August 08, 2004

Finally, a Plan for the Grownup Republicans!

Reihan has a plan for the grownup Republicans to take back their party:

danieldrezner.com :: Daniel W. Drezner :: AVAST, YE SCURVY BILGE RATS!: The GOP badly needs centrist infiltrators who will shift the party back to the “wouldn’t-be-prudent” prudence of George H.W.—if you’ll recall, 41 proposed solutions to the health care crisis that made George W.’s narrow focus on association health plans and medical savings accounts look like the joke it is. (Clark is almost certainly not a centrist, but you catch my drift.) We can beat some sense into the Republican Party now—by hoping Bush loses to the hilariously mediocre John Kerry and getting behind Rudolph Giuliani in manic Deaniac fashion before 2008—or later, when President Patrick Kennedy (heaven forfend) is reelected to his third term in a landslide.

The Third Way is it. Game over. Drowning government in a bathtub simply will not happen. The Republican Party is going to be ripe for takeover, and thoughtful centrists should think about playing pirate.

For this to work, however, several things have to happen this fall:

  1. George W. Bush has to lose.
  2. George W. Bush has to lose convincingly enough that no sane Republican is tempted to ever again try the strategy of wave-the-bloody-WTC and gay-bash your way to a narrow electoral vote victory.
  3. Enough Republican House members who thought their seats were safe have to lose to put some fear into the rest.
  4. George W. Bush's defeat has to be laid substantially at the feet of policy incompetence--excessive political calculation plus ideological blinders--so that future Republican policy advisors will be drawn not from True Believers but from pragmatists fearful of government hubris and overreach.

I will be eager to join Reihan in his push to accomplish (4) after the election, but I expect him to do his part to make (1), (2), and (3) come to pass in the next three months. The stakes are large: whether the Republican Party is to become something no longer shameful, in part.

Posted by DeLong at August 8, 2004 10:18 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post
Comments

Is anyone going to call him on this gross mischaracterization of the Democrats?

"The income tax burden will be shifted off of the median voter and onto the very affluent. The costs of generous new subsidies for the middle class, or rather working families, will thus be borne by a small minority likely to become more unpopular over time. If the subsidies take the form of Jacob Hacker’s “universal insurance” (which I hope to revisit) or the family subsidies proposed by Elizabeth Warren and Anne L. Alstott, among others, the costs are likely to be very, very high. Because a serious commitment to “the underclass”—which to my mind would involve an income strategy, but also a sustained effort to address deeply-rooted cultural pathologies (“What the hell can the government do about that?” is a fair question)—ain’t exactly a big vote-winner, it’s easy to see this getting shunted to the side. This rather cynical approach to domestic issues (definitely an improvement in some respects over the Bush approach, thought that’s another matter) will be coupled with an approach to global trade I like to call “polysyllabic protectionism.” The amazingly sharp Barack Obama is its most skillful practitioner. Basically, it combines soaring rhetoric on democratizing the global economy and helping poor nations with tariffs or onerous non-tariff barriers."

To take just the last example, how can he claim that Obama is advocating protectionism? Sure, he had some rhetoric in his speech about shipping jobs overseas, but there are many explainations for that. It could have been included because he wants a strong job policy program here at home, because the Shrums of the Kerry Campaign wanted it, because Kerry himself wanted it, or because it fits well with one theme of Kerry's campaign, which is to end the incentive (which sounds like protectionism but really restores market imperitives and enhances free trade - no, really, it does: http://slate.msn.com/id/2099016) But whatever the case, he's not for protectionism.

I will admit, at one point, I thought Obama had some protectionist leanings. Then I read this piece - http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040531fa_fact1 - from The New Yorker. Take a look at these paragraphs:

He mostly told the union men what they wanted to hear. Then he said, “There’s nobody in this room who doesn’t believe in free trade,” which provoked a small recoil. These men were ardent protectionists. A little later, he said, with conviction, “I want India and China to succeed”—a sentiment not much heard in the outsourcing-battered heartland. He went on, however, to criticize Washington and Wall Street for not looking after American workers.

Later, I asked him if he wasn’t waving a red flag in front of labor by talking about free trade. “Look, those guys are all wearing Nike shoes and buying Pioneer stereos,” he said. “They don’t want the borders closed. They just don’t want their communities destroyed.”

His words about Nike shoes and so forth are some of the best that I have ever heard. They rival Aaron Sorkin's dialogue about free trade from "The West Wing": that it "raises income, lowers prices," and "stops wars."

Anyone else think he's awfully mistaken?

Posted by: Brian on August 8, 2004 10:59 PM

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Brian, that is a very good post. I wish all Democrats were as clear and courageous as Obama on that point.

I think is more than a matter of "Grown Up Republicans taking over" though. It seems to me that there is a real and serious lack of consensus regarding the social vision that the US should adopt. And that won't go away even if grown up Republican can take over for awhile. There are many people (including many smart, very industrious, very sincere, and influential academics and policy entrepreneurs and masses of the middle an upper classes) who have a social vision and economic theories that Prof. D would regard as not grown up. And that force will not go away quickly.

I remember hearing debates between visiting professors from Europe in college. There seemed to be more of consensus on basic facts. I remember heated debates between "right-wing" and lefty Swedes when they were trying to reform their welfare state. They seemed to be able to agree on basic facts (such as what a change in tax structure would do) more than we can in the US. Do people think this a fair statement?

Why can Sweden and Canada produce sensible social security reforms while we are stuck between the dangerous alternatives of doing nothing and trying out wild poorly thought out schemes?

I remember a world famous economic theorist -Werner Hildebrand I think, saying after a lecture that the US had the best theoretical economists in the world. But that they weren't very good at practical things. Other countries had better practical economists who could compromise and find agreement on policy. Is that one source of the problem? I remember a foreign student agreeing saying that factions in economics and political science were almost like religions in the US -too many true believers in their own schools of thought.

Posted by: jml on August 8, 2004 11:42 PM

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This Reihan fantasy (and that's what it is, as prurient as Humbert Humbert's Lolita) reminds
me of that Ivy League MBA joke.

Every new Harvard MBA is given three hand-written engraved envelopes when they graduate.

When they have their first management crisis, they open the first envelope: "Do a study".

When they have their second crisis, they open the second envelope: "Reorganize the division."

When they have their third crisis, they open the third envelope: "Write out three new envelopes."

1) George W. Bush must lose. Ain't gonna happen.
2) Failing that, Congress has to swing Democrat.
3) Failing that, write out three new scenarios.

"He was a lovely human being. A man of complete integrity....(Humbert touches a black vase beneath the picture, not realizing that it is Mr. Haze's cremation urn.)...Those are his ashes." Humbert recoils his hand away...."

Posted by: Tante Aime on August 9, 2004 12:55 AM

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Bush is really secondary at this point. If the Republican party wants to reform, moderates should do their best to see DeLay removed for ethics violations. Until that happens, the weirdness and the crony capitalism of the Texas Republican Party will be leading the national party.

Posted by: Rob on August 9, 2004 05:07 AM

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Uh- the right wing GOP is nothing without the corporate dollars that keep them afloat. It is the corporations that must come to the conclusion that throwing money at the GOP right wing is a bad idea. That is unlikely to happen soon given the propensity of several uber-wealthy right wing nut cases to keep funding them

Posted by: bakho on August 9, 2004 06:20 AM

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Is it being "grown up", to still believe in fairy tales?

Posted by: Patrick R. Sullivan on August 9, 2004 06:45 AM

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What Kerry Advisors are thinking
This is a continuation of my efforts to show my Republican pals what the Democrat intelligentsia is thinking so we can A- incorporate any good ideas they might have and B - defeat them in debate and ultimately, the election.

They admit that kerry is "hilariously mediocre" while they continue to misunderstand and lie about W's policy successes which, I remind you, are;

1 - The "tax cut for the rich" is exactly the right kind of tax cut to goose the economy in the short term and increase the slope of the economic growth curve and job creation in the long term.

2 - President Bush has created two nascent democracies in the middle east where there were terrorist supporting dictatorial regimes. No democrat would ever have the nerve and balls to make such an undertaking although they now say it is a good idea but they would have done better by being more "sensitive."

3 - Bush, Ascroft, Rumsfeld and Ridge should be honored for protecting America so well that there have been no more successful attacks on America since 9/11. Does any thinking individual believe Gore et al could have managed that superhuman feat?

http://pep.typepad.com/public_enquiry_project/2004/08/what_kerry_advi.html

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on August 9, 2004 06:57 AM

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What Kerry Advisors are thinking...

This is a continuation of my efforts to show my Republican pals what the Democrat intelligentsia is thinking so we can A- incorporate any good ideas they might have and B - defeat them in debate and ultimately, the election.

They admit that kerry is "hilariously mediocre" while they continue to misunderstand and lie about W's policy successes which, I remind you, are;

1 - The "tax cut for the rich" is exactly the right kind of tax cut to goose the economy in the short term and increase the slope of the economic growth curve and job creation in the long term.

2 - President Bush has created two nascent democracies in the middle east where there were terrorist supporting dictatorial regimes. No democrat would ever have the nerve and balls to make such an undertaking although they now say it is a good idea but they would have done better by being more "sensitive."

3 - Bush, Ascroft, Rumsfeld and Ridge should be honored for protecting America so well that there have been no more successful attacks on America since 9/11. Does any thinking individual believe Gore et al could have managed that superhuman feat?...

http://pep.typepad.com/public_enquiry_project/2004/08/what_kerry_advi.html

Posted by: Adrian Spidle on August 9, 2004 06:59 AM

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Wow, 0 for 3. At least you're consistent.

Posted by: Barry on August 9, 2004 07:06 AM

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My sense is that Republicans might well be content to go back to the out-of-power, opposition party role where their half-baked ideas do not have to be tested on the world stage.

Posted by: Bob H on August 9, 2004 07:43 AM

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Adrian, crawl back in your hole. And don't double-post.

Posted by: zizka / John Emerson on August 9, 2004 07:46 AM

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"...superhuman feat..."

Talk about lowering the bar. Even the gods and other supernaturals must trim their sails to meet our new lower standards.

I hear Colin Powell will not make an appearance at the GOP convention. Seems the time is ripe for Republican factions to begin placing blame and positioning themselves for the Pres. Kerry era.

Maybe even without items 2 & 3 we'll achieve most of the changes needed to reform the Republicans, if the *perceived* loss is big enough.
The less religious money centered "grownups" might decide to work with their partisan opposites if the cultural elites (the Boss et al) continue to shame and shun them. What's the use of all that money if it doesn't buy them some prestige among the intellectual and cultural heavyweights?

Posted by: dennisS on August 9, 2004 07:47 AM

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"They seemed to be able to agree on basic facts (such as what a change in tax structure would do) more than we can in the US. Do people think this a fair statement?"

I don't know for sure, but I imagine that there is, in a lot of other places, and even in place many places outside the White House, where disagreement and serious policy discussion and other things are the norm.

"Why can Sweden and Canada produce sensible social security reforms while we are stuck between the dangerous alternatives of doing nothing and trying out wild poorly thought out schemes?"

Because we are controlled by a party that has some very scary tax cut orthodoxy running through its veins. Look at what happened to Arlen Specter, who faced a $2 million primary challenge by the Club for Growth, or Olympia Snowe, who had the same organization run attack ads on her because she was publicly upset at the president's irresponsible fiscal policy. And they were Republicans! It's difficult to get anything done when you see the world only through a certain point of view.


Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 07:52 AM

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"Is it being "grown up", to still believe in fairy tales?"

To whom was that snarky commented directed?

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 07:54 AM

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Correction: "...comment..."

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 07:55 AM

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"I hear Colin Powell will not make an appearance at the GOP convention. Seems the time is ripe for Republican factions to begin placing blame and positioning themselves for the Pres. Kerry era."

I don't think cabinet secretaries usually speak at the conventions.

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 07:57 AM

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The Republican Party that I remember is gone. In it's place is an organization that espouses rabid anti abortion positions; anti environmental policies; tax cuts as the only method of fiscal policy; ever more intrusive privacy infringement; and virtually no regulations whatsoever on handguns. I could go on, but why bother.

Former moderate Republicans like me have been marginalized so badly that the only way to get their attention will be to vote a straight Democratic ticket this November. If a party inhabited by people like Mr. Spidle wins this year, so be it. I'll keep my mouth shut, and move on. BUT, if Republicans lose across the board, then I think it will be a clear signal that the wacko side of the Party will have been clearly repudiated.

Posted by: weinerdog43 on August 9, 2004 08:24 AM

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Brian, that's true, but Colin has the sort of face that the GOP likes to put front-and-center at conventions. If you get my drift.

Posted by: Barry on August 9, 2004 08:50 AM

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A few comments:

1) The GOP is effectively the union of corporate money and assorted groups of True Believers - be it in fundamentalist Christianity, shrinking government to where it can be drowned in the bathtub, or whatever.

So the handful of remaining 'grownup Republicans' are better advised to start their own party, because the likelihood that centrist Republicans will have enough numbers and/or influence in the next couple of decades to reform their party is essentially zero.

IMHO, the only thing that's keeping GOP support above 40% this year is the media tilt in their direction. (If GWB's 'tribal sovereignty' moment the other day was getting one-fifth the media play that either Dean's 'scream' or Teresa's 'shove it' did, he'd have the high public regard that Jimmy Carter did after the 'killer rabbit' encounter. IOW, he'd be laughed out of office.)

2) What the Dems need is to propose a social contract of sorts: free trade if and only if the benefits of free trade are widely distributed throughout our society.

This would be done by shifting the tax burden back on the rich, and using those taxes to pay for the things we all need - a sound health care system, more public money to pay for college and even out K-12 funding disparities, and so forth.

The Dems could call it a Fair Deal, or a Square Deal, or something like that.

Free trade is the only way to go, in terms of 'growing the economy'. The problem for the Dems is, giving in on free trade leaves us no more cards to play. So the deal has to be the makings of an equitable society, in return for free trade.

3) Adrian Spidle is amusing:

"1 - The "tax cut for the rich" is exactly the right kind of tax cut to goose the economy in the short term and increase the slope of the economic growth curve and job creation in the long term."

And they say alternate realities don't exist.

"2 - President Bush has created two nascent democracies in the middle east where there were terrorist supporting dictatorial regimes. No democrat would ever have the nerve and balls to make such an undertaking although they now say it is a good idea but they would have done better by being more "sensitive." "

This must be some new meaning of "nascent democracies" that I hadn't previously been familiar with. One of those 'nascent democracies' is mostly run by warlords, and produces 75% of the world's opium supply. The other is nominally run by a Saddam-lite-style strongman (see DeLong's post entitled *SIGH*) but effective control of much of the land resides in local militias, and many of those localities are essentially Islamic dictatorships.

I think Spidle has confused 'nascent democracies' with 'failed states'.

"3 - Bush, Ascroft, Rumsfeld and Ridge should be honored for protecting America so well that there have been no more successful attacks on America since 9/11. Does any thinking individual believe Gore et al could have managed that superhuman feat?..."

This seems like a good place to point out that after the WTC bombing in early 1993, no more successful terrorist attacks took place in the United States for the remaining 7 years, 10 months of the Clinton Administration. So apparently they already did manage that superhuman feat. More than twice, in fact. (94 months for Clinton-Gore v. 35 months for BushCo.)

Posted by: RT on August 9, 2004 08:51 AM

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Me? i think if bush loses (and it's kerry's to win at this point, which doesn't guarantee anything, of course), we will see a republican struggle between honest conservatives (and moderates) and the right-wing thugs who currently dominate GOP discourse that will last for quite a few years.

Posted by: howard on August 9, 2004 09:06 AM

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The Republican "grown-ups", aka "moderates", left their Party a while back and took over the Democratic Party -- which is now the Party of Moderate Republicanism. Compare John Anderson's 1980 platform to the Dems of today and get a micrometer to measure the differences. Dan Drezner and the like are upset because they fit into the Democrats' corporate flank very nicely but feel uncomfortable cozying up to the working class. But they don't like the cultural conservatives in the GOP, either. Poor boys!

Why not start their own party? They could call it Sensible Cosmopolitan Elites for a Technocratic Future.

Posted by: General Glut on August 9, 2004 09:07 AM

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Why, the passivity on the part of the Democratics.
There is are obvious fissures forming within the Republican party that could be spilt wide open with an intelligent/aggressive campain.

1). Use quotes of the few remaining Republican grown-ups against the wing-nuts/Neo-Conservatives. Dick Lugar alone could provide a number of these on Iraq & North Korea. Simply dig up recent harsh criticisms he has made of the Administrations to hometown papers like the Indianapolis Star. Lots of Taft/Eisenhower are on the fence on Bush, go after them.

2). Take the gloves off. Rove is obviously going to take the low road with "Swift Boats Veterns for Truth. You can't tell me that the Press is not sitting on the truth concerning Bush going AWOL from the Texas National Guard. Perhaps Big Media is protecting Bush, but I suspect it is more a case like Strom Thurman's black illegitimate child. The Thurman's womanizing stories were legend and would have easily been confirmed with a little gutsy reporting. My hunch is most of the press knows the truth, but are both lacking the moral courage and judgement to confirm the rumors. What are the Democrats waiting for, Larry Flynt to do the dirty work and save their ass like he did in 1998? Unmasking Bush as unfit for flight duty/AWOL status would shatter the Republican's lock on the Military/Veteran vote. Force the press take a stand on Bush's refusal to release his fitness for duty documents that have never been examined.

3). Spilt the Republican Libertarian / Social Moderate/ vote. Don't just count on Howard Stern to do the job for you. Not only quote the most extreme Right Wing congressmen on abortion, try to get them to explain what Anti-abortion laws they would pass if Roe Vs Wade was over turned. How would such laws be enforced? In that light Abortion is not just a question of privacy or choice. It is also a question of equality before the law and access to healthcare(who is going pay for all thos e new babies, your friendly HMO, local emergency room? Get the Medical/Law Enforcement community to come forward on the viablity of a society without abortion.

5). Go after the fiscal conservative vote. You guys know how to do that. Start by banning the phrase "Bush Tax Cut" amoung Democrats. In its place use "Bush Tax Deferment". Not only is it more accurate, it goes along with the Right-Wing Chicken Hawk theme.

Posted by: llamajockey on August 9, 2004 09:18 AM

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Why, the passivity on the part of the Democratics.
There is are obvious fissures forming within the Republican party that could be spilt wide open with an intelligent/aggressive campain.

1). Use quotes of the few remaining Republican grown-ups against the wing-nuts/Neo-Conservatives. Dick Lugar alone could provide a number of these on Iraq & North Korea. Simply dig up recent harsh criticisms he has made of the Administrations to hometown papers like the Indianapolis Star. Lots of Taft/Eisenhower are on the fence on Bush, go after them.

2). Take the gloves off. Rove is obviously going to take the low road with "Swift Boats Veterns for Truth. You can't tell me that the Press is not sitting on the truth concerning Bush going AWOL from the Texas National Guard. Perhaps Big Media is protecting Bush, but I suspect it is more a case like Strom Thurman's black illegitimate child. The Thurman's womanizing stories were legend and would have easily been confirmed with a little gutsy reporting. My hunch is most of the press knows the truth, but are both lacking the moral courage and judgement to confirm the rumors. What are the Democrats waiting for, Larry Flynt to do the dirty work and save their ass like he did in 1998? Unmasking Bush as unfit for flight duty/AWOL status would shatter the Republican's lock on the Military/Veteran vote. Force the press take a stand on Bush's refusal to release his fitness for duty documents that have never been examined.

3). Spilt the Republican Libertarian / Social Moderate/ vote. Don't just count on Howard Stern to do the job for you. Not only quote the most extreme Right Wing congressmen on abortion, try to get them to explain what Anti-abortion laws they would pass if Roe Vs Wade was over turned. How would such laws be enforced? In that light Abortion is not just a question of privacy or choice. It is also a question of equality before the law and access to healthcare(who is going pay for all thos e new babies, your friendly HMO, local emergency room? Get the Medical/Law Enforcement community to come forward on the viablity of a society without abortion.

5). Go after the fiscal conservative vote. You guys know how to do that. Start by banning the phrase "Bush Tax Cut" amoung Democrats. In its place use "Bush Tax Deferment". Not only is it more accurate, it goes along with the Right-Wing Chicken Hawk theme.

Posted by: llamajockey on August 9, 2004 09:18 AM

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Nit: I didn't expect Adrian to remember or acknowlege this, but when RT missed it in an otherwise very nice post, I felt compelled to mention;

9/11 was NOT the last terrorist act on American soil. Prior to 9/11 the Anthrax attacks of late 2001 would've rated many months of attention. Instead they're off the radar in part, I presume, because it's an unsolved attack and probably from a domestic terrorist, in several ways emblematic of Bush/Cheney super-human malfeasance.

Posted by: dennisS on August 9, 2004 09:59 AM

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"Brian, that's true, but Colin has the sort of face that the GOP likes to put front-and-center at conventions. If you get my drift."

One has to wonder, then, if they are going to put Alan Keyes up for a speaking spot.

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 11:04 AM

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"The Republican "grown-ups", aka "moderates", left their Party a while back and took over the Democratic Party -- which is now the Party of Moderate Republicanism. Compare John Anderson's 1980 platform to the Dems of today and get a micrometer to measure the differences."

I don't know if I agree with that characterization.

I happen to believe that there are plenty of people who would vote for a moderate Democrat or a moderate Republican, because there's not that much of a difference between slightly right of center and slightly left of center. So basically, unless there was some completely polarizing issues, at any time, there were people who could easily fit into either party.

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 11:09 AM

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"The Republican "grown-ups", aka "moderates", left their Party a while back and took over the Democratic Party -- which is now the Party of Moderate Republicanism. Compare John Anderson's 1980 platform to the Dems of today and get a micrometer to measure the differences. Dan Drezner and the like are upset because they fit into the Democrats' corporate flank very nicely but feel uncomfortable cozying up to the working class. But they don't like the cultural conservatives in the GOP, either. Poor boys!"

I don't agree with that characterization.

I could go on about this, but I'll try to be succinct. At various points in time, there have been people who could easily fit into either party.

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 11:15 AM

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It's beginning to dawn on a number business and Wall Street types that the sweetheart deals, the tax breaks, the "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" regulation and the corporate welfare really aren't all that useful when the "drunken sailors" handing them out keep running the economy into the ditch. One more fiscally responsible Democratic administration could do much to establish the GOP as the permanent minority party for crackpots, disenfranchised Dixiecrats and venal bible-slappers who must be kept away from the national cookie jar at all costs...

Posted by: jim in austin on August 9, 2004 11:19 AM

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Brian says "I don't think cabinet secretaries usually speak at the conventions." if you look at the url I placed with my name, you will see that Secretary of Education Rod Paige speaks on Tuesday August 31 after Laura Bush.

Posted by: cafl on August 9, 2004 11:33 AM

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RT wrote, "So the handful of remaining 'grownup Republicans' are better advised to start their own party, because the likelihood that centrist Republicans will have enough numbers and/or influence in the next couple of decades to reform their party is essentially zero."

I agree---anyone who thinks that Republican Party holds many moderates should recall the vote in the House on Clinton's impeachment.

"2) What the Dems need is to propose a social contract of sorts: free trade if and only if the benefits of free trade are widely distributed throughout our society."

Right, but the Dems (disclaimer: I'm a Dem) won't do that. The proper way to construct an egalitarian political economy is to tax
(1) first, Ricardian land rents, and other rents,
(2) wealth, not income.

These topics aren't even on the radar.

(For a good intro to the first topic, from a libertarian viewpoint---one I don't share, but well-written, see:
http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/tma68/geo-faq.htm
)

Posted by: liberal on August 9, 2004 11:39 AM

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Ummmmmm...okay.

Now, what's an *achievable* program?

Posted by: Frank Wilhoit on August 9, 2004 05:35 PM

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DennisS - actually, I missed THREE terrorist attacks, one likely domestic (anthrax 2001 - good catch!) and two definitely so (OKC, 1995; Muhammad-Malvo, 2002). And I thought I was doing so well!

But I don't have any problem with that. Bush (rightly, for once) defined the problem as *international* terrorism, right after 9/11. And rightly so: it's hard to draw the line between domestic terrorism and a nutcase or two on the loose, unless there's an actual organization involved. And even then: were the Symbionese Liberation Army (of Patty Hearst fame) terrorists? I wouldn't say so.

liberal - I think you're right. The Dems will just give in on free trade. And then when they argue for a resumption of the inheritance tax (the only wealth tax we've bothered with in recent history), they'll have no cards.

BTW, any chance of a quickie definition of 'Ricardian land rents' for us non-economists? My Googling wasn't turning up anything particularly helpful.

Frank Wilhoit - an 'achievable' program is whatever you take a strong stand on, and can sell the public on too. Reagan's 1981 tax cuts didn't look achievable until 1981. The Dems continue tiptoeing around the real issues; the result is, they never sell anybody on anything much.

Brian and General Glut - I was one of those Republicans who left the GOP with Anderson, and never came back. But despite having been a local volunteer for Anderson back in 1980, it's been too long ago for me to remember that much of his platform. A good comparison between Anderson
s and Kerry's platforms would be fun, if the former is on the Web.

Posted by: RT on August 9, 2004 07:05 PM

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"One more fiscally responsible Democratic administration could do much to establish the GOP as the permanent minority party for crackpots, disenfranchised Dixiecrats and venal bible-slappers who must be kept away from the national cookie jar at all costs..."

But it shouldn't necessarily be that way.

In any event, your comments shine line on another even that I think I see happening: the destruction of the GOP itself.

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 07:57 PM

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calf,

I was speaking in a historical sense. This year, Paige is still an exception.

liberal,

""2) What the Dems need is to propose a social contract of sorts: free trade if and only if the benefits of free trade are widely distributed throughout our society."

I agree. The Democrats have to aggressively purpuse a free trade-heavy but new opporunity-heavy platform. It's right; it's also fair.

Posted by: Brian on August 9, 2004 08:03 PM

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When the republicans lose (and they must eventually) the result is going to be so ugly that the big question will be whether the party can survive without a terminal split.

The fiscal conservatives and the social reactionaries have no real common interests. Once they lose the Whitehouse it is every man for themselves.

Don't think that these guys have to get a clue and move to the center after a defeat. The UK Tories did the exact opposite and elected a series of unelecteable non-entities to lead the party while they attacked each other over Europe.

If Bush goes in November the chances are that Kerry will appoint at least three Supreme court members, including replacements for Renquist and O'Connor. I suspect they have only stayed on so long because the Florida situation made it impossible for them to resign during the Bush tenure. The post-Kerry SCOTUS could well be a 7-2 liberal court unrolling the Renquist era perogatives at a rapid rate. The religious reich know that if they loose this time there is no chance of overturning Roe vs Wade, school prayer etc. for 25 years or more.

Wait a while, the question in 2006 may well be whether the GOP can avoid conceeding a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

Posted by: Phill on August 9, 2004 08:56 PM

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