What Happened to the GOP's Intellect?

Don't blame Romney for devolving party: Richard Cohen, David Brooks
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 25, 2012 1:52 PM CDT
Newt Gingrich, right, and Mitt Romney, center, laugh as Rick Santorum sits at left during a Republican presidential debate Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – Conservative commentators have been complaining lately about a struggling Romney campaign—but it's the Republican Party itself that's the "real problem," writes Richard Cohen in the Washington Post. "While Ronald Reagan had to beat out a star-studded field for his GOP nomination, Mitt Romney "won just by showing up. He beat a bunch of nobodies," writes Cohen, who complains of a "Republican brain drain." Central to the party's problem is its need to veer far to the right in the primaries, thanks to Iowa and New Hampshire, in a system that "seemingly was designed by a sly Democrat." To win, Romney had to "stop thinking."

In the New York Times, David Brooks echoes Cohen's concerns, also pointing to the example of the 1980s. Back then, economic conservatives like today's were balanced by "traditional conservatives" who believed in social order and "that the individual is foolish but the species is wise." Today, however,"shrinking government has become the organizing conservative principle." This tends to "oversimplify the real world," and now, the GOP may win people over as "potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors, and citizens." Click for Brooks' full piece, or for Cohen's full piece. (Read more Richard Cohen stories.)

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