I think Rush Limbaugh’s point over the weekend on Fox News Sunday is an important one. Contra Frank Rich, the answer for the GOP is not a purging, not a purity test. It’s figuring out what the heck it stands for and attracting Americans to that message.
WALLACE: Let’s talk about the state of the GOP. A recent Fox News poll found that the approval rating for the president has dropped to 49 percent, but meanwhile, only 25 percent of people approve of congressional Republicans.
As voters have growing doubts about the president and his policies, why aren’t they turning to the opposition? Is there something that the — that the Republican Party lacks in the way of a positive, affirmative agenda?
RUSH: The Republican Party needs to learn something. If it goes country club blue-blood moderate, it’s going to lose. If it goes Reagan conservative and commits to it, it’s going to win landslides.
WALLACE: To press my question, why aren’t people turning to the Republicans?
RUSH: Well, right — right now there’s no central Republican leader to turn to, and there’s no central Republican message. The Republican messages is sort of muddied. What do they stand for? Right now it’s opposition to Obama.
WALLACE: And is that enough?
RUSH: Well, it may be in 2010. I mean, I — I actually do think that there’s going to be a revolt against the Democrat Party and against Obama, even if voters in 2010 have nothing to vote for.
WALLACE: So do you think that the Republican Party — do you see it as a big-tent party or small-tent party?
RUSH: Big tent.
WALLACE: But — but you sound like you’re kind of saying to the moderates, the — particularly on social issues, “If we lose you, too bad.”
RUSH: Well, I look at — when I say big tent, I look at the United States of America, so I — I — I’m an American. I love this country. I want everybody in it to do well.
The conservative message is not, “OK, Hispanics, we have this plan for you. Women, we have this plan for you.” That’s what the Republican Party’s trying to do, and emulate group politics. And the history is that — you know, why be Democrat lite? Let them handle that.
Let’s go after the big tent that is the country, and let’s go get every person in this country — I don’t care what their race is, what their gender is, what their sexual orientation.
If they are told that there is somebody that’s going to lead this country or party that is actually going to strengthen them, give them the tools, get out of their way and let them make this country work, the Republican Party can attract a majority like they haven’t seen since the ’80s.