Thursday, February 5, 2009

Economic theory and the GOP

From the point of view of their own interests, it strikes me that the GOP could use a new theory of economics. The free-market model they are used to has lost immense amounts of credibility, and the future doesn't look any better for the increasingly worn doctrine. Does the GOP want to be the party of a few faithful surrounded by many adapting to new conditions? What happens when the few faithful pass along? What will be the GOP's public base? Can it stand on religion and war alone? What happens when the meaning of religion and war change? Will they get passed by while standing for 'principle' there too?

However, I agree the circumstances are tricky. The GOP should not want to jeopardize its closeness to America's power elite, which to me is the only reason the GOP would want to maintain the silly free-market message that the elite appreciate so much. But power relations are not everything. The GOP needs national public support, too. Because of this need, I tend to think the GOP should search for a new economic message, one that can resonate with increasingly reasoning Americans.


Barbara said...

Isn't America's power elite in transition? Donald Rumsfeld may have been powerful six or seven years ago, but today nobody cares what he thinks or wants--just as one example.

Media, Marketing, and Money said...

But the question is, even as the faces change, do the power elite's generalized interpretations of their interests stay the same?

In this sense, I think Dick Cheney is more instructive than Rumsfeld. Two big ideas of Cheney's -- the War on Terror and deficits don't matter -- still hang over America's politics, and especially Obama's White House.

But even Dick Cheney, as powerful an actor as he is, has credibility problems. And that's my point about the GOP and its theories, especially economic: they should attend to these credibility problems, learn from them, and develop new readings of where to go from here.