Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Question for Conservatives

Party position on public policy are generally a combination of the interest group basis for the party, ideology, and politician self-interest. Maybe some other stuff, too. But certainly, interest groups matter, and many groups are not particularly interested in whether their preferences sort well with the implications of the party's ideological statements. This can, of course, lead to situations in which a party strongly supports a policy which would seem, on the surface, to be very much opposed to their ideology. That's not a bad thing in my view, but it leads to a lot of frustration among the more ideologically inclined party members (to the extent to which many ideologues will reject party identification, because the party isn't "really" conservative -- or, for the Dems, liberal).

Which interest group in the Republican party coalition do you think is most responsible for preventing the GOP from being a true conservative party?


  1. It's got to be big-farm.

  2. Is the GOP in fact conservative in sensu stricto?

  3. Counter-intuitively, the business wing. Their beguiling "free market good, taxes bad" stance hides the fact that corporatism is not free market at all.

    If we are being technical, though, pro-free market stances make one an economic liberal. Historically, economic conservatism meant you were in favor of a social hierarchy in which the nobility (upper class) preserved its wealth. So I guess by that definition, maybe they are the true conservative tent-pole of the Republican Party.

  4. Seniors.

    The conservative platform for three decades has been cut taxes. This is colliding with the popularity of federal spending for seniors. I think the platform will have to change because there is no way the GOP can win without the senior vote. I think this explains some of the hostility to Newt's comments last week.

  5. Another one, not discussed often, is the widespread rural poverty in the Republican L, a poverty that cannot easily be addressed by cherished conservative free market principles.

    Throw in the importance of rural Appalachian votes for the GOP in mid-Atlantic swing states (including Ohio) and you can see where the party has an identity problem that is not easily solved.


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