Thomas Sowell nails it (as usual) in a column about “the Republican Civil War.”

After criticizing those in the party who have gone after Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin, he suggests that, rather than being embarrassed by those three, “those Republicans who put a high value on being accepted in elite circles should be embarrassed by the narrowness of their elite friends, who disdain or demonize people whose principles they disagree with, instead of answering their arguments.”

He then answers those who want to abandon Reagan:

There has even been an undercurrent among some Republicans of a sense that it is time to move away from the image of Ronald Reagan, to update the party and court newer and less embarrassing segments of the voters than their current base.

“There is certainly a lot to be said for inviting wider segments of the population to join you, by explaining how your principles benefit the country in general, and those segments in particular. But that is fundamentally different from abandoning your principles in hopes of attracting new votes with opportunism.

This is nothing new. When the “pragmatists” of thirty-five years ago (following the disastrous 1974 elections for Republicans) wanted to “broaden the base of the party” by doing exactly what Sowell says here — abandoning conservative principles in hopes of attracting new votes with opportunism — Ronald Reagan told us to raise “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.”

As you might recall, he did pretty well with that approach.

That is still the recipe for success.