February 1, 2009 at 5:52AM
by Jim DiPeso
Gallup has released a rather stunning poll showing that voters identify with Republicans more than Democrats in only five sparsely populated states.
Those would be Alaska, Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming, but Nebraska is on the wobbly end of the GOP spectrum.
Even ruby-red Texas, which last voted for a Democratic presidential candidate sometime during the Pleistocene, is classified as competitive in the poll results, with only 2 percentage points separating Democrats and Republicans in voter identification.
The Gallup results and the accompanying color-coded map ought to be a sobering cup of black coffee for Republicans casting about for a way to regain the political initiative.
But if you listen to Rush Limbaugh and his acolytes, Republicans were pasted at the polls last year because they were not exclusive enough, not strident enough, not conservative enough.
Which has nothing to do with the traditional conservatism of Edmund Burke and his ethic of prudence and stewardship, and everything to do with the turgid radicalism that Limbaugh and his peanut gallery have been peddling as the sole legitimate definition of conservatism.
As conservative author David Frum wrote in reaction to the Gallup poll, that has to change if Republicans are to recover a prayer of regaining the trust of the voting majority.
Republican politicos who prostrate themselves at the feet of Lord Rush "are dividing the country 80-20 against themselves
," Frum wrote in the New York Times
' Opinionator blog. We have to relearn how to talk to moderates, independents, younger voters, educated voters, women it's a long list."
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said in an interview with Frum's new web site, NewMajority.com
, that one of the secrets of the Democrats' recent political success is that they have focused on broad principles and left room for disagreement.
That's one reason why Democrats last year elected congressmen in places as diverse as Vermont and Alabama, while Republicans no longer have any House members in New England.
It's the politics of addition versus the politics of subtraction. Republicans can re-color that Gallup map if they follow the former and forsake the latter.