Wednesday, May 09, 2007

David Brooks on Republican Debate

Brooks in his usual slot on the Friday edition of the MacNeil/Lehrer Newshour (here) brought up an excellent point in relation to the Reagan-love feast that was the Republican debate last week.

Namely that Ronald Reagan, whatever his merits as a president, did not face the world we currently live in and his legacy is not an answer to our current problems.

Echoing a similar point David Frum (in NRO) writes the following:
But as much as I blame the candidates, I have to blame the party too. Have Republicans absorbed how much trouble their party is in? To the (limited) extent that we do, we tend to to attribute everything to Iraq — as if Katrina, the Schiavo affair, corruption in Congress, and the intensifying irrelevance of our domestic-policy agenda did not exist. And so we demand from our candidates ever more fervent declarations of fealty to an ideology that interests an ever dwindling proportion of the public.
Otherwise these guys hardly look like the big tent Republicans of Reagan/Atwater and more like a fairly narrow minded cross section, in some cases, transparently moving their political viewpoints to get 30% of the general electorate to support them, some less convincingly than others.

And as Frum says, what otherwise is an impressive crowd looked pretty pathetic. Tommy Thompson, "Mr. Compassionate Conservative" (vouchers and welfare reform) looked weird. Romney should talk about his health care plan and bipartisanship, instead he is (to me) very unconvincing as a base candidate. Ditto McCain. And Giuliani doesn't yet realize he isn't running against no namers for Mayor of New York again.

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