Vote Dem Or Abstain

That's my advice, unless you have a truly stellar Republican candidate in your district or state. Here's a British analogy that suggests it would be good for the GOP as well:

In 1974, Britain's Conservative Party lost. Disillusioned Tory voters failed to turn out and more than a few, tired of the tired Edward Heath, decided what the hell, and voted Labor.

In the aftermath, small groups of Tories, both in and out of government, sat down and thought. In think tanks, and party clubs, through pamphlets and speeches and arguments and chats over tea, they set out to define what it meant to be a Conservative. The answers - lower taxation, rolling back the state from the private economy, a reassertion of British confidence - brought the Tories four straight wins.

My book is an attempt to do just that. It has no policy prescriptions. It's an attempt to ask again what the hell conservatism means from first principles. You may well disagree with it. But the conversation is the point. All of us who think or have thought of ourselves on the right need a break from power to figure out what we want power for. We're lost right now. Terribly, incontrovertibly lost.

People keep asking me on this tour who I think can save conservatism, who I favor for 2008, etc. But that's the wrong question. Conservatives do not need a savior. They need a coherent governing philosophy. That requires some hard soul-searching, some healthy recriminations, and a debate from first principles. My essential point is that by coopting fundamentalism, conservatism, which has always been at its core the politics of imperfection and doubt, not perfection and certainty, has destroyed itself from within. You may not agree. Great. Let's debate. But it's a start.