Are Republicans Just Bad At Politics?
salon.com — All the hand-wringing and soul searching going on in the conservative movement boils down to one fundamental question: Are we bad at selling our policies, or are the policies themselves the problem? If the issue is merely in the marketing, then the damage is mostly cosmetic and can be quickly repaired with better messaging and candidates. The alternative, however, calls for rethinking foundational principles — and is much more painful. John Podhoretz and Matt Lewis made the cases for the “just politics” camp in the context of the “fiscal cliff” debate. Democrats, they argue, have deftly outmaneuvered Republicans into spending all their time defending unpopular things that are peripheral to core conservative values. While it’s hard to imagine Democrats, of all people, “brilliantly outmaneuver[ing]” anyone, their assumption seems to be this: If the key ideological conflicts of the day were fought in pitched battles on level playing fields, Republicans would win. So is this correct?