Saturday, March 17, 2007

Post Bush Conservatism

From Karen Tumulty's piece in Time: How the Right Went Wrong

Conservatives are in many ways victims of their successes, and there have indeed been big ones. At 35%, the top tax rate is about half what it was when Reagan took office; the Soviet Union broke up; inflation is barely a nuisance; crime is down; and welfare is reformed. But if all that's true, what is conservatism's rationale for the next generation? What set of goals is there to hold together a coalition that has always been more fractious than it seemed to be from the outside, with its realists and its neoconservatives, its religious ground troops and its libertarian intelligentsia, its Pat Buchanan populists and its Milton Friedman free traders? That is why the challenge for Republican conservatives goes far deeper than merely trying to figure out how to win the next election. 2008 is a question with a very clear premise: Does the conservative movement still have what it takes to redeem its grand old traditions — or, better, to chart new territory?
As an answer, Mark Satin on conservatives going radical middle. Satin I think is correct in noting that most of the initial radical middle/centrist movement came from more left-leaning progressive elements. Because in large measure they had been in charge for so long until the Carter debacle years and Clinton's New Centrist Leftism.

The Republicans had to wait for them to hold the legislature (did from 94-06) and the presidency to have their try and show their failure as the Democrats had with Carter. Now they have to get beyond their own flaws. The best of the group by far is Ross Douthat. His piece (with Reihan Salem) on Sam's Club Republicans here. Not entirely clear yet what it will be for foreign policy.


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