William Kristol says the GOP can really make headway if they keep saying no.
Obama’s economic program — the stimulus package, health care, cap-and-trade — offers a huge opportunity to Republicans: Oppose root-and-branch this attempt to impose on us more spending, more debt and higher taxes, accompanied by an ever heavier hand of government. Oppose these schemes that are informed by the unwarranted arrogance of the central planners and the barely hidden condescension of the best and the brightest.
Republicans can propose instead incentives for economic growth and job-creation consistent with free markets and limited government, accompanied by reasonable regulations that will avoid a repeat of the financial meltdown. With Obama going down the road to the nanny state, Republicans have a chance to articulate by contrast a sensible and compelling pro-growth agenda consistent with the history of American democratic capitalism and the principles of a free society.
Okay, quiz time: what recent president took a surplus and turned it into a monstrous deficit? What recent president had a heavier hand of government if you’re counting warrantless wiretapping, outing covert CIA agents for political gain, and had an attorney general and his minions screening their applicants for political loyalty? And what recent presidential campaign gave us their idea of the “best and the brightest” with a vapid ignoramus who reveled in her lack of insight into foreign affairs and reading materials? Answer: it wasn’t the Obama administration. (Oh, and when Sen. John Ensign, supposedly one of the rising stars of the Republican party, is calling up his mommy and daddy to bail him out of his adulterous affair, using the term “nanny state” takes on a whole new meaning.)
The thing that really frightens Mr. Kristol the most is that President Obama’s policies will work and the voters will see all too clearly that the Republicans have nothing whatsoever to offer. Of course, that ship sailed at least two election cycles ago, so for them to start trying to sell something new — which they haven’t come up with yet — is a little late.