Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A new Republican agenda?

Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam think big for Republicans, taking as their point of departure the fact that a substantial portion of the party’s constituency is not affluent. It’s a long article, replete with wonky policy ideas, but Michael Barone calls it "brilliant," which is good enough for me and ought to be good enough for you, dear reader. Here’s a sample of their bold thinking on family policy, focusing on the effort to help parents exit and enter the workforce as they raise children:

For instance, the government could offer subsidies to those who provide child care in the home, and pension credits that reflect the economic value of years spent in household labor. Or again, Republicans might consider offering tuition credits for years spent rearing children, which could be exchanged for post-graduate or vocational education. These would be modeled on veterans’ benefits--and that would be entirely appropriate. Both military service and parenthood are crucial to the country’s long-term survival. It’s about time we recognize that fact.

Such a recognition, not incidentally, would be a recipe for continued GOP political dominance. Married couples are already the most reliable Republican voters. Policies making it easier to get married, stay married, and have more children would cement these voters’ loyalties, and they would also draw wavering, culturally-conservative-but-economically-anxious voters into the Republican fold. The party of James Dobson isn’t going to win back wealthy social liberals any time soon. But a pro-family economic agenda might make inroads among, say, upwardly mobile minorities, or working-class whites in increasingly up-for-grabs states like Minnesota and Iowa.

Read the whole thing.

Discussions - 4 Comments

What? We’re going to pay people to raise their own kids in order to seduce low income Republican voters? Here’s a thought: Why not just have the government get its hands out of people’s pockets to pay for stuff like this and then see how much easier it is for people to afford to raise their own kids. Yes, having a family and military service are fine things to do for one’s country. But do we really want to equate the former with the latter? I’m all for Veteran’s benefits--can’t do enough for those guys. But I hardly think I deserve anything from the government because of the work I’m doing raising my two kids. And if it’s income based then the GOP should not expect their married base to support this--this looks like welfare by another name.

First of all, I have to agree with Julie Ponzi. But with all due respect isn’t this the trend with Republicans? Republicans have given up fighting the welfare state, (George Will says it is here to stay). It isn’t about reducing spending(if it is about tax cuts then it is also about deficit spending)rather it is about spending on programs that republicans support. Bill Clinton spoke too soon when he said that the era of big government was over.

I read the article a couple of days ago. The only problem with the article’s recommendations is that no conservative could support such positions. Republican canidates cannot win without conservative support (the article states conservatives "entreprenuers" are 11% of the party). The previous Supreme Court debacle confirms this. Since these programs will upset conservatives, while not drawing that many more people, Republican canidates will lose, and because they lose no nonRepublican group (such as hispanics, etc.) will join the party, because what could a losing party give such groups?

If Republicans take these ideas seriously they will be in trouble. The article is a good example of someone who cares more about short term party power and posturing than ideas. These people are losers for the Republican party. The party must please conservatives, or at least appear to be pleasing them, if it wishes to continue winning.

To my great dismay, John Lewis is 100% correct.

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