Does the GOP stand for anything?

Republicans have concluded that by opposing everything, they can end up winning in 2010 and 2012. But can a party with no platform succeed?

Robert Shrum

The GOP is still shell-shocked. After the collapse of the Bush presidency and the Democratic victories of 2006 and 2008—especially the improbable, to their minds likely inconceivable, ascendancy of Barack Obama—the Republicans have dug themselves in behind the barricades of a nihilistic right-wing populism. They apparently think it's a position to fight back from—not just in the rhetorically heated summer of 2009 but in the cooler Novembers of 2010 and 2012.

As events unfold, Republicans are likely to discover that they've dug themselves deeper into a hole, leaving them bereft of positive ideas to offer voters an alternative, appealing conservative vision of the future. Quick: Think of a big idea—any bold initiative—that the present GOP stands for. It is a party without a platform.

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