Sunday, June 14, 2009

The limits of Republican 'rethink'

A useful Times article about Republicans beginning to rethink the Reagan mystique points toward without quite focusing on an elemental political truth: success ought to (but rarely does) suggest its own limits. If you succeed in cutting taxes, you can't indefinitely keep cutting taxes. If you succeed in building up the military, you can't indefinitely keep building up the military. If you succeed in reducing regulation, you can't indefinitely keep reducing regulation.

Here's the Times' chief example of a Republican "rethink":
“I don’t use him publicly as a reference point,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a Republican who lately has emerged as a potential national party leader. Mr. Daniels instead has urged fellow Republicans to “let go” of Mr. Reagan as a contemporary symbol....

Mr. Daniels, too, hails his former boss for “timeless” principles like suspicion of big government and appreciation of the importance of individual freedom and opportunity. As he tackles issues in Indiana — education policy lately is a hot topic — he says he asks himself whether Mr. Reagan would approve.
There's no indication that Daniels has asked himself whether Reagan's policies fit the country's needs today.

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