Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Huzzah! Nicole Gelinas solves the Republican quandry

I was fortunate a few weeks ago to moderate a symposium with City Journal editor Nicole Gelinas as a presenter. I've been reading her pieces for years now, and always found her to moderate and insightful, and she proved to be no less so in person. Going back on some earlier pieces, I came across this gem:
"Americans don’t see abject government incompetence as an argument for no government. They see it as an argument for a government that is at least passably competent at fundamental tasks. Republicans do the country a disservice by not recognizing this truth. And since some Democrats seem to confuse Americans’ desire for a competent government with a desire for a government that does everything—a disastrous misstep in the opposite direction—Republicans need to provide a rational counterweight."
Yes, I think that's about right. From "Jindal's Missed Opportunity." Maybe this isn't sufficient, but it's a productive suggestion, and I think it threads the needle of offering something of appeal and value to everyday voters while not meaningfully violating core principles.

2 comments:

Rob said...

How long-term a strategy is this, though? I'd agree that at some point Americans will chafe against a "government that does everything." But couldn't we still be quite far away from that point? Some Republicans seemed to think the stimulus would do it, but it didn't. Now some think it'll be health care. I doubt it. I'd say if the game is to sit back and wait for overreach, that WILL eventually work. But it might not work for a long time.

Saxdrop said...

well the quote i picked and the passage i emphasized may mischaracterize her overall pitch.

if you havent had a chance, read the whole thing. her vision is much less reactionary than this selection implies, and much more of a reasonable governing philosophy based on how most people think of govt.