Thomas Sowell

Unfortunately, the only political party with any chance of displacing the current leadership in Washington is the Republican Party. That is why their internal squabbles are important for the rest of us who are not Republicans.

The "smart money" says that the way for the Republicans to win elections is to appeal to a wider range of voters, including minorities, by abandoning the Ronald Reagan kinds of positions and supporting more of the kinds of positions that Democrats use to get elected. This sounds good on the surface, which is as far as many people go, when it comes to politics.

A corollary to this is that Republicans have to come up with alternatives to the Democrats' many "solutions," rather than simply be nay-sayers.

However plausible all this may seem, it goes directly counter to what has actually happened in politics in this generation. For example, Democrats studiously avoided presenting alternatives to what the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush administration were doing, and just lambasted them at every turn. That is how the Democrats replaced Republicans at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ronald Reagan won two elections in a landslide by being Ronald Reagan-- and, most important of all-- explaining to a broad electorate how what he advocated would be best for them and for the country. Newt Gingrich likewise led a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives by explaining how the Republican agenda would benefit a wide range of people.

Neither of them won by pretending to be Democrats. It is the mushy "moderates"-- the "kinder and gentler" Bush 41, Bob Dole and John McCain-- who lost disastrously, even in two cases to Democrats who were initially very little known, but who knew how to talk.

Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate