Any aspiring center-right party hoping to succeed today must match its core message of limited government and low taxes with an equal commitment to be culturally modern, economically inclusive, and environmentally responsible. In the United States, with all its global responsibilities, there is an additional necessary component: a commitment to U.S. primacy that is unapologetic yet not bellicose. The passage of time will help Republicans get from here to there, bringing new generations to the stage and removing others with outdated ideas. Repeated defeat administers its own harsh lessons. But most of all, new circumstances will pose new challenges -- and open up new possibilities.As David later points out, in a paragraph that opens with "Conservatism should be thriving in the United States" and lists several Obama administration failings:
Instead of market mechanisms to deal with climate change, the Obama administration has ordered up a new system of bureaucratic regulation of carbon emissions.Me: Speaking of new possibilities, there would be, in Obama climate policy, a suitable target for the GOP if the party had not become so invested in denying there's a climate problem in the first place. Perhaps more Republicans will start listening to Eli Lehrer, whose advocacy of a carbon tax is the subject of a savvy Bloomberg View piece by Christopher Flavelle. Otherwise, we'll just have to see if the coming Naomi Klein phase of the climate debate helps center-right types define themselves against the hard left, or just gives hard-right types an excuse to continue dismissing the whole subject.
In any case, I highly recommend Frum's piece, including an apt point about Bob Dole's 1996 rhetoric.