Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Grand New Party

That is the title of a new wingnut book by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam. It also has a subtitle, natch: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream. I immediately started thinking of alternative subtitles for the book:

The Grand New Party: Why Being a Banana in a Banana Republic Is Good For You.

The Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the War Against the Working Class.

The Grand New Party: Sharks, Dead White Women And Rapture.

And so on, though that last one is a little bizarre.

But the short description of the Douthat-Salam book actually sounds a little interesting:

It's chock full of interesting economic ideas that Republicans can use to better appeal to working-class voters and families. Among them: massively expanding the tax credit for children, a "GI bill" of tuition tax credits for stay-at-home parents who want to get back into the workforce, and government investment in a better telecommunications infrastructure to boost telecommuting.

How odd. The book actually proposes government money to help ordinary people! Like those middle-of-the-roadies do, the ones wingnuts usually call commies. Or like the progressives tend to recommend. Indeed, the proposals make these Republicans come across as -- Democrats!

But a closer reading of the list of recommendations reveals something even more interesting: All these things are meant to bolster the traditional family arrangements, to keep mothers at home and to encourage high rates of fertility. The summary description doesn't tell us what support, if any, non-traditional families would get. I bet there would be none, even though the members of those non-traditional families would still be paying the taxes to fund the programs.

I may be overly suspicious. Probably not, though, because the authors are social conservatives, after all.