The Republican Party has given up on rhetorical persuasion and decided that, no, there’s no reason to offer a compelling vision to voters, that it’s safer to try to thread the needle than offer an optimistic cause around which they can rally. And though Hillary may yet survive and become the Democratic nominee despite mostly offering vagaries and remember the ‘90s nostalgia, the GOP has bungled things so badly for so many years, they face a higher standard. Fortunately there are voices on the right looking to shake it off and get the GOP back cruising, one notable example being Arthur Brooks.
Brooks doesn’t advocate pillow talk and platitudes, but he does correctly point out that conservatives can win if they “open hearts and minds so that Americans will listen to what we have to say and trust us to solve the deep problems facing the nation today.” In other words, offer a positive vision to the electorate, something that they can be part of. Conservative principles can win if they are articulated clearly and provide “an aspirational, inclusive, optimistic conservative movement that could reunite the country.”
Kasich, and the impulse to look to someone like him, is the opposite of that approach. It’s the hapless floundering we’ve come to expect of the GOP. Check out Kasich’s record. Obamacare? He’s down. I mean, I’m sure Compassionate Conservatism will be a huge winner in 2016, though the base and people facing higher medical bills may disagree. Social issues? We probably need to tone it down and move a little to the left. “Early childhood. Infant mortality. The environment. Education,” [Kasich] said. Hell yeah! If you’re looking for issues that inspire and animate conservative, early childhood education and the environment are way up top on the list.