While the media and political elites debate the future of the GOP, rank and file Republicans see see no need to deviate from the party's current path. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, a plurality of Republican voters think the party has grown too moderate over the past eight years, and a majority think the party should become more like controversial Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
These sentiments echo the view of new RNC chairman Michael Steele, who in an interview on Fox News yesterday strongly iterated that the GOP's troubles stemmed not from their governing policies but their failure to successfully sell those policies to the American people:
We failed to lead," said the former Lt. Maryland Governor. "The principles we espoused [in 1994] are still true and good today and that's not what people moved away from us for. They moved away from us because we behaved badly. We came to Washington and we became like the people we were sent here to replace. And they replaced us."
Newt Gingrich, the leader of the Republican Revolution in the early 90s, sees Palin as a "formidable" candidate amid a very open Republican field for the 2012 presidential race:
If Sarah Palin seeks out a group of very sophisticated policy advisers and develops a fairly sophisticated platform, she will be very formidable.
However, one fairly high-profile disagreement Palin has with national Republicans regards the stimulus package pushed by Obama. Palin, along with many other Republican governors facing large state deficits, supports passage of the bill, a position not shared by many of her Republican colleagues in the Senate and House.
Republicans, back in the minority, have also rediscovered an appreciation for fiscal conservatism after the profligate Bush years, and may not take to kindly to Palin's latest project: a road to nowhere that could ultimately cost up to $2 billion.