Charlie Cook thinks that Republicans should be silent on many "divisive subjects" instead of standing up for principle (presumably leading to their defeat).
He talks about this in similar terms to what Democrats have done concerning Guns. Our party rarely talks about the danger of guns, the cost of guns, and actually fixing the problem because it is now conventional wisdom that otherwise solid Democratic voters turned to the Republicans to save their gun lifestyle.
First of all, I disagree with the prescription for the Republicans. Republicans need to be more conservative, and better at it. Their problem on this topic over the past 8 years especially and going back decades is that they haven't been truly committed to the issues enough.
There are too many potentially Republican voters who have seen the Republicans not deliver on their rhetoric. Take abortion. How many times can you talk about the evils of abortion and not really do something about it? Abortions have proceeded under complete Republican rule. Abortions have persisted even as so-called "pro life" Republicans have appointed the vast majority of Supreme Court judges. On this issue the Republicans have ceded too much ground, and allowed the mainstream to solidify on the left. They have been left fighting on tactical ground like "partial birth abortion" and "parental notification". What that has done is grant the assumption that abortions are tolerable under these certain circumstances. So then the debate is over technical definitions and small issues.
On abortion for instance, Republicans (and Pro-life Democrats) need to fight for the ideas that unborn children are fully human and are already protected by the Constitution. They just need judges who understand this. Right now, those in the know talk about a repeal of Roe v. Wade sending the issue back to the states, but pro-lifers need to talk about a "living and breathing" constitution that includes unborn children.
On immigration, Republicans have allowed the media (and Democrats) to define them negatively rather than doing what's right to curb illegal immigration and to have high standards for legal immigration. President Bush hurt his party badly by essentially taking a liberal position.
On gay rights, the Republicans have shown that they don't care to stand up for traditional values unless it can win votes. This along with many of them being gay themselves has set up a circumstance where the majority of us who are against the gay rights movement have no true defenders.
There are so many divorced politicians, and those doing so many things wrong, that very few politicians are willing to stand for any traditional values where it matters.
There is only posturing.
When faced with this, voters make decisions on other grounds.
The Republicans need to define themselves in terms of traditional values and conservative policies and then fight to convince people to vote for them.
Back on our side, we should fight on the gun issue. What's the purpose of a majority if it isn't to rule. I don't believe we lost in 1994 and beyond based on the gun issue.
Al Gore and Democrats were out of touch on many issues, and in many cases faced better candidates on the Republican side.
In Presidential politics, the best candidate wins. Regardless of party.
The American way is to stand on principle and convince people you are right.
The damage caused by gun violence is unbelievable.
Otherwise good people killing themselves.
Otherwise law abiding people losing their minds for a few moments.
Democrats should find a way to win and address guns.