Ramesh on Grand New Party:
Their ideas have been described as "Clintonian triangulation from the right." But people often misunderstand that parallel. They think Clinton chose the views of swing voters over those of Democratic voters. In a lot of cases, though, the liberal orthodoxies he abandoned had little support even among rank-and-file Democrats. Democratic voters liked the idea of "ending welfare as we know it." They liked his slapdown of Sister Souljah's remarks. Clinton had to push aside or change certain Democratic elites, not to change the worldview of his voting base.
Similarly, the Republican rank-and-file would, in the main, be willing to support the policies that D&S have in mind. A pro-family tax reform, for example, would have more support from those Republican voters than it has yet gotten from the conservative intelligentsia. On some issues the Republican rank-and-file would probably be willing to go further than I think wise. I imagine price controls for drugs would poll well among Republican voters, for example. In my new role as the elder statesman of the young turks—Brooks gave me the position in his column today—I will do my part to prevent populist excesses.
I would only add that price controls for prescription drugs represent an excellent example of the sort of me-tooism that I was talking about yesterday: It's an idea that would poll well among Republicans and swing voters alike - just like the reimportation of prescription drugs from Canada and Mexico, which Tim Pawlenty, the main who coined the "Party of Sam's Club" line, has seized on in his quest to chart a more reformist course - but it's a lefty idea and a bad one, and a GOP that takes it up would gain a short-term tactical edge at the expense of the party's (and the country's) long-term interest.
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