The Corner

Does the Right Need a David Cameron?

The Economist says yes:

Out of power, a party can get away with such negative ambiguity; the business of an opposition is to oppose. The real problem for the political right may well come if it wins in November. Just as the party found after it seized Congress in 1994, voters expect solutions, not just rage. The electorate jumped back into Bill Clinton’s arms in 1996. Business conservatives are scouting desperately for an efficient centrist governor (or perhaps general) to run against Mr Obama in 2012. But tea-party-driven success in the mid-terms could foster the illusion that the Republicans lost the White House because Mr McCain was insufficiently close to their base. That logic is more likely to lead to Palin-Huckabee in 2012 than, say, Petraeus-Daniels.

Britain’s Conservatives, cast out of power after 18 years in 1997, made that mistake, trying a succession of right-wingers. Only with the accession of the centrist David Cameron in 2005 did the party begin to recover as he set about changing its rhetoric. There may be a lesson in that for the Republicans—and it is not too late to take it.

This is, of course, hardly a new recommendation.

Robert Costa — Robert Costa is National Review's Washington editor and a CNBC political analyst. He manages NR's Capitol Hill bureau and covers the White House, Congress, and national campaigns. ...

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