Saturday, June 28, 2008

grand new party on the horizon

Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam's new book, "Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream," has built itself some politico buzz thanks to opportune timing and a novel perspective on how to revive an ailing Republican party. A few people forwarded me David Brook's review of the book, which is certainly worth a read.

Brooks' review is about more than this specific book, but about the greater movement of "young and unpredictable rightward-leaning writers.
"These writers came of age as official conservatism slipped into decrepitude. Most of them were dismayed by what the Republican Party had become under Tom DeLay and seemed put off by the shock-jock rhetorical style of Ann Coulter. As a result, most have the conviction — which was rare in earlier generations — that something is fundamentally wrong with the right, and it needs to be fixed."

Brooks points specifically to Megan McArdle and Will Wilkinson - two of my favorite bloggers - as examples of the "new" Republican archetype.

Brooks believes that these writers will fill the conservative "intellectual vacuum" that currently hampers the Republicans:

"Liberals have a way to address these inequalities — the creation of a Denmark-style welfare state. Conservatives have offered almost nothing. The G.O.P. has lost contact with its own working-class base. This is the intellectual vacuum that “Grand New Party” seeks to fill."

What will the basis of the the Grand New Party? Douthat and Salam write, "It's hard-work conservatism, which uses government to increase the odds that self-discipline and effort will pay off."

Sounds excellent to me, and I think this would be a good thing for Democrats as well (though elections would be harder to win...) Will it happen? I doubt we'll say a Republican revolution, but perhaps we'll see a change of face and leadership more in tune with this Grand New Party.

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