Rep. Price Gets It Wrong On Republican Mojo

January 11, 2010 2:27 pm ET — Walid Zafar

Despite the Democrats' resounding victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections, Republicans have continued to argue, undeterred by simple reasoning or statistics, that we are a center-right nation.  Oddly, as David Sirota predicted after the last election, conservatives simultaneously espouse a center-right narrative at the same time that they label President Obama as a socialist.  If, for the sake of argument, Obama is what the conservatives portray him as, how is it that a center-right nation elected him? Why would a center-right nation elect a socialist?

Tom Price (R-GA), head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, took to Tucker Carlson's new site, The Daily Caller, to argue that the GOP was back and would recapture power by promoting its "positive vision for all issues that concern families, like education, housing, health care, energy, values, immigration, and the environment."

Our new commitment to America must not be limited only to traditional Republican territory. As the health care debate has shown, when our fundamental principles are applied to any issue and communicated effectively, the American people will choose conservative solutions, because conservative solutions are American solutions.  America remains a center-right nation, and we must not be afraid to put forth a positive vision for all issues that concern families, like education, housing, health care, energy, values, immigration, and the environment.  By embracing fundamental American principles, we will be able to communicate that Republicans are once again a national party of broad and dynamic solutions.

Several clear problems are plainly obvious in Price's piece.

Immigration: The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that there are more than 49 million Latinos in the United States, 71% of them U.S. citizens.  As the Republican Party becomes more and more entrenched in xenophobic hysteria and gives comfort to nativists who, for the sake of divisiveness, promote English-only policies and want to expel undocumented workers, it will continue, as it has, to lose support among the country's growing Latino population. 

Education: Whereas the Republican Party once strongly supported public education, they have long abandoned the system.  In fact, as you approach the fringes of the right, which these days is home to an increasing number of inhabitants, you start to hear calls to entirely abolish the Department of Education

Health Care:

Environment: In 1907, Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, addressing Congress, told the nation that "to waste, to destroy, our natural resources... will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed."  In 2009, Price's Republican Study Committee reacted to an EPA endangerment finding by mocking Democrats and arguing that carbon dioxide was not a pollutant because it was used in the process of photosynthesis.  But the logic is embarrassingly flawed.  Water, for example, is fundamental to our existence and in fact, our bodies are 65% water.  However, drinking too much water can lead to water intoxication.  Similarly, carbon dioxide is an important part of life, but large amounts of it can have a deleterious impact on the environment.

Is this the center-right logic that will advance America in the 21st century? I'm betting no.  Have Republican's gotten their mojo back, as Price contends?  Maybe, but only if getting their mojo back means becoming more ideologically orthodox, more alienating and increasingly unpalatable to the American people.