Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Fear And Self-Examination On The Right
The American Spectator's James Antle III reports from this weekend's National Review Institute Conservative Summit:|
[T]he right's domestic policy project isn't looking that much more vibrant. Perennial Republican issues like crime control and opposition to higher taxes failed to deliver as they once did not only in reddish states like Virginia but also such Democratic bastions as Maryland and Massachusetts. Here it is the success of conservative policies rather than perceived failures that have brought the GOP to the point of diminishing returns. Once you have cut taxes and lowered crime rates, there isn't as much mileage in campaigning on promises to do so once again.Hmmmm...connecting ideology to how people actually live in society. What a thought.
A more promising strategy might be to shape right-of-center policies that offer creative solutions to problems that vex large numbers of voters. The Reagan tax cuts and welfare reform, to cite just two examples, weren't popular just because they conformed to conservative ideology. They were popular because they were seen as addressing pressing national problems. The failure to think along these lines, Ramesh Ponnuru argues in the current National Review, has caused the conservative program to become "oddly detached from American life."
It isn't easy for a divided movement to react to sudden shifts in the political terrain, especially when conservatives were allowing themselves to dream of a near-permanent Republican majority just three years ago. But the prospect of another Clinton presidency is a pretty good reason for the right to give it a try.