Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ross Douthat on Obama

Conservative blogger Ross Douthat of The Atlantic, co-author of Grand New Party: How Conservatives Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream, on charges from the right on Obama's "radicalism."

American public opinion has moved leftward with the Clintonites, and under the influence of the same trends and events - from the mounting health-care crisis to the post-Clinton return of wage stagnation to the current financial debacle. And this is what's missing from the conservative attacks on Obama's radicalism - a recognition that the political landscape has shifted dramatically since the days when Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich were struggling over the American center, and that in the absence of a conservatism that's responsive to the changing situation, yesterday's radicalism can start to look a lot like today's common sense.

Douthat nails the reason public approval numbers for Congressional Republicans have tanked. While there is a legitimate debate to be waged over how to deal with rapidly changing economic conditions, the GOP seems stuck on old ideas (tax cuts as panacea) and partisan sniping. This tone-deaf strategy renders them useless to solving these problems and carries a deservedly heavy political price.

--Ballard Burgher

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