Republicans and conservatives today face a similar challenge to that of 1976. A hawkish foreign policy, social conservatism and middle-American populism aren’t the problems. Those elements, as embodied on the Republican ticket by John McCain and Sarah Palin, produced a respectable 46 percent of the national vote — in the midst of an economic meltdown, with the Bush administration flailing and House Republicans rebelling and the Republican ticket lacking any coherent economic message.
The lack of economic message is a direct result of too many of the Republican leaders eschewing limited government fiscally responsible conservatism. They went "Washington" & paid for it by losing the majority in 2006 & further losses to a feckless Democrat-led congress in 2008. Reclaiming the mantle of limited government fiscally responsible conservatism will be key to not only reclaiming power but also putting in place good policy for our country.