The post-Romney Republicans really have changed some of their rhetoric: There’s been relatively little “makers vs. takers” material on the debate stage thus far, somewhat fewer “you built that” plaints for the long-suffering entrepreneurs, and more expressions of solidarity with people going paycheck to paycheck.
Yeah! Nobody’s talking about makers and takers! Except for, you know, THE ENTIRE FUCKING CANDIDACY OF SCOTT WALKER.
And hey, as long as they’re not saying it as much. With the words.
But overall it really is quite striking how little most of the candidates are offering on economic policy that strays from the “Saint Reagan as interpreted by the hierarchy of the Wall Street Journal” party baseline … and how much tax policy, especially, remains a race to the supply-side extreme, with Ted Cruz’s ten percent flat tax just the latest iteration in this pattern. For all the talk (from me, among others) about his candidacy as a proving ground for libertarian populism, Rand Paul has mostly just sounded like a very conventional government-cutter; for all his past forays into “opportunity conservatism,” Cruz is now as deep into supply-side cloud-cuckoo land on taxes as Ben Carson — about whose tax policy “ideas” the less said the better. (Though Peter Suderman says the necessary things.)
Yes. How striking. Much amazeballs. What the fuck. This is the same shit they’ve been peddling for years and Douthat is surprised they’re not changing it? Why should they? The most of these chucklefucks are not going to be president and they know it, and trying to actually speak to humans would harsh their Fox News cash-in. There’s no reason for them to stray from their brands.
The only exceptions, in different ways, are Trump and Rubio: Trump with his populist-nationalist case on trade and immigration and protecting entitlements, and Rubio on several different fronts at once, including education reform, a wage-subsidizing safety-net reform, a Social Security reform that isn’t just the “benefit cuts and private accounts” Republican usual, and his heterodox embrace of the child tax credit and a 35 (as opposed to 28 … or 17 … or 10!) percent top income tax rate.
Those happen to be the only two live ones, God, Ross, get with the fucking program. I will admit to having paid less attention to this year’s clown show than any other, mostly because come on, Hillary will clean two or three of these people like clocks and the only thing to determine is what brand of champagne we should be stocking for election night. Still, I have paid enough attention to know that Trump is in this now for his ego and for spite, and Rubio might be the only guy who actually wants it besides Cruz. Who looks like Oswald Cobblepot, and is never going to get elected.
So the only two exceptions happen to be guys who can offer reasonable facsimiles of being alive in their skin suits, and Ross wants us to congratulate them for it and plaintively whine about how nobody else seems to get how hard Republicans are on the middle class. They’re Republicans, buddy. Have you met them?