The country has changed since 1988. Polls capture a shift to the left on economic issues. The once decisive tax issue has faded altogether, and no wonder: 80 per cent of Americans now pay more in payroll taxes than in federal income taxes. Americans care less about taxes than healthcare and fuel prices, issues where Republicans offer few solutions and speak with something less than passionate urgency. Americans are expressing a new pessimism about upward mobility and their children’s chances of leading a better life – an understandable reaction to the stagnation of median wages since 2000. Even on the signature issue of the war on terror, Americans are turning away from Republican ideas. The proportion of Americans who believe that terrorism can be defeated by military force has sharply declined since 2002. (emphasis mine)
What, then — Fluffy kittens?
I don't think Americans are "turning away from Republican ideas" — How can you turn away from something that's not even being presented?
A great counter argument, from Victor Davis Hanson at NRO:
What's Wrong with Republicans?
On this great debate, I tend to agree with Mark Levin and others that conservatives should reach out with conservative principles better framed and presented, rather than change the message for the perceived advantage of the hour.
What the Republicans need is not an abandonment of conservative principles, but a smarter, more articulate defense of even more conservativism, not less.
. . .
I think in their depression, the Republicans fail to see that their problems were not in their principles, but rather in the sometimes sleezy and sloppy way they advanced them — and even more often in the manner that they abandoned them — and as a result, they are apparently eager to compromise on them.
The rest of both at the links. Arrrggghhhh.