It isn't that culture doesn't matter. It does. But preaching to the choir produces no converts. And shifting demographics suggest that the Republican Party -- and conservatism with it -- eventually will die out unless religion is returned to the privacy of one's heart where it belongs.
Religious conservatives become defensive at any suggestion that they've had something to do with the GOP's erosion. And, though the recent Democratic sweep can be attributed in large part to a referendum on Bush and the failing economy, three long-term trends identified by Emory University's Alan Abramowitz have been devastating to the Republican Party: increasing racial diversity, declining marriage rates and changes in religious beliefs.
It was not only Palin's lack of qualifications which drove many people away. McCain had a chance to be a real maverick and bring the Republican party closer to the center. Instead, he selected Palin as his running mate. She was not qualified and if you do a Youtube search, you can find Palin and some sort of preacher in an odd show of trying to cast out any witchy behavior.
There were so many things wrong with the idea of Palin being vice-president. If she is the Republicans nominee in the 2012 or 2016 presidential races, the death knell of the Republican party will be complete.
During McCain's campaign, we saw their campaign looking toward Joe the Plumber. It times, it seemed good ole Joe was the face of McCain's economic policy. We saw Palin talking about little pockets of what she calls 'real' America. We saw attacks on elites, liberals, and the news media. In short, they attacked everything.
McCain had a real chance to move the Republican party toward the center and away from those who want to ruin our schools by placing Intelligent Design in the curriculum. He had a real chance to move away from the perception that the Republican party is just for evangelical Christians.
If the Republicans keep choosing people such as Huckabee and Palin as leading contenders for presidential nominees, they will lose more and more to either the Democrats or a third party.
There have been many brave conservative voices, such as Kathleen Parker, speaking out about the direction the Republican party is going. I expect some like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to start calling for Kathleen Parker to be symbolically(if not actually) to be tarred and feathered. An speaking of Glenn Beck, what exactly does he mean by "thinning out the herd"?
After listening to that exchange, this Sinclair Lewis' quote comes to mind:
"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."