In Defense of Mitch McConnell

More

Well, sort of. As you might expect, I agree with a lot of Ambinder's caustic remarks about the Minority Leader's recent "whither Republicanism" speech. But McConnell, like all GOP leaders, is in an awfully difficult spot at the moment: He's heading up a party that desperately needs a new direction, but whose most loyal and vocal members want nothing to do with anything that smacks of compromise or centrism. In those circumstances, the thing for Republicans in Washington to do is to talk an awful lot about how conservative principles don't need to change (and they don't, broadly speaking), while eagerly embracing new policy options whenever possible. And here McConnell deserves at least a modicum of credit for coming out in favor of the best of the alternative stimulus plans floating around on the right-of-center - namely, some sort of payroll tax cut, which is precisely the sort of small-government populist, Sam's Club-meets-Cato idea that the GOP ought to be embracing, instead of resisting.

The key for Republicans, as Yuval notes today, is to offer not only opposition to Obamanomics but alternatives as well - but those alternatives needs to sound like something other than the Bush agenda redux, or else there's no point in offering them. And on that front, McConnell's doing a better job that some of his colleagues.

Jump to comments

Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Juice Cleanses: The Worst Diet

A doctor tries the ever-popular Master Cleanse. Sort of.

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down