http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/the-republican-partys-time-to-choose-86193.html The Republican Party's time to choose By: Joe Scarborough History casts an unforgiving eye on political parties that donât adapt to changing times. The Whig Party collapsed in the 1850s because it didnât move together against slavery. Republicans spent 20 years in the wilderness after Herbert Hoover took the blame for the Great Depression. Democrats were routed in five out of six presidential elections following the radicalization of their base in 1968. And todayâs GOP lost the popular vote in five of their last six runs for the White House, in part, because they couldnât keep pace with the rapid change in demographic realities. Republicans will continue their dreadful collapse unless they adopt William F. Buckleyâs view that âconservatism, except when it is expressed in pure idealism, takes into account reality.â Had GOP voters followed Buckleyâs advice to vote for the most electable conservative instead of the most extreme right-wing choice, Harry Reid would be in retirement and a Republican would be Senate majority leader. For the GOP to win again, it must embrace Buckleyâs ruthless, pragmatic approach to primary elections and once again vote for candidates who can win sweeping majorities. That means they must also stop electing idiots in primaries who are little more than ideological indulgences that only advance the Democratsâ cause. WFB never forgot that beating liberal Democrats sometimes requires voting for moderate Republicans. The winds of history have blown Barack Obamaâs way of late not because of some irreversible sociological trend but because supporters of Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Christine OâDonnell and Sharron Angle voted to indulge their Republican resentments instead of electing a candidate who could win in the fall. Supporting this pragmatic approach has not come naturally to me. I remember speaking out against Colin Powellâs possible candidacy in 1996 because he was too moderate to be the standard-bearer of my Republican Party. But watching the retired general on âMeet the Pressâ last weekend made me understand why Ronald Reagan and George Bush drafted him to be a critical player in their White House teams. Today, this war hero with historic accomplishments (the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state) should still be one of the leading voices of my of Republican Party, especially since it faces demographic trends that could spell its doom. Instead, General Powell is a Republican relic from a different age â little more than a reminder of a majority party that once beat Democrats in landslide elections every four years. Republicans could kick General Powell around for the next four years or they could get smart and start celebrating the fact this commanding figure still identifies himself as a Republican. Then they should do everything possible to drag him back into a big GOP tent. Unfortunately, the Republican Party of 2013 bears little resemblance to the party of Ronald Reagan, who would have responded to Powellâs concerns with an all-hands-on-deck effort to win the war hero back. Thatâs because President Reagan lived by the belief that âjust because Iâm your friend 80 percent of the time doesnât make me your enemy 20 percent of the time.â If the Republican Party is big enough to reach out to disaffected moderates like Colin Powell, then it is big enough to win the White House back in 2016. The question is whether the GOP will choose to go the way of William F. Buckley or Todd Akin. The partyâs survival depends on that choice. A guest columnist for POLITICO, Joe Scarborough hosts âMorning Joeâ on MSNBC and represented Floridaâs 1st Congressional District in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001.