to give their revolution some historical credibility, they have given themselves a new hero: British Conservative Party Leader David Cameron.

In their minds, Cameron is the crusading moderate who wrested control of the Conservative Party from…well…conservatives -- dragged it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century -- and now stands ready to become Prime Minister in the 2009 Election. They are right on two counts: the first being that Cameron is a moderate and the second being that he is a political genius.

Indeed, there is much we can learn from Mr. Cameron, and even as a staunch conservative I think that elements of his template could be the keys to future Republican victories. However, the idea that he would be on board with their reverse-RINO-hunt is complete and utter rubbish -- and it shows great ignorance of how Cameron has revitalized British conservatism. If we really want to implement the Cameron model, we must first understand the details of what he did…and what he did differs starkly with the ideas currently being floated by angry moderates hungry for conservative blood.

Cameron has repositioned his party closer to the center of the political spectrum. However, moderation in itself has not always worked for him. In fact, one of his biggest plans to seize the middle-ground blew up in his face. After his election as party leader, Cameron almost immediately adopted environmentalism as his key issue and launched a new party slogan: “Go Green, Vote Blue” (Blue being the color symbolic of the party). That slogan is long gone today (it’s one of the few pieces of the Cameron experiment not to have succeeded).  Now, to be sure, environmentalism is still a big part of the party’s appeal. Actually, the party has always been seen as strong on that front considering the left-wing Labour Party’s association with not-so-green labor interests such as coal miners. However, it is still safe to say that the “Go Green” marketing gimmick flopped.

Matt Lewis

Matt Lewis is conservative writer and blogger based in Alexandria, VA.

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