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Artur Davis: Modern conservatism “seems spent and resistant to innovation”

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins

The former Congressional Black Caucus member who switched the Republican Party this year and spoke at the Republican National Convention this year, muses on the reasons for his newly-adopted party’s defeat Tuesday on his website:

To be sure, a better crafted campaign would have filled in (Mitt) Romney’s policy goals more convincingly than the ritualistic invocation of five point plans and generic references to cutting regulation and producing more domestic energy. But that failure is not just a marketing flaw on the part of Romney’s ad men: it is a symptom of a modern conservatism that seems spent and resistant to innovation on some days, purely oppositional and reactive on other days. And the weightiest part of the recent conservative agenda, Paul Ryan’s budget plan, was barely mentioned and its details only intermittently defended. (The details of Ryan’s budget had their share of political pitfalls, but the scant attention to it by the Romney campaign surely contributed to the impression that the Republican wish list was being kept deliberately shadowy.)

The other risk for Republicans, as Fox News’ Britt Hume noted last night, is that the axis of gravity is shifting leftward, and that a center right electorate is more predisposed than ever to a view that equates conventional conservatism with a middle aged backwardness. The hardening of the Democratic edge in affluent Northern Virginia, the white professional female gender gap, and the historically poor Republican showing with Hispanics can all be linked to a value judgment about the insularity of the Republican coalition. It is not hard to imagine that Democrats will exploit their growing cultural edge by pushing harder on issues that seemed marginal a cycle ago, like a fifty state right of same sex marriage, or more aggressive regulation of faith based institutions.

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Sean Higgins

Senior Writer
The Washington Examiner