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Monday, December 18, 2006

Ex-Bush Speechwriter Talks Future of GOP

Newsweek contributor Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter and policy adviser to President Bush, and now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes about what's next for the GOP, and how the divided party should shape itself as it heads towards the 2008 election.

"The future of the Republican Party depends on which party it wants to be -- the party of purity, or the party of the governors. In that decision, Republicans should consider: any political movement that elevates abstract antigovernment ideology above human needs is hardly conservative, and unlikely to win," Gerson writes in the December 25, 2006 - January 1, 2007 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, December 18).

Gerson writes that, "One Republican Party ... will argue that the 'big government Republicanism' of the Bush era has been a reason for recent defeats. Like all fundamentalists, the antigovernment conservatives preachthat greater influence requires a return to purity--the purity of Reaganism... As antigovernment conservatives seek to purify the Republican Party, it is reasonable to ask if the purest among them are conservatives at all," Gerson writes. "The combination of disdain for government, a reflexive preference for markets and an unbalanced emphasis on individual choice isusually called libertarianism ... Unfettered individualism can loosen those bonds, while government can act to strengthen them. By this standard, good public policies -- from incentives to charitable giving, to imposing minimalstandards on inner-city schools-are not apostasy; they are a thoroughly orthodox, conservative commitment to the common good."

There is another Republican Party -- what might be called the party of the governors, Gerson writes. "It is the party of Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida,who has improved the educational performance of minority students and responded effectively to natural disasters. It is the party of Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who mandated basic health insurance while giving subsidies to low-income people. Neither of these men embrace biggovernment; both show convincing outrage at wasteful spending. But theyhave also succeeded in making government work in essential government roles--not a small thing in a post-Katrina world."

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Blogger Gregory Renfroe said...

Some day the American people will come to the realization that they would in fact rather have a system in place that will take care of its citizens health and education without calling it communism and recoiling from the notion that a population that is healthy and educated is actually out best weapon against economic and ideological foes around the entire world instead of fighting wars in oil producing countries just to keep the taps flowing.
When Republicans learn that running the nation with lower taxes and less government can coexist with national health and education for everyone they will be the party that will be the overwhelming majority in Washington and across the country.
When the Republicans decide to get something done they have shown more cohesive action than Democrats but when the party turns its own social conscience (John McCain) into a party line toting toady to reign him in, in an election year I fear that we will remain the big, immature bully with the biggest stick on the play ground that the rest of the world sees us as for quite a long time.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Scott Nance said...

Thanks for your comment on this one!

I thought you might be interested in this essay I wrote about 6 months ago ...

Why Doesn't Anyone In The Federation Collect Unemployment?

2:42 PM  

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