Friday, January 18, 2008

We need more new ideas in Politics

The gist of this article is how the Republicans are taking ideas from the Democrats. Yet, the Democrats need new ideas too. We need to start approaching politics in a more genuine fashion where the reason a candidate rises or falls is in some part due to the new ideas they can generate and defend. Here's Ron Klain's

Republicans in Democrats' Clothing

Nothing is more self-defeating in presidential politics than a candidate trying to be something he or she is not. Sometimes the incongruity is visual — Mike Dukakis photographed riding atop a tank — but more often it concerns a policy stand or a position that seems opportunistic and inauthentic. In such instances, the departure from form may produce some short-term political gain, but in the long run, it leaves voters confused and alienated.

If you want to know where this epiphany of government economic intervention comes from, read Erik Eckholm’s article in Wednesday’s Times. Mr. Eckholm’s piece relates the heart-wrenching tale of middle-aged workers whose economic future has been turned upside down by changes in the manufacturing economy.
Still don’t see the connection between the economic trend captured in Mr. Eckholm’s article and the political trend of a G.O.P. reversal on economic issues? Then take a look at Mr. Eckholm’s dateline: Jackson, Ohio. That’s right, Ohio, as in “the battleground of all battlegrounds” in the 2008 general election. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio, and no Republican could feel very good about the party’s economic positioning in Ohio after reading Mr. Eckholm’s article.

With this as a backdrop, it is no surprise that some Republicans are finding a new perspective on government intervention in economic policy. Earlier this week on this blog, David Brooks compared Mr. Romney’s newly activist approach to “how the British Tory party used to speak in the 1970s.” It isn’t a hopeful metaphor, since the Tories were out of power for nine of the decade’s 10 years. More important, the biggest problem for the new Republican economic activists isn’t that they are mimicking a playbook that failed in Britain, but rather that their message is little more than a pale knock-off — a bad impression — of Democrats here in America. I’m not sure if the Republicans can formulate a winning economic message in 2008, but I’m absolutely certain they won’t win with an inauthentic effort to sound like Democrats.

1 comment:

Ron Klain said...

Thanks for noting my piece. I agree that the Democrats need new ideas -- and am hopeful we'll see more of them as the campaign unfolds.