Who will fill the void in the demise of the right?I have always said that a populist conservatism as espoused by a Pat Buchanan type and run as a Republican would be the greatest danger to the Democratic Party.This type of candidate would be attractive to working class people who won't only vote on cultural issues. Especially when the Democratic Party is not providing clear distinctions between us and this type of candidate on issues of jobs, trade, economics, etc.What do others think?
The GOP has tried to push this kind of populist conservatism since Nixon's days -- just think of his Silent Majority, the Reagan Democrats, and Bush's regular guy schtick -- but the problem is that the political message they're spouting just can't jibe with the economic issues to which they're addicted. The GOP is, first and foremost, the party of Big Business, and as long as they're pushing tax breaks for Exxon over cuts in gas prices, estate tax repeal over minimum wage hikes, and union busting and right-to-work laws and free trade over protecting jobs, well, they're never going to reinvent themselves as the party of the working man.I think there is a case to be made for a populist conservatism, but I just don't think the Republicans can ever be that banner.
Liberalism went into a long decline after 1968 when liberals clawed at each other more than they battled conservativesWe are seeing examples of that right now, being that tomorrow is Michigan's Primary Eleciton. There are several key Republican primaries where each candidate is spending tons of cash trying to paint themselves as "more conservative" than they other. As they sprint farther and farther to the right, and spenmd lots of cash on PR firms, the races look that much better for the sole Dem, who seems cogent and sane by comparison.If I had a guess, it would be a populist libertarian who may fill the void. Government grew out of control under the Republicans, stem cell research is morally acceptable, no intrusive government laws to regulate our behavior at home, re-evaluate legislation and public policy and if it is broke, delete it, etc. For Bob, who knows the name, it would be the Leon Drolets of the legislature. For those not in MI, imagine a Joe Schwarz/John McCain (pre-sellout) type with a little crazy added.
We're definitely seing signs of a GOP crackup, I think. If the Democrats can pull off a sweep this fall, just wait for the Republicans to turn on each other in the aftermath. When that happens, pass the popcorn.
I found it. America's next Political Party, headed by Buchanan and Co., can be found here.
I don't remember where I read it, but some sensible person wrote an article about populism, noting that it has a tendency to get out of hand pretty quick, and what started out as a people's movement gets co-opted by a smaller group that doesn't really represent the larger one. I think the modern GOPers that we so dislike, such as the ones described by Dionne, are essentially conservative populists, but the populism they proclaim is a moral/religious one, not an economic one. You know, regular Joe Churchgoer is beseiged by the almighty birkenstock wearers, etc.Yeah, I mostly stole that idea from that What's the Matter with Kansas book. If you haven't read it, pick up a copy and take a gander at what became of populism in the midwest. Very. Scarry.
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