Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The future of the Republican party

They seem to have died down now, but for a while there was a bumper crop of articles speculating on the future of the Republican Party, and how it should reposition itself if it wanted to prosper in the future. Many of these articles were written by people who rarely if ever vote Republican. It was an interesting and revealing phenomenon.

There has rarely been as much euphoria over the results of an election as there were with the victory of Barack Obama. Progressives were quite confident that his election would usher in a new age for American. If you really believe that, you do have to wonder what the future holds for the party that stood in the way of that new age. Further, if the progressives are correct, there is no need for the Republican Party and it should fade into oblivion. Clearly many of those writing articles about the future of the Republicans came from that perspective.

On the other hand, many of those on the right are convinced that the Obama Administration will be a disaster. The problems in foreign affairs will not be solved with clever rhetoric--American power has not been a problem for the world but a blessing, and renouncing that power will result in more wars rather than fewer. The economy suffers not from a lack of government involvement, but rather from too much government involvement. Talking about more regulation and more taxes and more government control of the economy will depress economic activity, not stimulate it. Excessive monetary growth will cause inflation a year or two later. From the point of view of those on the right, the Republicans need only to regain their conservative positions, some of which were lost during the centrist Bush Administration, and wait for the inevitable collapse of Obama.

The Obama Administration is the closest thing to an economic experiment that we have seen in some time. It has embraced Keynesianism and rejected the supply-side view of economics. If it results in bringing peace and prosperity, it deserves to remain in power and the Republicans should become a minor political force. However, if it ushers in an age of inflation and slow growth plus world-wide instability, it deserves to be repudiated and the Democrats should become a minor political force. Neither of these may happen--the results may be somewhere in between. We do, however, live in interesting times.

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