The Bradley Symposium transcript is now available. Mitch Daniels (p.13):

You can be a silver-spoon, blue-blood, wind-surfing, coastal elitist, but if you wear the Democratic label you are presumed to be connected and empathetic and to understand the problems of everyday people – and vice versa.

Rich Lowry (p. 18):

despite all of his incredible political skills, [Ronald Reagan] wouldn’t have won election if it weren’t for inflation, if it weren’t for gas lines, if it weren’t for the reigning hostage crisis, if it weren’t for Afghanistan, if it weren’t for the entire litany of Carter administration failures. And when you are as far as Republicans were in the late 1970s, and as far down as they are today, you need the other side to fumble, and for its vision to be discredited. And at the moment, Barack Obama has the ball, and he is going to have the ball until he commits some sort of turnover.

Lowry (p. 21):

I became a conservative when I was a teenager. I found myself saying, well, there was this discredited incumbent who was in offi ce at a time of economic turmoil and economic crisis, and events abroad seemed to be out of control, and then this amazingly articulate and hopeful fi gure promising change came onto the stage. And at some point throughout this litany, I thought, oh, damn! (Laughter.) Because we have the exact opposite happening now.

Daniels (p. 22)

The Republican Party is a lot sicker patient, for the moment, than the views that have been associated with it. But we’ve got to repair the jalopy because that’s the vehicle these views can travel in.

A question from the audience (p. 24):

SANJEEV JOSHIPURA, U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee: Voting results over the recent past few elections show that well-educated people are turning away from the Republican Party. Why is that, and how do we reverse it?

Yuval Levin (p. 24):

there is no question that you want to be the smart party; you want to be the party that appeals to people who think of themselves as sophisticated political consumers. And for a while, now, Republicans have had a problem with that.

Daniels (p. 25):

there was an enthusiasm for President Obama last year that stemmed from a lot of miscellaneous sources. For a lot of upper-income people that I saw vote for him, it was a luxury purchase in the sense that he didn’t seem a threat economically; there was the history of it – the natural desire for change after a period of poor results; but quite honestly, it was a fashion statement to vote for him, for some people.

Daniels (p. 25):

Folks on either side, by the way, have thought about discarding one of the traditional parties, trying somehow to construct something new. It’s not very practical. The system tends to find an equilibrium, and it will again. If there is anything that today’s American of all ages insists on, it’s choice, lots of choices. And I think that they wouldn’t sit still for the extinction of one of the two that they have in this context.