In what has become a common trope among respectable right-wingers, Ramesh Ponnuru joins David Frum in blaming (at least partially) libertarian thinking for corrupting the modern GOP–specifically, by claiming that believing "big government" thinking has been an electoral problem for the GOP is causing the GOP to think shrinking government matters more than it does. (Rather, he believes it has been radical intransigence and not addressing wage stagnation that hurt Republicans' electoral prospects in recent years.)
Daniel McCarthy at American Conservative counters and sums up some sad realities about what the modern Republican Party does stand for.
Wage stagnation is a long-term problem, but there's little evidence that it contributed to the GOP's defeat in 2006; certainly Ponnuru provides none. It sounds like a device to minimize the role foreign policy played in the GOP's descent. The Ponnuru line is that Republicans should do more of what he likes — bribing the middle class with dubious social programs like Medicare Part D or mandatory retirement savings programs (a great handout to Wall Street) — while ignoring the uncomfortable truth that a war Ponnuru supported cost his party dearly….
It certainly is a myth that Republicans lost in 2006 or 2008 because they were too big government, but small-government ideology, which was neither preached nor practiced then, can hardly be blamed either….
The truth that hardly gets spoken is that certain Republican pundits who consider themselves social conservatives have a vision for this country that amounts to a hybrid of European-style Christian Democracy and Chilean semi-privatization of the welfare state, along with a values-hyping foreign policy delegated to outright neoconservatives and a managerial-therapeutic approach to the poor. The Bush administration, especially in its first term, was the closest these pundits ever came to getting what they want. And it was a strategic, fiscal, and moral disaster for the country.
Me from 2004 on why the right-wing matters less than it thinks.