I have been a libertarian/conservative all of my adult life, and I have observed the evolution of both the major parties, and the country for that matter, for many years. I have witnessed a shift to the left by both the Democrat and Republican parties that started in the 60's. Although the Republican party has resisted this shift much longer than the Democrat party, in the last decade or so, many Republican politicians have embraced ideas once only belonging to the left.
I believe this move to the left by the Republican party is a result of politicians ( wrongly I believe ), perception of the public at large desiring leftist policies from their government. It is my contention that the media is to blame for this misconception. News reporting on all levels has been slanted to the left for decades. A lie repeated long enough, and for enough times becomes fact, and even some other wise seemingly intelligent people accept it.
What everyone seems to be missing, including the Republican party, is that most Americans run their own lives in a conservative manner. Most are good moral, responsible people, and are among the most generous in the world when it comes to charity. The left, led by the media, have made many otherwise conservative people feel guilty for any conservative values that they may hold. Conservatives have been labeled mean, selfish, racists who want a theocracy instead of a democratic republic which was what America is supposed to be. Nothing could be farther from the truth, but truth isn't important to the left. Only if it serves their end.
As a result of the demonizing of conservatism, what is known as the "compassionate conservative" emerges on the scene. Conservatives who have bought into the lies of the left, have embraced liberal/leftist methods to conservative ends, hoping to garner favor from the leftist media, and acceptance from an American people they have thoroughly miss judged. They have left the public with the choice between a liberal, and a watered down version of the same thing, with predictable results. The left doesn't reach across the aisle. The left doesn't compromise. We should learn from the method of their success, but not emulate their ideology.
The Republican party has lost it's identity because it has allowed the left redefine it. Until the Republican party finds it's conservative roots,articulates the conservative message to the American people, and takes on the left issue by issue instead of compromising and "reaching across the aisle" in the name of being reasonable, it will continue to lose election after election. The Republican party need not be afraid to give the American people a true conservative choice on the ballot. Ronald Reagan was the last conservative Republican president we had and he was one of the most popular presidents in recent memory,, by people of both parties. With the right candidate, this can be achieved again.