GOP to Tea Party: Your Votes Yes, Your Ideas No!

Via FrumForum

I had a good chuckle at Erick Erickson’s enraged piece on the Republican pledge, now being circulated by Democratic spinmeisters.

Question for Erickson: What did he expect?

Here is the GOP cruising to a handsome election victory. Did you seriously imagine that they would jeopardize the prospect of victory and chairmanships by issuing big, bold promises to do deadly unpopular things?

But if the document is unsurprising, it’s also unsurprising that Erickson and those who think like him would find it enraging. The “Pledge to America” is a repudiation of the central, foundational idea behind the Tea Party. Tea Party activists have been claiming all year that there exists in the United States a potential voting majority for radically more limited government.

The Republican “Pledge to America” declares: Sorry, we don’t believe that. We shall cut spending where we can – reform the legislative process in important ways – and sever the federal guarantee for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Republicans will redirect the federal government to a new path that is less expensive and intrusive than the status quo. But if you want promises of radical change? No. Too risky. We don’t think the voters want that – not the smaller, older, richer, whiter electorate that votes in non-presidential years, much less the bigger, younger, poorer, less white electorate of presidential years. And even that smaller, older, richer, whiter electorate is highly wary of cuts to programs that benefit them, Medicare above all.

But the real news is this: You can primary a Bob Bennett, you can nominate a Sharron Angle, you can balk Karl Rove and Mike Castle – but when decision hour arrives, the leadership of the party rejects the assessment of the American electorate offered by Rush Limbaugh, Dick Armey and for that matter Erick Erickson.

Yet at the same time, we so-called RINOs can take no pleasure in this document. Yes, there is good in it. (Putting legislative language online 72 hours in advance seems Good Government 101.) The silly bits are not too silly: the promise to cite specific constitutional language is an empty sop to those so-called constitutionalists who vainly hope to revive the John Randolph school of constitutional interpretation.

But the true sad news is that this is not a document to govern with in the recessionary year 2010. It’s fine to reject Tea Party illusions. But without an alternative modern Republican affirmative program, the GOP will find itself at risk of being captured and controlled by special interests instead.

The most admirable thing about the Tea Party is its zeal to find a bigger message for the Republican Party than: do what K Street wants. The message offered by the Tea Party may have been unworkable, unrealistic, or worse – but at least it was large and public-spirited.

I’d like to see a Modern Republicanism that responds better to the needs of the country, while retaining still the Tea Party’s reforming spirit. What I fear is the worst of all worlds: a Republican majority that rejects not only extremist ideas, but all ideas.


J said... / Sep 24, 2010, 12:46:00 AM  

"But without an alternative modern Republican affirmative program"

" a Republican majority that rejects not only extremist ideas, but all ideas."

All that is needed from the Republican Party is to reject liberal ideas and reform existing liberal ideas since they all encompass a utopian vision for mankind and therefore are extremist at the core. Plus, divided government seems to be good at one of the core issues that motivate the tea party: limit government spending

"William Niskanen, chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute, notes that in the last 50 years, government spending has increased an average of only 1.73 percent annually during periods of divided government. This number more than triples, to 5.26 percent, for periods of unified government.'"

It's Pie-in-the-sky ideas that Frum wants that will never see the signature of the current president, unless they involve new spending or subsidies for a favored industry.

All the GOP needs to do is ask: What would Reagan do? :D

Codester said... / Sep 26, 2010, 1:38:00 PM  

YES! What would Ronnie do...?

J said... / Sep 26, 2010, 5:21:00 PM  

He still cut more than he raised. And none of those tax increases Barlett lists seem to be about increasing marginal tax rates for individuals, something that you guys still don't get when you claim the stimulus package contained "tax cuts".

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