Why do so few "conservative" candidates demonstrate the ability to succinctly and compelling articulate conservative principles ?
Answer by sdb
First, because very few people who really believe in conservative principles have much interest in being part of government to begin with. And second, because conservatives who are also articulate and succinct are almost certain to believe (accurately) that their talents will be better put to use (and far better rewarded financially) in the private sector.
Answer by Jim Chase
Perhaps because they have never been taught how. Consider the analogy of your average Christian. Many people consider themselves Christian, but falter when asked to offer an articulate defense of their faith. As inferred by TeamAmerica above, conservatives need to learn to be both doers and talkers (words and deeds) with regard to first principles.
Answer by TeamAmerica
Perhaps it's because we need more lawyers. Ben Stein once criticized Republicans for running candidates who were "clod-hopping entrepreneurs," in his words. In other words, Dems tend to run lawyers for office and they make a living by being verbally persuasive. Repubs run people who are more doers than talkers.
Answer by Joseph Eagar
Because the only way to become articulate on conservatism is to become a policy wonk, and the public hates most policy wonks. The famous example is Bill Clinton, and to a certain extent Newt Gingrich. Paul Ryan may develop into a Clinton figure eventually, as may Chris Christie. Reagan was very articulate, of course, though I don't know if he was a policy wonk.
Answer by Tom Lindholtz
"Any philosophy that can be 'put in a nutshell' belongs there." Conservative ideas tend to be more complex than liberal ideas.
Answer by whatmeworry
IMO policy needs to be informed by principle and maybe some conservative leaning politicians need to to their homework on why they believe as they do.
I shared some youtube videos of Margaret Thatcher in Prime Minister's Questions to my kids. I love the idea of real time give and take in this setting because the only way one can survive (as much as is possible) is to understand and articulate arguments based on the guiding principles of your political philosophy.
Come to think of it...this is one of my concerns with Romney. I'm not sure of his guiding principles...
Answer by Barfly
One of the most significant divides between left and right is the tendency of the one to work at objectively measurable pursuits, and the other to work at persuasive pursuits.
Answer by Bruce in Marin
Does the question imply that liberal candidates do possess the ability to succinctly and compellingly articulate their principles? They don't: they pander and demagogue. Our political culture is not such that principled argument generally rules the day. It occasionally happens that we have such a man... Lincoln, say. But mostly, elections are won by candidates who appeal to voters for reasons that are only partially connected to the principles, if any, that they stand on. When you find someone who is both a great candidate and a great statesman, well, that's a golden age there.