For some time now Republicans have assumed that the key to winning over the blue states is to sell them on conservative economic policies and to run away from a conservative social and ethical agenda.
Clearly that plan isn't working.
The success of Proposition 8 in massive Blue State California should finally indicate to Republicans that the key to success in Blue States is not CONSERVATIVE ECONOMICS but CONSERVATIVE ETHICS. If you look at the ballot measures, the people in Blue States voted for socialist politicians but conservative ethical and social positions. Sure, there is a liberal white intelligentsia in all the cities, but they are only a tiny proportion of the voting bloc.
I live in a city, and from what I've read and heard the average minority or lower income voter here is very comfortable with soak the rich, socialist economic policies, and views them as something of a necessity. However, when you ask them about Abortion and the Homosexual Agenda, they are against both. I had more than one conversation where Democrats I was speaking to simply didn't believe that Obama was pro-Abortion and Pro-Gay entitlements. One person actually said to me "If that was true you know that McCain would be all over it." The fact is it was true, but McCain was scared silly of addressing it. Simply put, most voters even in California are also disgusted by "Heather has Two Mommies" and unrestricted abortion but Republicans have determined they aren't going to run on that ticket. As a result they not only failed to win the Blue States, they are driving their base towards Conservative third parties. Here in NC enough conservatives voted for Barr to actually have made a difference. This state would have been a shoe-in had McCain run on a strong Conservative ethical platform. Simply put, Repubs have a "we don't want to campaign on the social issues agenda."
Why is that?
Well having also worked in DC, I believe our biggest problem is that the current batch of Republican leaders generally agree with the liberal white intelligentsia on the social issues and view conservative Christians as, at best, useful idiots, so they too are loathe to employ a winning social agenda. As long as we have them calling the tune for the party, we can look forward to an increasingly disgruntled base and never actually winning the blue states.
Guys, Olympia Snow just isn't the paradigm for Republican victory - Proposition 8 is.