Changing the GOP

I've heard a lot lately about the GOP needing to change to remain competitive as a party.  I honestly think that it's more likely that we'll last at least four more years of blindly ignoring reality, but it's fun to see the conversation.  This article at Slate addresses a number of directions that reformation could go.

2. Illegal immigrants epitomize American values. If the Republican argument against illegal immigrants is that they “don't share our values,” Bret Stephens writes in the Wall Street Journal, “then religiosity, hard work, personal stoicism and the sense of family obligation expressed through billions of dollars in remittances aren't American values.” So get over your ethnic hang-ups and your English-only fixation. “What's so awful about Spanish?” Stephens asks. “It's a fine European language with an outstanding literary tradition—Cervantes, Borges, Paz, Vargas Llosa—and it would do you no harm to learn it. Bilingualism is an intellectual virtue.”

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4. Gay marriage is a bourgeois triumph. “Public support for same-sex marriage has risen a lot, among young people especially, and the Republican Party will have to soften its opposition to it,” writes Bloomberg’s Ramesh Ponnuru. Will counsels that conservatives “need not endorse such policies, but neither need they despise those, such as young people, who favor them.” Gerson, looking at the same poll numbers, says “it is more advisable than ever to make public arguments about morality in aspirational rather than judgmental ways.” Stephens adds:

If gay people wish to lead conventionally bourgeois lives by getting married, that may be lunacy on their part but it's a credit to our values. Channeling passions that cannot be repressed toward socially productive ends is the genius of the American way. The alternative is the tapped foot and the wide stance.

That’s a neat fusion of conservative impulses: realism about human nature, skepticism toward naïve laws, attention to cultural consequences. You can see, in these reflections, how the GOP gradually reconciles itself to same-sex marriage.

I like these changes, not because I think they're reasonable or sane, but because the more the GOP compromises their own fringe beliefs, the further to the left the Overton Window slides.