Tuesday, May 01, 2007


A GOP Prescription?

Ross Douthat uses David Brooks' Sunday NYT column (behind the Times Select wall) to suggest some Republican policy options.

He then responds to Jonah Goldberg's assessment of Brooks:
I think this is largely right as analysis, and it's precisely why the Right is in such difficulties. Reaganism ran out of steam in the late 1990s: It had succeeded on many fronts, been co-opted by the Democrats on others, and run up against a wall of pro-welfare state public opinion on still others. "Compassionate conservatism" was an attempt to address the new political landscape by promising to reform government in a conservative direction, rather than simply slashing it to the bone; it was a terrible slogan, to my mind, but the underlying idea was basically a good one. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration was a disaster on a variety of fronts, and even though the substance of compassionate conservatism was arguably the least of the Administration's problems, Bush's deviations from small-government principle have provided a convenient scapegoat for conservatives looking to explain what's gone wrong in the last six years without addressing, say, why the public rejected Social Security reform or why Iraq has been such a disaster.

As a result, conservatives who think the movement needs to adapt to a post-Reaganite landscape, rather than hunkering down and getting back to basics, are deemed to have been discredited by George W. Bush, and the prevailing attitude on the right is that the way out of the current mess is to commit the GOP to a platform of cutting government waste, extending Bush's tax cuts, and talking really, really tough about the war on terror and Iran. The result is that the Right is back where it was in the late 1990s, headed toward what Chris Caldwell has termed "Southern captivity", and convinced that going in this direction constitutes a change for the better.
There's a sense is that this is the spark for a lengthy discussion of what conservatism/ Republicanism will be/should be in the post-Bush era.

However, as The Washington Post notes today, on the contentious issue of the day -- Iraq -- it may surprise many, but Bush's base remains with him. Any GOP candidate running (or planning to do so) in 2008 must deal with the fact that the Iraq War remains popular among Republicans -- even as it has fallen out of favor with Democrats and, especially, independents.

That dichotomy is going to make for an interesting -- though frustrating -- debate in the coming months and years.

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Web raggedthots.blogspot.com
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Technorati search
Search Now:
Amazon Logo
  •  RSS
  • Add to My AOL
  • Powered by FeedBurner
  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  • Subscribe in Bloglines
  • Share on Facebook