Jon Huntsman explains:

Huntsman’s model comes not from the Reagan and Gingrich revolutions, but instead resembles a Republican brand of Clintonism: practical solutions, softened rhetorical edges aimed to appeal to the center and an overall modernization of a party badly in need of a new image.

“I would liken it a bit to the transformation of the Tory Party in the U.K.,” Huntsman explained. “The defeat in ’97, John Major to Tony Blair, after years of strong, conservative rule with Margaret Thatcher setting the mark. They went two or three election cycles without recognizing the issues that the younger citizens in the U.K. really felt strongly about. They were a very narrow party of angry people.


And they started branching out through, maybe, taking a second look at the issues of the day, much like we’re going to have to do for the Republican Party, to reconnect with the youth, to reconnect with people of color, to reconnect with different geographies that we have lost. You cannot succeed being a party of the South and a couple of Western states. It just – it isn’t long-term sustainable.”

Spending matters - absolutely. Limited government matters. So will a constructive, practically-minded opposition to some of Obama's proposals on healthcare and the environment. Ditto respect for people of faith. But if the Republicans cannot respond to climate change except by denying it, or to gays without demonizing them, or to religious life without conflating politics and theology, they deserve to fail.

As to the current CPAC/blogosphere "insurrection", all I can say is that reflexive and angry opposition after what the Republicans bequeathed to Obama is a kind of political autism. Even Victor Davis Hanson has come to accept that.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.