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Monday, May 15, 2006

A Coming Tsunami -- The Republicans' Bankruptcy of Ideas

Karl Rove and his minions have plumb run out of issues to campaign on. They can't run on the war. They can't run on the economy, in which the positive numbers on growth are offset by the largely stagnant numbers on median incomes and the public's growing dread of outsourcing. Immigration may play in various congressional districts, but it's too dicey an issue to nationalize. Even social conservatives may be growing weary of outlawing gay marriage every other November. Nobody's buying the ownership society. Competence? Ethics? You kidding?
 
The Republicans' problem is not simply their inability to run their government and wage their war of choice. It is also their bankruptcy of ideas.
 
On taxes, the Republican legislative leaders' priorities are to make permanent the tax cut on investment income and to repeal the estate tax -- economics, as ever, for our wealthiest 1 percent. (This at a time when the entire theory of trickle-down has been negated by the propensity of U.S. corporations to use their shareholders' investments to expand abroad, rather than at home.) On energy, the notions of tougher fuel-economy standards and mandating a shift to renewable energy sources are so alien to the Republicans' DNA that they come forth with such proposals as Bill Frist's $100 rebate -- the most short-lived legislative initiative in recent memory.
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