People are starting to make a lot of noise about Bob Dole’s interview to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday in which he believes that the Republican Party needs to refocus:
The problem is that Bob Dole’s theory doesn’t really make any sense. It sounds good to say that the Republican Party needs to adopt a more “positive” philosophy of governing or that it needs to focus more on substantive public policy to become viable nationally. Except, the GOP just did that. It had Paul Ryan, the guy who submitted multiple budgets on behalf the GOP and was supported by House each time it came up, as its vice presidential nominee. Mitt Romney ran on a philosophy of running government like a business. He even published a memoir that no one read called No Apology that no one read talking about his ideas. For Godsake, healthcare reform was based on his Massachusetts plan.
What I think the GOP needs to survive are not just policy wonks that can put together coherent policy visions, but they need leaders that can actually sell conservatism as a philosophy and seem likable. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush come from different eras of Republicanism where being defined as a Republican and a conservative are different because times change, but all of them were able to sell their character as the reason for trusting the party (even if some of their ideas weren’t that great). If anyone wants my armchair advice, I’d say that the Republican Party needs leaders that instill confidence and enthusiasm to comeback.