God save us from those who would give us good advice

Althouse asks, "So do the Republicans need any actual ideas...
... or should they just shut up and take advantage of the way we're terrified of the Democrats?" and links to this piece in the Washington Post:
"The smart political approach would be to make the election about the Democrats," said Neil Newhouse of the powerhouse Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, which is advising more than 50 House and Senate candidates. "In terms of our individual campaigns, I don't think it does a great deal of good" to engage in a debate over the Republicans' own agenda.
This is exactly the kind of thing that would absolutely destroy the Republican Party should it happen. If the GOP is to have any chance of becoming an intellectually honest, principled opposition -- as opposed to a crass, anti-intellectual pack of knee-jerk nay-sayers -- the party must win this election on the merits of Republican policy ideas alone. If the GOP is rewarded for its simple intransigence, it will sink back into the intellectual swamp of the late Bush years -- it will remain a party of no ideas, of craven political cowardice, and beholden to a narrow range of corporate interests while paying lip service to the independent libertarians (you can read that as Tea Partiers if you will) who, as swing voters, put the party into power. A GOP victory that puts ideas a distant second to bashing Democrats will be a GOP victory that forsakes both the Tea Party and its libertarian constituency and sinks back into the easy role of the political lout.

That's why the difference between Paul Ryan and Ron Johnson is so important. Because it's easy to pose as someone who champions the Tea Party interests, but who coasts into power by throwing just enough red meat to all of the Bush constituencies to squeak out what would be a totally undeserved victory in a normal election cycle. And that's the kind of candidate who will bring less than nothing to the table -- because he will be too politically fragile to take any stand on any issue, beyond "Obama said it, so we don't like it." We may just as well elect Glenn Beck.