Ramesh Ponnuru Says History Misleading Republican Party
National Constitution Center - National Constitution Center
With the Democratic party in control of the presidency, the Congress and many state houses across the country, the Republican party finds itself out of power and searching for an identity and new leadership.In the 1960s, Barry Goldwater redefined conservatism and attracted a new generation to the party's banner. In the 1980s, the values of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan -- a small federal government and a strong national defense -- defined the party. A decade later, Republicans issued the "Contract for America" and rallied behind a series of strong Congressional leaders.Over the last eight years, George W. Bush led his party and rallied the faithful behind his social policies, the "war on terror" and low taxes.Having lost two consecutive elections by large margins, the Republican party is at a crucial juncture. As David Brooks writes, "lines are being drawn by 'Traditionalists' and 'Reformers' in the fight over the future of conservatism."Will the party return to Reagan or will a new leader and a new direction emerge?