The Democrats are a potential majority party in need of a major idea with potential. The major idea that built a Republican majority starting with Ronald Reagan's election was simple: cutting income taxes, with or without cuts in spending. The Republicans reduced income tax rates and then they cut big holes in those rates by creating new or enlarged tax credits available only to Americans who pay income tax.
Meanwhile payroll taxes have risen for working Americans who, because they pay little or no income tax, are ineligible for a range of tax breaks from the $1,000-a-year child tax credit to the home mortgage interest deduction.
In the October print issue of the Prospect, James Lindsay reviewed two new books offering alternative progressive foreign policy visions -- Michael Lind'sThe American Way of Strategy and Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman's Ethical Realism. Today, those books' authors reply to Lindsay. Lind's response is below. See Lieven and Hulsman's response here.
Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed The Reagan Legacy by Bruce Bartlett (Doubleday, 310 pages, $26.00)
Even before it was published, Bruce Bartlett's Impostor had a dramatic effect: It cost Bartlett his job as a policy analyst at a conservative think tank, the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), based in Dallas. Bartlett, a veteran of the Reagan White House and the elder Bush's Treasury Department, clearly has the courage of his convictions. But those convictions are so extreme that, far from damaging George W. Bush with his critique, Bartlett makes the president look like a moderate.
Is the Democratic Party becoming the New England party? In 2004, the candidates who dominated the Democratic presidential primaries, beginning with the one in New Hampshire, were Howard Dean of Vermont and John Kerry of Massachusetts. In 2004, as in 1988, the Democrats nominated a liberal Massachusetts politician to run against a conservative member of the Bush family from Texas. And each time, the Texan won a majority of the popular vote as well as the electoral vote. This time, the senator from Massachusetts lost in part because the decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court to legalize gay marriage galvanized socially conservative voters across the nation, who turned out to pass 11 state referenda against gay marriage.