My thoughts on the state of the Republican Party — of which I still consider myself a member — in answer to a friend’s question on Facebook:
I don’t buy into liberal class warfare. I’m pro-life, and believe in a muscular foreign policy that promotes the freedom agenda around the world.
But it seems that conservative economic principles — which were once rooted in competence and pragmatism — have been replaced with absolutist dogma, resulting in a party that is trying to apply the solutions of the 1980s to the problems of the 2010’s.
We are paranoid inflation hawks at a time of low inflation and high unemployment.
We remain firmly entrenched in the cult of Norquist, convinced that the ideal marginal tax rate is always “lower” — a reflexive direction, not a realistic destination — and that cutting taxes will always magically pay for itself (instead of being effective given a narrow set of specific economic circumstances).
We pay lip service to the idea of reducing the deficit, but are unrealistic to the point of irresponsibility when it comes to what it will take to make deficit reduction work.
We insist that our policy preferences not depart a single iota from that of Ronald Reagan despite the fact that (a) economic circumstances are dramatically different now than in the stagflation era of the 1980s, and (b) Ronald Reagan actually *did* do many of the things that we now so vehemently oppose.
In reality, a government should act differently when there is deflation than when there is runaway inflation. Government should respond differently to persistently high unemployment than it should to an economy running at full steam. Different circumstances should result in different policy, not an ever-louder crescendo of dire warnings about imaginary threats.
I don’t ask that we abandon our commitment to small government and federalism. I just wish that we would rediscover our sense of competence and fiscal discipline!