What Can Conservatives Do Now With the GOP?

Republicans and conservatives need to get back to their small-government roots.

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Barack Obama is setting up his incoming administration as Republicans across the ideological and strategic spectrum in the GOP are restructuring. How will Republicans emerge from last Tuesday's stunning losses and reformulate to become a winning party once again? Will it take four years or four decades?

Most conservatives of all stripes still call the Republican Party home and, in the two-party U.S. system, may have little option but to hang together under its tent.

And the conservative Christians of the "religious right," as the movement is widely known, remain the party's most reliable base and strongly supported Republican John McCain on November 4. He and running mate Sarah Palin, who staunchly represented their social views, got 73 percent of the white evangelical Protestant vote, just 5 percentage points less than Bush took in 2004.

If I were in charge of Republican reformulation (and believe me I'm not even close), I'd take note of two things:

1. George W. Bush completely divorced the GOP from two of its principal planks: fiscal conservatism and balanced budgets. He invented what's now oxymoronically referred to as big-government conservatism. There is, and should not be, any such thing. As Republicans build a new crop of up-and-comers to groom to run for Congress and state legislatures, they should seek socially moderate, fiscally conservative young Turks to build the Republican bench and move the party forward along with the country.

2. Young evangelicals are not as socially conservative as their parents or grandparents. They are much more concerned about the environment and less preoccupied with abortion or gay rights. Republicans should build a technological base that ties them more closely to this young generation just as Barack Obama's campaign team used technology to woo more young Democratic voters into his camp and into the party fold.

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