The party's goal should be to build a coalition based on an overarching goal of reducing the number of abortions rather than wasting breath yammering about abstinence and opposing sex education for teens.
•Sounding sensible, not strident. The problem with the tea party rhetoric is that it sounds like the ravings of a crazy old uncle who really ought to be locked in the attic. The vast majority of California voters are moderate, independent-minded, practical people. They don't much care if an idea comes from a Democrat or a Republican. They care if it works.
They're not against government; they want just enough of it to handle the important things. They're not opposed to all taxes; they're opposed to taxes that seem unfair, onerous or overly broad. They want to control the borders, but they also want to be fair to people who have worked hard to make a living, no matter where they come from.
They're not pro-abortion, but they want women and their doctors — not Assembly members and state senators — to make choices about the life and death of fetuses.
California voters are tired of people running for office who sound as if they think they know everything and whose answers are purely ideological.
The Republicans need to have a hard head. But they also need to demonstrate a soft heart. And maybe a touch of humility.
Phil Trounstine and Jerry Roberts write regularly about politics at their website, calbuzz.com. This article was adapted from one of their posts.