Dear Reform Conservatives, You're Doing It Wrong
June 24, 2014
You need to make some enemies—and find politicians who will do more than treat you as accessories.
Why the GOP Needs—But Won’t Get—Its Own Bill Clinton
November 07, 2012
Will last night's defeat drive Republican's to create a centrist organization like the DLC?
The Astounding Incoherence of the Republican Convention
August 31, 2012
With the exception of paid ads, national conventions provide the most controlled environment for messaging any party or campaign can possibly enjoy. Not a word goes into the party platform or onto the podium teleprompters without approval from the nominee’s staff.
For the third consecutive time, Republicans are planning to feature an aggrieved Democrat (or ex-Democrat) at their national Convention to personalize claims that the latest Democratic presidential nominee has abandoned the true legacy of his party and left moderate-to-conservative donkeys no option but to vote for the GOP. As it happens, I know the most recent trio of apostates pretty well. 2004’s Zell Miller, who was enlisted to savage John Kerry’s national security credentials, was my boss in Georgia back in the early 1990s.
The Far Right Cheers (Half of) the GOP Ticket
August 12, 2012
DES MOINES—“It's a historic day,” Rep. Steve King of Iowa announced yesterday from the podium of the FAMiLY Leadership Summit 2012, a major gathering of social conservatives in a suburban Des Moines megachurch that drew a host of national political celebrities. King wasn’t talking about the event, or even the prospect of ejecting Barack Obama from the White House, but of the choice of his friend and colleague Paul Ryan to become Mitt Romney’s running-mate.
“Tough on Kids; Weak on Work.” That was Bill Clinton’s regular and emphatic judgment on the Republican attitude on welfare reform as he vetoed two congressional GOP bills before cutting the deal that became the landmark 1996 law. This was no mere rhetoric. As a welfare policy wonk in the 1990s I can attest to the fact that Republican interest in welfare reform was focused on everything other than work: punishing illegitimacy, creating absolute time limits for eligibility, devolving responsibility for the indigent to the states, and saving money for the federal government.
How the Republicans’ Anti-Government Rhetoric Has Come Back to Bite Republican Governments: Georgia Edition
August 07, 2012
Anyone who’s lived in metropolitan Atlanta in recent decades (as I did until 1995) knows its infamously snarled highway traffic. But any Georgian also knows that it would be impossible to raise taxes to do something about it—at least since 2004, when Republicans achieved control of both the legislative and executive branches of state government for the first time since Reconstruction.
The holy crusade that movement conservatives undertook against Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst concluded with Tuesday’s Senate runoff, producing his once-unlikely defeat at the hands of his much-celebrated Tea Party challenger, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz.* What makes the election so interesting is that Dewhurst, who has been denounced from one end of the conservative blogosphere to the other as a “RINO” and as “Dewcrist,” can’t really be accused of any specific ideological heresies.
Mitt Romney’s Incredible Shrinking Biography
July 26, 2012
The most fascinating aspect of the 2012 presidential campaign has become Mitt Romney’s incredible shrinking campaign-relevant biography. Seriously, think about it: his entire strategy is to keep the focus on unhappiness with the performance of the economy under Barack Obama’s stewardship, and then glide to victory after easily crossing the invisible threshold of acceptability that challengers to struggling incumbents supposedly need to navigate. Yet the number of items from his resume that he is willing and able to talk about in order to cross that threshold is close to the vanishing point.
Republicans have been the first to assert, without shame, the parallels between their own “Swift-boating” of John Kerry in 2004 and the Obama campaign’s alleged “Swiss-boating” of Mitt Romney over Bain Capital’s business practices.