Thomas Sowell

Those considered to be the smart money among Republicans have been saying for some time that the party has to become more "inclusive" and jettison "outmoded" principles of the Reagan era. But no one has to pass an IQ test to be considered part of the smart money.

Looking at the track record, rather than the rhetoric, the smart money doesn't look nearly as smart.

When have the Republicans won big? When they stood for something and told the people what that something was.

Ronald Reagan was the classic example. But another example would be the stunning Republican victories in the 1994 Congressional elections, which put them in control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.

Articulating the message of Newt Gingrich's "contract for America" was a key to that historic victory.

Too many Republicans seem to think that being "inclusive" means selling out your principles to try to attract votes. It never seems to occur to them that you can attract a wider range of voters by explaining your principles in a way that more people understand.

That is precisely what Reagan did and what Gingrich did in 1994. Most Americans' principles are closer to those of the Republicans than to those of the Democrats.

It is the only advantage the Republicans have. The Democrats have the media, the unions, the environmental extremists and the tort lawyers on their side. Why should Republicans throw away their one advantage by becoming imitation Democrats?

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

Creators Syndicate