Since the election there have been lots of articles telling Republicans what they need to do to win back the House of Representatives in 2008. The problem is that much of the advice is contradictory. Some people say the Republicans need to move to the center. That is where the swing voters, the independents, are, they say, and those are the voters the Republicans need to reclaim if they want to win in 2008. Others, however, say the Republicans need to go to the right, refocusing on the true Republican "brand."
So, what should Republicans do: move to the center or move to the right? First, it is important to realize no one can know what is going to happen in the next two years. After the 2000 election, nobody could have predicted what was going to happen in the next two years.
While you might think that not knowing what is going to happen in the next two years makes it hard to know what to do in order to win 2008, I think it actually makes it easier -- because the key to winning is not to move to the center or to the right, but to move to what you think is right.
Of course, voters want to vote for people they agree with, for candidates who believe in the same things they do. But voters also want to vote for candidates who actually believe in something. Voters do not want candidates who just say whatever seems to be popular, shifting with the wind, constantly changing directions. They want candidates who say what they believe and believe what they say.
Obviously, a real conservative is not going to win in San Francisco just because she is honest about what she believes. Similarly, a true, left-wing liberal is not going to win in Utah just because he really believes the government should run everything. But in many districts, in the close races, voters will elect the candidate who really believes in something as opposed to one whose views track the latest opinion polls.
In the 2004 election an important part of George Bush’s election victory was the fact he stood for something, that he believed in something and that people knew what it was.
Republicans need to do the same thing. They do need to believe in something, something besides winning by throwing more pork at the voters and deciding their positions by looking at a weather vane.
Republicans do not have to agree on everything, but we can agree on good basic beliefs: Limited government; letting people run their own lives; controlling spending; keeping taxes down.
It is not a matter of moving to the center or moving to the right. It is a matter of campaigning on what you think is right and then actually doing it. That will enable us to win the House back in 2008.