In this morning’s paper Michael Gerson gives us his view of the Republican presidential candidates. He criticizes Senator McCain for not embracing Republican theories of economic growth through tax cuts for the rich. He claims Romney is mean and lacking in mercy. He is concerned Mike Huckabee’s fair tax (30% national sales tax) plan will destroy his candidacy once the Democrats attack it. He wants Giuliani to give a creative agenda of reform. But reality stands in his way.
The Federal budget was in surplus when President Clinton left office. The deficit is larger now because of the Bush tax cuts and the Bush war in Iraq. Most of those 8 million new jobs are low paying ones. Most of the growth in the American economy over the past six years has gone to the rich just as Senator McCain has said. The middle class is worse off than when president Bush took office. We have been undergoing class warfare ever since Reagan took office and the rich have won a convincing victory. So much for the good done by embracing Republican theories of economic growth.
Romney is mean because mean wins. Has Gerson forgotten Willie Horton? Can he not remember Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? Attack ads were a Republican invention. As the Republican ascendancy shows only all too well attack ads work. So does the Nixon silent-majority of bigotry playbook. The only difference here is Romney using these tactics against his fellow Republicans instead of helpless Democrats.
Granted Huckabee’s fair tax is a far worse tax proposal than usual. But not that much worse than the Republican favorite, the flat tax. Of all the Republican candidates Huckabee shows the most concern for the losers in the economic struggle of our time. This is the real reason the Republican establishment doesn’t like him. There only real objection to the fair tax is in it’s being so unfair it makes the game of beggaring the poor obvious.
Giuliani is expected to come up with creative ideas, which correspond to accepted Conservative ideology. And there is the problem; accepted conservative ideology. Ideologists are blind as bats and lacking in the sonar system which bats use instead of sight. Conservative ideology has caused the problems of today. We must therefore conclude Conservative ideology has failed. This is why the Republicans are in trouble. More loyalty to Conservative ideology is not going to help.