These are the voters torn between their distrust for government and their desire for economic security – and they’re the people the GOP needs to find a new way to reach, and fast. ~Ross Douthat

This sounds familiar, and it also makes a good deal of sense.  As I have said before:

So-called “lower-middle reformism” is a necessary element for GOP success–it may not be a sufficient element. 

The numbers Ross offers in his post are fairly jaw-dropping.  The shifts of “lower-middle” voters towards the Dems that took place between 2004 and 2006 are large and impressive.  A party dedicated to at least some mild economic populism, anti-imperialism and social conservatism would very probably thrive in this atmosphere.  Having largely ceded the first two to the Democrats by default (thus ensuring that the Democrats need not deliver in either area), Republicans are flirting with the idea of throwing the third out as well in the strange view that their adoption of a pose of Santorumesque far-sightedness and “leadership” (a.k.a., ignoring your consituents) and the embrace of deeply unpopular policies are the secrets to electoral victory.  After all, it worked so well for Santorum, why not duplicate his strategy on a national level?