Republican Overreach

REPUBLICAN OVERREACH….As it turns out, blogging is probably going to be light for a while even though I’m no longer on vacation. I have to catch up on some work before an out of town guest arrives, and that means I actually have to work a little more diligently than I usually do when deadlines aren’t looming.

However, as I was skimming through the blogs this weekend, I noticed this post from Matt Yglesias that I recommend. Matt was linking to a post by John Holbo, and both are scratching their heads trying to figure out just what the Republicans are up to these days. As John says, “I’m not usually the sort of Dem who habitually talks as if all Reps all want to melt down babies for Soylent Green for Halliburton,” which makes it hard to figure out just what it is they do want.

Here’s what I think is going on. A while back I had an email exchange with another blogger who said that the problem with Democrats is that they’re under the misguided impression that their social policies are actually popular. So they keep banging away on guns and abortion and gays and they don’t realize that the country just isn’t with them.

As it happens, I don’t agree with most of that, but let’s leave it alone for now and apply the same thought to the Republicans. Every party in power eventually overreaches, and I think the Republicans are on the verge of doing this right now because they keep fooling themselves into thinking their economic policies are popular. But they aren’t. Sure, no one wants to pay taxes, but eventually we’ll have to make a choice between cutting taxes and cutting Social Security and Medicare and other programs, and Republicans are going to learn what they know in their hearts already: these programs are a lot more popular than tax cuts. When that day comes, the Republicans will be out on their ears.

I know conservatives hate to face up to this, and libertarians hate it even more, but the social safety net is really, really popular. You screw with it at your peril, and sometime soon it’s going to become clear that Republicans have no support for a policy that’s designed to cut back on them. The only question is, is “sometime soon” 2004 or 2008?

Matt is right about their foreign policy too, by the way. More about that later, but for now it’s back to work for me.