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GOP moderates: You had your chance, and you lost!

By Scott Tibbs, October 6, 2009

Steve Schmidt, chief campaign strategist for failed Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, declares that Sarah Palin could bring "a catastrophic election result" if she were the Republican nominee in 2012. CBSNews.com blogger Stephanie Condon writes:

Calling Sarah Palin a potentially "catastrophic" choice for the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, John McCain's former chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt said today the Republican party needs to look more toward the center.

"I think she has talents, but my honest view is that she would not be a winning candidate for the Republican party in 2012," he said. "Were she to be the nominee, we could have a catastrophic election result."

The Republican Party already moved toward the center when it nominated Senator John McCain (R-AZ) in 2008. McCain lost by more than 8 million votes, with 58,343,671 votes to Barack Obama's 66,882,230 votes. The fact of the matter is that the Republican Party has had two consecutive disastrous elections because the GOP abandoned the core conservative principles that once defined the party. The GOP lost both the House and Senate in 2006 after passing multiple laws that expanded government and failing to control the government spending that created a huge deficit.

There is a conservative plurality among the American people. Gallup reports that conservatives make up the largest ideological block of Americans, outnumbering Leftists by nearly 2-to-1. Gallup reports that "40% of Americans interviewed in national Gallup Poll surveys describe their political views as conservative, 35% as moderate, and 21% as liberal." The conservative movement has seen a surge in support this year with Barack Obama's expanded deficit spending, as seen by the "Tea Party" movement. Social conservatism remains strong.

I'm not convinced that Sarah Palin is the ideal candidate for Republicans. I am convinced, however, that the Republican nominee in 2012 needs to embrace the core conservative principles that were so effective for Republicans in the 1980's and 1994, and have revitalized the conservative base to rally against and protest President Obama's agenda of ever-bigger government. Republicans also need to abandon the silly idea of "party unity" and be willing to attack other Republicans who are working against basic conservative principles. We can make significant gains in the House in 2010 and we can win back the White House in 2012, but we can't do it by abandoning conservatism.