It's not so simple as to say "the conservative will always win" or "the moderate will always win." I think one can make a good case that those elections could have been won by more experienced and professional candidates. That might have been the incumbent (Lugar) or the heir apparent (Castle) or some more conservative candidate who was smarter and more savvy than Mourdock or Akin or O'Donnell.
Put history in perspective. Since Gerald Ford, all moderate Republican nominees have lost Presidential elections.
So that means what? Ford, Dole, McCain, Romney (though I suspect if Dole had won -- or maybe if any of them had won and done a decent job they'd be seen as honorary conservatives by now). And in the other column is Reagan. And the Bushes? Moderates or conservatives?
Let's try it a different way. In the last twenty years only one Republican has been elected President, G.W. Bush. According to the accepted statistics Republicans won a majority -- or even a plurality -- of the popular vote only once, in 2004. That suggests that any Republican, including a conservative one would probably have trouble winning in the current environment.
Okay, so Perot threw the first election to the Democrats, but lately it doesn't look like there's a hidden conservative majority out there just waiting for the most conservative candidate. Of course, if things do take a turn towards the Republicans a more conservative candidate could be elected. But it might not be because a majority was waiting for a true conservative, but rather because the whole country was so sick of the Democrats, that it would sweep a conservative candidate who otherwise wouldn't have been elected into office.
As for Castle and Lugar, while I concede they likely would have won their respective elections, what if they would have won? Would they have supported a Conservative agenda or would they have acted more like the Maine twins?
That's the big question. There are a few -- very few high-profile party swappers, like James Jeffords. Nowadays Senators usually vote with the party on the important votes. You have their vote in the all-important organizational vote at the beginning and on something like Obamacare, you get all Republicans voting together.
Lugar generally scored in the 60s or 70s in the ACU ratings. Compared to my Senators and Representatives that's actually not bad. Castle's ratings were worse. You would have had a good case to replace him with another candidate, but please, somebody who knew what they were doing.
I'm impatient with those Republicans who after the last election rushed into print saying, We must broaden the base of our party when what they meant was to fuzz up and blur even more the differences between ourselves and our opponents.
Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?
Let our banner proclaim our belief in a free market as the greatest provider for the people.
Let us explore ways to ward off socialism, not by increasing governments coercive power, but by increasing participation by the people in the ownership of our industrial machine.
It is time to reassert our principles and raise them to full view. And if there are those who cannot subscribe to these principles, then let them go their way.