9.07.2010

The lack of a contract says more about the GOP than Frum lets on

David Frum has an interesting article in today's CNN. He begins by asking:
Party strategists may have decided they don't need a manifesto: they are winning without one. They may also find it too difficult to agree on the manifesto's content: how do you appeal to Tea Party radicals and swing voters at the same time?
Well, I'd suggest that you'd do this by heavily emphasizing fiscal responsibility and prudence. You'd de-emphasize religious issues, and would make sure to not use this manifesto as a hanger for red-meat social issues. The Tea Party was, it bears repeating, originally based around taxation issues exclusively, and was in no way a social conservative movement. It still is that largely, which is why there seems to be a real overlap between swing voters and Tea Partiers. And in fact, Frum's manifesto goes directly to this reality, staying away from religious right issues entirely.

He also makes another fine point about the long-term wisdom of winning without a goal, one that has been made at LiB frequently in the recent past:
Post-election, though, Republicans will be sorry. The Contract with America helped to discipline the new Republican majority of 1994, enabling Republicans to help achieve important things: welfare reform, a cut in the capital gains tax, a balanced budget.

If Republican majorities arrive in Washington in 2011 without a program, the risk is very real they will fall into trouble: pick the wrong fights with the administration, fail to deliver results, share the blame if employment continues to lag.