02/28/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Food for Thought for Next RNC Chairman

The Republican National Committee is on the verge of choosing a new leader that will be tasked with leading the party out of the political wilderness. This is a critical choice that the party must get right. In this case, the leader of the party will likely have a disproportionate impact on its fortunes going forward.

The problems it faces are fundamental and will continue if it chooses a leader who is committed, in nearly all circumstances, to the conservative principles of the past. Those principles, built upon a culture war political foundation, have run their course. A leader who insists on maintaining them, likely in a new-and-improved package, will oversee a party that continues its decline. The Party has to understand that its decline is about more than properly marketing its ideas or improving its technological deficiencies. It's about aligning itself with the national ideology. The country is in the middle. The Republicans are not.

The next leader of the Republican Party must go beyond words and make it a hospitable place for moderates and minorities. Given the demographic changes facing the country, the Party will continue to regionalize itself if it doesn't. According to Census Bureau projections, the United States will cease being a majority White country in the year 2042. The math should force the Party to reach out to minorities. Given what we know about minority voting trends, the Party will have to turn away from comprehensive conservatism to win their votes.

The Republican Party needs a leader who understands that the party has to ideologically remake itself if it wants to be relevant in the years ahead. Voters want cooperation and ideas that make sense to them, not the constant pressing of the political hot buttons for the sake of winning elections. That kind of politics has won elections for the Republicans, but has also helped degrade our political discourse. The country wants more. The new leader of the Republican Party must be brave enough to move the Party away from its old ways and to clothe itself in a new manner of thinking.