This is something that I’ve been wondering about for a while. Daniel Casse puts it together nicely. What happened to the Reagan coalition and how is it going to get put together? Or are we going to need to find a new one?
Casse comes down on "find a new one" and proposes Rudy:
But the extremism of [Paul Craig Robert’s] ideas—shared, alas, by a number of libertarians—shows the futility of hoping that the old alliance of tax-cutters, social conservatives, and foreign-policy hawks that formed the Reagan coalition will reunite behind a 2008 candidate.
In some sense, that is the sadness that I detected at CPAC. However, I would like to point out that new coalitions are formed in crisis. FDR put his coalition together with the Great Depression. Nixon in the racial tensions in the South. Reagan added to that with the "Reagan Democrats" who were unhappy with 20% inflation. And Bush with the response to 9/11. These new coalitions added to the base, as Casse notes:
Realignment meant not just redrawing the political map, but remaking the base of the party, attracting a confederation of conservatives who had never really identified with the Republican party.
Other people have tried to put together new coalitions, like Clinton with the suburbanites, but the Democrats rejected him, ultimately. It may that the GOP does not come out of this election with a new long-term coalition. New long-term coalitions involve reshuffling the deck and re-aligning the interests of some demographic with the party, not just a cult of personality (and I don’t mean this in a negative way about Giuliani). This is why it is unlikely that Giuliani represents a new coalition, a point that Casse sort of understands:
Yet so far, he has not delivered a personal vision of what the Republican party ought to embrace. His speeches have been full of anecdotes but lack the ideas that ought to guide Republicans and the conservative movement over the next ten years. I think voters are looking for just such an agenda, including those Democrats who can’t stomach the thought of pulling the lever for Hillary.
I would agree that conservatives want that. Thus the appeal of Newt, who is simply too flawed, in both his ideas and his person, to make that work.