A former aide in the Republican White House said last night that despite the last election, conservatism still has a deep reserve of support within the minds of American voters.
James Pinkerton, the deputy assistant for Policy Planning in the Bush administration, discussed the diminishing Republican party last night at the Kennedy School of Government with an audience of 35.
In a speech titled "Reagan, Bush & Aristotle," Pinkerton, who also served as a counselor for the Bush-Quayle campaign, focused on what he said was overwhelming conservatism in society.
"I'm pretty confident that the potential pool out there is enormous," Pinkerton said. "There are as many people who think like us but don't vote for us as there are who think and vote for us. There is a floating group out there."
During the Republican presidencies, Pinkerton said, Reagan and Bush alienated a large sector of the conservative population, which he estimated to be 80 percent.
"Reagan failed to change the federal government and now we're left in the rubble with 12 years of Republican presidency," he said. "Reagan was content to make enemies with anyone whom he thought was to the left of what he believed."
Pinkerton defined the conservative population as baby boomers who are "just common sense people."
"They are just in the tradition of Aristotle, that you take life as it is," he said.
As a result of the dominating conservative force in the face of a dwindling Republican party, Pinkerton said, a third party has great potential to emerge.
"If you think of the 80 percent of conservatism out there and the 30 or 35 percent of Republicans we're getting now, it almost seems like we have a whole new second Republican party out there," he said. "I'd like to say that would come from my 80 percent."
Pinkerton also suggested ways to attract more conservatives to the ranks of the Republican party and the sectors of the population that should be targeted, including Blacks, feminists, and the young. "You won't be getting their votes by having coffee talks," Pinkerton said