Signs of Hope—David Frum
The current state of conservatism presents a grim picture. Yet there are also signs of hope, evidences of intellectual openness and readiness for problem-solving. We’ll try to monitor them here:
Today's entry is former NPR journalist Juan Williams who has made himself the darling of conservatives with his vigorous public stand against political correctness. Today in The Hill, Williams writes an editorial pointing out that you can't criticize the Obama stimulus without criticizing the Republicans' favorite policy response to any crisis: tax cuts.
Ninety-five percent of all Americans got a tax cut under the plan. Small businesses and working families received a tax cut. First-time homebuyers received a tax credit. Parents caring for their young children received a tax credit. Some 8 million people received tax credits and financial assistance to help pay for their college education.
The next time a Republican brags about his or her opposition to the failed stimulus, a cynic might respond by asking why they hate tax cuts so much.
Maybe Williams' new respect from the Fox News crowd will help give his arguments the hearing they deserve.
Of course, the president will say the unemployment rate would look a lot better if congressional Republicans would just pass a jobs bill similar to the one he proposed at the end of last year.
And the president can argue that if the GOP would work with him to pass a deficit-reduction plan, similar to Simpson-Bowles, which raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans, the deficit could be brought under control.
When Ronald Reagan ran against Jimmy Carter in 1980, he asked the voters “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” They said no and elected Reagan in a landslide.
In 2012, a similar question can be asked: “Is the economy better off than it was four years ago?”
The factual answer is yes, and the stimulus is a large part of the reason why.