Pat Buchanan

But what does "conservative" mean in 2009? And where do conservatives come down on the great issues? For what the right is against -- any repeal of the Bush tax cuts, the $787 billion stimulus, Obamacare -- is much clearer than what the right stands for.

In 2010, this may not matter, as the Obamakins rule the roost and will be held accountable, and Republicans can unite around what they oppose. Year 2012, however, is problematic.

Then the party must declare itself. And the reality is that the GOP remains a house divided.

What, for example, is the conservative view of the war in Iraq and the Bush economic policies that cost the party both Houses of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008?

Why did President Bush leave with 27 percent approval? Did Bush policies the GOP once applauded have anything to do with it?

Was Bush free trade responsible for the decline of the dollar and the loss of one in four manufacturing jobs? Is globalization still good for America and NAFTA the deal of the century?

What is the conservative position on reaching out to Russia, as BarackObama has done, on bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, and on canceling that anti-missile system Bush planned in Poland?

"We're all Georgians now!" John McCain declared. Are we?

What is the party position on a "long war" in Afghanistan?

For if America has soured on the war and opposes more troops today, will America be enthusiastic about soldiering on in 2012, after 1,000 or 2,000 more American dead have been shipped home?

Do Republicans support negotiating with Tehran, or cutting off gasoline and starting up the escalator to air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities that are today under U.N. inspection?

Will the GOP propose to stimulate the economy with tax cuts after four straight trillion-dollar deficits? Will the Bush line, "They'll pay for themselves," still be credible after Bush's deficits?

If the largest federal outlays are for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense and interest on the debt, followed by education, housing, homeland security and transportation, where would the GOP use the knife to balance the budget?

According to Gallup, America is moving closer to the Republican position on regulations, abortion, guns and union power. But half of all Americans now favor cuts in legal immigration. Are Republicans willing to call for a moratorium on immigration to tighten the labor market and force wages up? Or does the Chamber of Commerce still call the tune?

Ronald Reagan arrived with new ideas that fit the needs of his time. Where are the Republican ideas that fit the needs of this time?

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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