There has been lots of talk that Paul Ryan’s nomination ensures that we’ll now have a “real” debate about the role of government. That’s actually funny. The bar for this campaign is so low that we celebrate the fact that it might include a serious debate about one of the four great issues of the day, though even that is not clear yet. And even if Ryan’s entry does spark a meaningful debate about one of the great issues facing America — the nexus of debt, taxes and entitlements — there is little sign that we’ll seriously debate our other three major challenges: how to generate growth and upgrade the skills of every American in an age when the merger of globalization and the information technology revolution means every good job requires more education; how to meet our energy and climate challenges; and how to create an immigration policy that will treat those who are here illegally humanely, while opening America to the world’s most talented immigrants, whom we need to remain the world’s most innovative economy.
But what’s even more troubling is that we need more than debates. That’s all we’ve been having. We need deals on all four issues as soon as this election is over, and I just don’t see that happening unless “conservatives” retake the Republican Party from the “radicals” — that is, the Tea Party base. America today desperately needs a serious, thoughtful, credible 21st-century “conservative” opposition to President Obama, and we don’t have that, even though the voices are out there.
Imagine if the G.O.P.’s position on debt was set by Senator Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who has challenged the no-tax lunacy of Grover Norquist and served on the Simpson-Bowles commission and voted for its final plan (unlike Ryan). That plan included both increased tax revenues and spending cuts as the only way to fix our long-term fiscal imbalances. Give me a Republican Party that says we have to put real tax revenues and spending cuts on the table to solve this problem, and you’ll get a deal with Obama, who has already offered both, although not at the scale we need. True conservatives know that both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush used both tax revenue and spending cuts to fix budget shortfalls. Ryan-led G.O.P. radicals say “no new taxes,” find all the savings through spending cuts. That’s never going to happen — and shouldn’t.
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Friedman hits it out of the park on this one ... and that comment comes from a democrat. As I've said before, while I don't agree with most republican principles, I would like at least to be able to RESPECT the man on the other side of the argument. Frankly, I haven't been able to do that for a very long time, and the increasing radicalization of the GOP doesn't just have me concerned; it has me downright frightened.
The TEA Party and the Religious Reich have basically stolen the republican party, for all intents and purposes. They're acting like the spoiled brat / bully who doesn't play well with others and MUST have his way, or here come the tantrums! Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible, yet as things are, very little is possible with one party cranked so far to the right.
Moderate republicans need to show me some cojones and speak out. I just wonder when that'll happen.
I'm a goldwater republican myself, and frankly, Im probably going to cheer for Barry.