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July 20, 2002

Demoralization on the Right

David Brooks of the Weekly Standard highlights the real danger to the GOP in the recent corporate scandals. Poll numbers are not the key issue; the scandals threaten to demoralize GOP supporters and send pissed-off progressives to the polls: "in midterm elections, motivation trumps polling." The 1994 Gingrich revolution was not based on a mass polling change but progressive voters sitting on their hands as the Christian Coalition and the NRA jammed the voting booths.

And the scandals leave the GOP without any credible economic program to run on:

Domestically, the Republican party is as bereft of plausible policy ideas as at any time in the past quarter century. How exactly do Republicans respond to the current moment? With cuts in the capital gains tax rate? With the flat tax? With deregulation? With a crusade to shrink the size of government? With entitlement reform? These ideas, admirable on the merits, are as politically implausible now as any that can be imagined. Worse, many of them have the feel of a bygone era.
Coming from a conservative like Brooks who likes all these policies, you get some sense of the despair on the Right.

But in making his argument, Brooks highlights an issue I have emphasized. The GOP will not lose if the Dems concentrate on the corporate scandals themselves. The key for progressive success is to take advantage of this ideological opening to make the positive case for health care and jobs programs that will solve the real problems people face. Piling on over the scandals is not enough.

Our advantage right now is that rightwing blather about such progressive proposals being "bad for business" will seem laughable in the face of the damage business has done to itself. But the key is to channel the anger at those scandals towards positive solutions-- otherwise, the anger of voters will remain an unguided missile.

Posted by Nathan at July 20, 2002 01:58 PM

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i'd agree somewhat with the gist of your post, but i think that the identificiation alone of the gop with big business will be enough to get the progressive vote out this mid-term, and will also be enough to push the swing voters over to the dems side. if the dems can just harp on the idea of "are you better off now than 3 years ago?"

but that would take some initiative, as well as balls, on the part of the democrats. i am not holding my breath.

Posted by: skippy at July 20, 2002 03:39 PM

also, may i comment:

"Our advantage right now is that rightwing blather about such progressive proposals being "bad for business" will seem laughable in the face of the damage business has done to itself."

you hit the nail on the head. i couldn't believe my ears when some talking heads (including steve 'i got my money the old fashioned way, i inherited it' forbes) on faux news network were claiming that the 390 point loss on friday was due to investors' "reaction" to the over-regulation of the measures congress is passing now.

i couldn't contain my laughter. they expect america to believe that? sure, and i've got a bridge to sell them, too.

Posted by: skippy at July 21, 2002 07:32 PM

Don't forget about security. Secureroot.org

Posted by: Gawen at July 6, 2004 09:01 AM

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