Friday, September 12, 2008

GOP I love you but you're bringing me down

David Brooks is just mad-dogging the Republican party these days. Matt Yglesias noted two earlier comments, a reference to the GOP as "intellectually unfit to govern" and another deeming it short on "experts," both variations on the Republicans-are-stupid theme, but neither fleshed out to Yglesias's satisfaction.

Yesterday's column seems to offer a more in depth criticism of at least the pure, uncut version of conservative ideology, and it seems to have been practically plagiarized from Jacob Hacker (note to Dr. Hacker: time to scrub the John Edwards endorsement):

If there’s a thread running through the gravest current concerns, it is that people lack a secure environment in which they can lead their lives. Wild swings in global capital and energy markets buffet family budgets. Nobody is sure the health care system will be there when they need it. National productivity gains don’t seem to alleviate economic anxiety. Inequality strains national cohesion. In many communities, social norms do not encourage academic achievement, decent values or family stability. These problems straining the social fabric aren’t directly addressed by maximizing individual freedom.

I don't know how much government can do on the social norms front, and national productivity gains should have only been expected to alleviate economic anxiety if they were matched by commensurate increases in incomes, which they haven't been, but other than that it's good stuff.

What's a bit hard to take is being asked to seriously consider that the Republican party is actually going to "modernize" and recant all that stuff about supply side tax policy and cutting/privatizing Federal entitlement programs. I don't care if Reihan Salam and idiot boy Ross Douthat make noises about the middle class. It's not going to happen, at least not until they start getting marginalized as a political party so badly that it's their only chance at survival, and as is becoming depressingly clear that hasn't happened yet.

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