Sunday, February 11, 2007

Soul of Each Party?

As Presidential contenders prepare for Iowa, New Hampshire and the rest of the primaries, candidates in both parties are flip-flopping to get primary votes. We see, if nothing else, what politicians think they must say to win votes from primary voters. This gives us an opportunity to see what the base of each party considers important.

First the Democrats:

As the Democratic Party presidential aspirants finished their speeches last week to the Democratic Party winter meeting, the early big political fact is the dangerous populist and anti-war pull that the candidates feel. This is particularly dangerous for Sen. Hillary Clinton as she ratchets up, almost weekly, her anti-war Iraqi rhetoric and policy.

Hillary Clinton apparently felt the need for these swiftly escalating efforts at flamboyant anti-warism to match the "bring the troops home within months" proposals of her two strongest challengers: former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Obama.

Compounding this dangerous leftward pull on the Democratic Party presidential aspirants is the fierce economic populist message of former Sen. Edwards, who is currently running disconcertingly (for Clinton and Obama) strongly nationwide -- particularly in Iowa. As he increases his tax-the-rich, class-envy rhetoric (a message that episodically works well in the odd state and in the personal injury courtroom, but has not yet elected a president in the modern era), I suspect that Obama and Clinton may feel the pressure to at least partially match such divisive policy.

The Democrat base wants to tax the rich and pull the troops out of the middle east. The economics is Marxist and the foreign policy is New Leftist anti-Americanism. You could call the left’s foreign policy Marxist-Leninist, as their opposition to the war is premised on the idea that America and capitalism are imperialistic and we should leave the rest of the world alone.

Now the Republicans:

After refusing to endorse President Bush’s tax cuts when he was governor, Mitt Romney has now made them a central part of his presidential campaign, stirring accusations that he is changing his position to appeal to GOP primary voters.

In 2003, Romney stunned a roomful of Bay State congressmen by telling them that he would not publicly support Bush’s tax cuts, which at the time formed the centerpiece of the president’s domestic agenda. He even said he was open to a federal gas tax hike.

In a key policy speech in Detroit yesterday, Romney said it is “absolutely critical” to renew President Bush’s tax cuts, set to expire in 2010, to help spur economic growth. It is a stance he has repeated in recent days.

“Which course is better for America?” Romney said. “A European model of high taxes and regulations? Or, low taxes and free trade: the Ronald Reagan model? Some are already fighting to implement a massive tax increase. Instead, we should make the tax cuts permanent.”

So Republicans, whether they mean it or not, at least have to pretend to the base that they are for less government and lower taxes.

Call me concrete-bound, but when I read things like this, the threat of a Republican theocracy seems like a floating castle in the air. I have a hard time tying it to facts of reality. But I’m open to persuasion. If the primary voters reject Giuliani because he is pro-choice, that will certainly be an ominous sign.

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