Lose a couple of elections and a senator and the even the muckety-mucks in a party will start publicly talking about change. Unfortunately, the Republicans are so married to some of their bad ideas that they are quite possible missing the boat. From SL&P:

[F]olks on the right often assert that the GOP is the only party truly committed to the principles of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

When I hear that claim, however, I wonder how it squares with modern Republican support for the death penalty (which ends life), and for long prison terms and drug prohibitions (which severely restrict both liberty and the pursuit of happiness).

I find vocal GOP support for the death penalty, mass incarceration and the drug war especially jarring when leading Republicans complain about big government, bureaucracy and excessive taxing and spending — all these problems find particular expression, especially at the state level, in the modern operation of the death penalty, mass incarceration and the drug war.

While not predicting changes in official party positions anytime soon, and especially noting the lack of any clamor for these conservative ideals, Berman’s onto something here. If we don’t make substantial progress in drug war reform during a down economy, it’ll be a long time coming.