Alas, too many of these "rebuilding" enterprises share a misguided focus that's also bound to be the seed of their own undoing: that is, an obsession with "winning elections."Shaidle (who blogs at Five Feet of Fury) somewhat inflates Schlafly's role in the '64 Goldwater movement -- which was built by Young Americans for Freedom, Cliff White, William Middendorf, Bill Buckley and many others -- although there is no doubt that "A Choice Not an Echo" was a major factor in galvanizing grassroots support. As to the larger point, Kathy's correct that the GOP in recent years has tended toward a top-down method of operation that drained enthusiasm from the grassroots.
NewMajority's slogan, for example, is "Building a conservatism that can win again."
But what good is "winning" if the "conservatism" that "wins" is faddish, unprincipled and unmoored from traditional American, Anglo-Saxon exceptionalism?
[B]ack in the early sixties, it was grassroots activist and housewife Phyllis Schlafly's self-published, million-selling anti-GOP Establishment book, A Choice Not An Echo, that led to Goldwater, who led to Reagan.
Not bad for a small-town mom running an accidental movement from her kitchen table, without email, the web -- or any support from Party bigshots.
Unless the "new GOP" is run bottom up, by the grass/net roots, it is doomed to fail.
(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)