away from Joe=towards success?



Freddie deBoer used to blog at, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

Related Post Roulette

22 Responses

  1. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    What struck me about this piece is that Ruffini seems to think that there’s something wrong with constantly venerating Reagan and every Reaganism, but at the same time thinks conservatives should instead adopt the Newt Gingrich approach. So, what? Give up the ghost of Reagan and adopt the ghost of Gingrich? He’s spot-on with his critique of gimmicks, but beyond that there’s not really any substantive argument for some new, better approach. I think there is a lot of room to be the party of middle-America, but it’s going to take a lot more than re-branding.Report

  2. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    When you think about it, a majority built around this solid middle-American base should beat the disjointed liberal rich/poor coalition.

    Except….the middle is shrinking.
    instead of being 4std away from the mean, it’s 2std and shrinkin’ to 1.
    Perhaps it looked like 32/50/18 in 2004……now it looks more like 32/28/40…..and the increase is shaved from the higher SES higher IQ right side of the distribution… educated and the high IQ youth are two lost demographics the GOP can ill afford to lose.
    Interesting to overlay SES, education, or political affiliation over the bellcurve of IQReport

  3. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    SES is Socio-Economic Status.Report

  4. ED – when he talks about Gingrich, he’s not saying the party should be “like” Gingrich temperamentally or even ideologically, he’s saying that Gingrich’s 80% issues are issues around which conservatives can rally and which will have appeal to the vast majority of Americans (literally, 80%). Whatever you may think of Gingrich personally, this strategy has a lot of merit to it, and something similar to it is generally credited as playing a huge role in the 1994 GOP takeover of Congress (the Contract with America was simply a statement of positions behind which conservatives were united and which had supermajority appeal amongst the electorate as a whole).

    Anyways, I’m glad Freddie brought Ruffini’s post up because otherwise I would have done so (when I get the chance, I’ll get a full response up on this). I mostly agree with Ruffini , but I think the 80% solution is a short-term fix at best….hopefully, more later.Report

  5. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    And I’m not sure the 80% strategy is even all that accurate to begin with, and certainly the substance of that strategy needs to be overhauled entirely…Report

  6. “And I’m not sure the 80% strategy is even all that accurate to begin with, and certainly the substance of that strategy needs to be overhauled entirely…”

    Please elaborate. I have my problems with the 80/20 issues that Gingrich wants to emphasize, but I don’t doubt that the polling data to support them is accurate.Report

  7. Avatar BP says:

    DeLong’s response was better.

    ‘Americans are against, not for, tax cuts for the rich. Americans are against, not for, Great Depressions.’Report

  8. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    I too think the 80% strategy is magical thinking.
    It is reminiscent of the trope– ” America is a CENTER RIGHT nation”.
    Apparently, we are actually a center left nation, pace 2008.
    More campfire songs.Report

  9. Avatar matoko_chan says:

    And also….

    “We need to be confident, like the left is, that we are the natural governing party because our ideas are in alignment with basic American principles, and quit treating middle class, working class, or rural Americans like an interest group to be mollified by symbolic, substance-free BS.”

    Is it really possible that Ruffini doesn’t understand that a mob imposing religious mores on other citizens is simply not in alignment with basic American principles?
    The socon agenda is the foul black gangreneous limb of conservatism.
    “Reform” conservatism cannot exist without an amputation.Report

  10. Avatar Freddie says:

    DeLong’s response was better.

    True. But then, Brad Delong is a better blogger than I am.Report

  11. Mark, ED,

    Speaking to the Gingrich verses Reagan notion…. I think where Gingrich excelled was that, at least intially, he wasn’t leading an opposition movement, he was leading a alternative movement. The Contract with America was a master stroke because it spelled out precise alternatives to the current policies and made specific promises. Reagan was very good at speaking to the abstract (which is why the Obama comparisons). As the opposition that wants to be a viable alternative, we have to offer clear policy proposals. We aren’t currently doing that. Selecting ‘80%’ issues is a great way to start building a successful alternative platform.Report

  12. Mike: In many ways, I agree with you, which is why I think the Gingrich idea is not a bad one. I just don’t think it can be more than a temporary band-aid. But even if it’s just a temporary fix, it’s not something that has any real downside to it. I think it suffers from another shortcoming, which is that the economic crises has placed the public’s focus squarely on issues where an 80/20 consensus is just about impossible. Still, like I said, it doesn’t have any downside, and it at least gets the Republicans talking about things that are relevant and don’t just sound like tired old cliches.Report

  13. Mark, I agree that 80/20 is really hard right now given the political environment ( the search for relevance on the Right and the sense of mandate on the Left). I also think big legislation often breeds partisanship.

    I had hoped back in November that Obama would roll out elements of the stimulus / economic recovery in several accelerated phases. Give them all catchy names like Recovery 1, Recovery 2, etc (although that kind of sounds like space probes). That way we could debate each phase separately and then I think 80/20 moments are more possible. Lumping it all into one huge bill almost guarantees we come down along party lines.Report

  14. Avatar Plan-9 says:

    matoko_chan said

    Except….the middle is shrinking.
    Larrison had an excellent post at AmCon on this very topic and has his own thoughts on Ruffini’s article.Report

  15. Avatar Plan-9 says:

    well, oops, in attempting to quote matoko-chan I seem to have gotten the avatar, apologies.Report

  16. Avatar Ottovbvs says:

    Freddie, you couldn’t be more right. Talking about small govt when the combined federal and state budgets last year, let alone this year, totalled $4.5 trillion is just another one of those myths we are so totally in love with in the US. $4.5 trillion is several times the govt spending of any other sovereign state in the world. As is frequently pointed out our military expenditures IN TOTAL are more than the rest of the world combined. Is this the sort of small govt were talking about. Then ask the American electorate over 65 to give up SS when for 80% of them it’s AT LEAST 50% of their total income…for 50% of them it’s 100% OF THEIR TOTAL INCOME. In short the whole conservative perception of the problem is skewed. But then conservatism seems to have lost the faculty of being clear eyed about things.Report

  17. Avatar Mark says:

    Not that I think Ruffini would ever intentionally exclude [racial minorities and women]

    Much as I try to avoid the argument ad hominem, I’m going to have to disagree. My girlfriend went to high school with Ruffini in Greenwich, CT. He was, by all accounts, a sexist right-wing nut in one of America’s richest towns.Report

  18. Avatar Noonan says:

    You make a good point about Americans generally liking federal programs despite the rhetoric. That’s why Obama’s proposal to make improvements to health care – lowering the cost for businesses and individuals – while making it universal is a big worry for the GOP. Once Americans get a successful program it’s nearly impossible to get rid of it.Report

  19. ‘They are not dedicated to the idea to the degree that they are actually willing to sacrifice to make it a reality.’

    You summed up why I don’t believe in the Republican party platform. It’s the hypocrisy (also exemplified when asking for small government but restricting a woman’s right to control her health) and insult to my intelligence that amazes me.Report

  20. Noonan:
    Why do you think that people like Bill “William the Bloody” Kristol were so adamant that Clinton’s health care overhaul be killed?Report