There has long been an element of the Republican Party that has felt a need to distance themselves from people who stand up for conservative principles, whether those with principles have been Ronald Reagan, Rush Limbaugh or whomever.
The latest example is John McCain’s daughter, who has said how embarrassed she is by having to explain Ann Coulter to her friends. If it wasn’t for articulate conservatives like Ann Coulter, both the Republican Party and the country would be in even worse shape than they are now, for there are extremely few articulate Republican politicians who can make the case for any principle. Certainly Ms. McCain’s father is not one of them.
The only time John McCain led Barack Obama in the polls last year was after Governor Sarah Palin joined the ticket. The economic collapse doomed their candidacies but McCain would have had no chance at all with another inconsistent and inarticulate Republican like himself on the ticket.
Yet many in the Republican Party seem to have felt as embarrassed by Governor Palin as they have been by others who articulated principles, instead of trying to be in step with the fashions of the time– fashions set by liberals.
Maybe those Republicans who put a high value on being accepted in elite circles should be embarrassed by the narrowness of their elite friends, who disdain or demonize people whose principles they disagree with, instead of answering their arguments.
There has even been an undercurrent among some Republicans of a sense that it is time to move away from the image of Ronald Reagan, to update the party and court newer and less embarrassing segments of the voters than their current base.
There is certainly a lot to be said for inviting wider segments of the population to join you, by explaining how your principles benefit the country in general, and those segments in particular. But that is fundamentally different from abandoning your principles in hopes of attracting new votes with opportunism.