Yuval Levin, writing for National Review Online:
The job of conservatism, and to the extent that it is a conservative party then also the job of the Republican Party, is to lay out its vision before voters in an attractive and serious way, to show them how it builds on America’s strengths to address America’s weaknesses, how it enables human thriving, how it could be applied to the particular problems we face today in ways that would help solve those problems, and why it is good for each and all of us Americans. That means we need to speak to a coherent and appealing understanding of American life today, and that we need to translate our ideas into very concrete policy particulars that would advance them. That’s why, to return to where we started, I think the Romney campaign would have been well served by a more coherent agenda and case regarding our economic predicament positioned within a broader argument about the nature of American life. Such an agenda and such an argument are what the next Republican presidential contender will need too, and what conservatives will need in the meantime as we work to move America our way in a divided Washington in the aftermath of an election that has gone very poorly. That means that conservatives need what conservatism says societies always need: to be ourselves but better. When the smoke clears, I’m confident we will see that, and will comport ourselves accordingly in the political struggles of the next four years. If we do, and if we help voters understand that reasonably well, we can and will get a shot at fixing what the Left is now so badly getting wrong and at advancing our agenda for a while. We do have what this moment requires, and with the right mix of well-conceived policy and smart and savvy argument we can show American voters as much—whatever their ethnicity.
Whole thing here.