Thursday, January 25, 2007

What's the Big Idea?

In an excellent post on Newt Gingrich and his possible run for the presidency, Former Spook presents an important assessment of the current status of the Republican Party.

But there's a more important reason that the "Draft Newt" movement will never get off the ground: the Grand Old Party is no longer the party for new ideas. Many Republicans blame George Bush's "bold" policies in the War on Terror for their recent electoral defeat, and they've become averse to political, social and economic risks. It's more than ironic that the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Reagan--men who ran and governed on big ideas--is becoming a party of retail politics and entitlements. Instead of pushing for the Fair Tax, the GOP is lining up to support an increase in the minimum wage that nothing but a sop to Big Labor.

And, lest we forget, this is the same Republican Party that passed a prescription drug plan for seniors that will add billions to the federal budget, with only the slightest nods toward competition and market-driven savings. Given its "new" orientation, the GOP of 2007 looks less like the band of Gingrich-led revolutionaires that seized control of Congress 13 years ago, and more like the party Gerry Ford, when the Republicans were a permanent political underclass.

A political party unmoored from any guiding ideas becomes soley about power, re-election, and going along to get along. The "big ideas" that FS talks about serve to give direction and larger purpose to the pursuit and exercising of power. It's not power for power's sake, but power for the sake of implementing the big ideas.

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