Gerson urges Republicans "to do more than rebrand existing policy approaches":
Some serious rethinking is necessary, particularly on economic matters ... such as ending corporate welfare, breaking up the mega-banks, improving the treatment of families in the tax code, and encouraging economic mobility through education reform and improved job training.
Agreed. And yet therein lies the Republicans' predicament. Democrats have already staked out centrist positions on economic matters from corporate welfare to job training, leaving Republicans with little but free-market swampland, which is increasingly burdensome to peddle to an increasingly wary electorate. A mixed economy is here to stay, and everyone knows it except the GOP ideologues.
So where does the GOP pragmatist--as the Anti-Democrat--go? To the left? Impossible. Farther to the right? The GOP is already headed there, and it's not working so well. To the middle, ever so subtly?--although he is then no longer the vividly differentiated Anti-Democrat?
The Democratic Party--pushed rightward by Republicans and pulled by Clintonites from the rowdier left--has for the past 20 years invested heavily in centrism. And it's paying off, since America, traditionally, is host to a centrist electorate. Again, where does that leave a "new" GOP? With something akin, I would guess, to Eisenhower Republicanism, which would wait in the wings, merely waiting for Democrats to blow it.