The Conservative Third Way

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 14 2011 9:02 AM

The Conservative Third Way

That's what Steve Benen identifies in a post keying off my questions to Tim Pawlenty, about taxes.

We’ve come to think of the political divide, at least when it comes to the larger fight over expenditures and revenue, as a fight between the Republican and Democratic visions. Pawlenty and others are going to argue that both parties have adopted a liberal economic philosophy, which the GOP now intends to break.

Looking back at the Bush/Cheney era, most of which was dominated by Republican majorities in Congress, it didn’t occur to us to think, "Wow, it’s remarkable how the GOP has embraced economic liberalism!" But that’s what Pawlenty and other Republicans are going to ask voters to believe — the GOP of the Bush era spent too much, taxed too much, and raised the deficit too much.

Come to think of it, they’re likely to say the same thing about the Reagan era, too, since government grew in the ’80s; the deficit tripled; and tax rates were even higher then than now.


I'd just add that this is not new. It's what Republicans ran on in the 2007-2008 primaries. George W. Bush was already unpopular by then, but really the only acceptable jab at his economic policy was a jab from the right -- something John McCain used to win over the base. In McCain's telling, the failure to control earmarks and spending was the Bush/Hastert GOP's big failure, politically as well as on policy.

Conservatives have an accepted history of the last 30 years. It is: Reagan cut taxes and grew the economy. Republicans cut spending in the 90s and grew the economy. Bush Republicans increased spending and voters rejected them. And all of this proves that Keynesianism doesn't work.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 23 2014 9:01 AM Tristan Da Cunha: Life on the World's Most Remote Island
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:46 AM How Men Talk About Relationships in Rom-Coms: While Playing Sports
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.