November 17, 2008

Obvious Words, Well Written

Bill Kristol writes that the GOP governors' meeting was constructive but somehow failed to confront the failed Bush economic legacy:
From 1933 to 1980, Republicans repeatedly failed to convince the country they were no longer the party of Herbert Hoover — the party, as it was perceived, of economic incompetence, austerity and recession (if not depression).

Only two Republicans won presidential elections in that half-century, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Richard M. Nixon. Both were able to take the White House only because we were mired down in difficult wars, in Korea and Vietnam. And Ike and Nixon were unable — they didn’t really try — to change the generally liberal course of domestic and economic policy. The G.O.P.’s fate on Capitol Hill was worse. The party controlled Congress for only 4 of those 47 years.

That’s what happens when a depression begins on your watch and when you can’t offer a coherent explanation of how and why it occurred and what you are going to do differently. That’s what happens when instead of having such an explanation, you spend decades in quarrels between pragmatic but unimaginative moderates who seek to be better tax collectors for the liberal welfare state, and principled but fanciful conservatives who hope for a wholesale rejection of that welfare state. And the fact that there were many successful Republican governors in those years didn’t much change the party’s status nationally.
The whole piece is worth reading.

No comments: