>> Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I am a democrat but i am also a political junky. I find it intriguing to think about a way to guide the GOP to victory that is not based on the politics of division. I tend to think it would be fairly easy given how cowardly the Dems run typical campaigns. The key is that lying is not punished. This allows you to try and co-opt any Democratic positions you might want and try to explain why they are actually GOP positions. Also, when i engage in this idle speculation i try to imagine ways to realign the electorate. Is there a way to grab a significant chunk of the population away from the other side without losing your voters, or at least not so many as would not be covered by additions?
It is with this in mind that i turn to the piece in the NYT entitled, The vanishing Republican Voter by David Frum. Frum does work for the conservative think tank, American Enterprise Institute but that does not mean he could not have some interesting insights into the GOP mindset and the possible future of the Republican Party. There are two basic premises to his thinking.
1. As a general rule, the more unequal a place is, the more Democratic; the more equal, the more Republican.
2.There is a widening equality gap.
These two things lead to the conclusion that the GOP is in some serious trouble in the future. He lays out the case that the GOP needs to be much more concerned about inequity, not from a moral perspective, but from a political one. They just wont have voters unless they make a fundamental change in how they approach elections. His suggestion seems to be that they do something about the inequity, just enough so that people feel they can vote with their social values and not the pocketbook.
Resentment of “elites” is a major theme of conservative talk radio. “Who’s looking out for you?” demands Bill O’Reilly, as he excoriates “media elites” who vacation in the Hamptons, Aspen and the Virginia horse country.
But O’Reilly’s question has recoiled upon its onetime beneficiaries. Who is looking out for the Fox-viewing public? For most of the Bush administration, G.D.P. grew strongly, the stock market boomed, new jobs were created. But the ordinary person experienced little benefit. The median household income, which rose in the ’90s, had only just caught up to its 2000 level when the expansion ended in 2007.
there is a major issue that goes unaddressed here. The big money interests support the GOP precisely because they give them the best policies. The gearing of their focus towards the rich and the corporate is what gives them a media advantage. To suddenly start throwing that, and the money that comes with it, away seems far fetched. To his credit Frum finds a way around actually paying employees more. In true Republican fashion he goes supply side. If we dont pay more we will lower supply costs.
What the middle class needs most is not lower income taxes but a slowdown in the soaring inflation of health-care costs.
It is very true that helping get everyone health care. Frums proposal of eliminating employer based health care and shifting totally to a market approach similar to car insurance is not something i really favor. Over all it is an interesting approach to the problem.
Personally i just do not think that this is enough. Frum makes assumptions about inequity that i dont know hold true. He basically says that no one would vote democratic if people were more equal. I think the better point is that the dems would lose a lot of voters if people were making more money related to expenses. Frum is saying that if prices had not gone up no one would have cared about the fact that the rich make a whole lot more. The problem is that prices always go up. they dont stay the same so predicating your argument on that is specious. That is frums idea about how to keep the party alive. My own will be part II.