Campaign for America’s Future chief Bob Borosage sets up the big challenge for the Republican candidates as they’re headed in to their debate tonight: figuring out how to talk about their failed governing philosophy:
Each of Bush’s signature failures — the war in Iraq, Hurricane Katrina, Enron and the corporate scandals, failed tax and trade policies, the attempt to privatize Social Security, the posturing around Terri Schiavo and stem cells — can be traced back not simply to the conservative ideology and ideologues that sired them — but to the basic concepts that Reagan championed. The Gipper can’t lead Republican candidates out of the wilderness because, to paraphrase, his conservatism is the problem, not the solution.
CAF is doing their part to bury the philosophy of conservatism dead like communism is dead. They’ve got a whole one day conference on just this going on today, with plenty of juicy updates at Rick “Before the Storm” Perlstein’s outstanding new weblog, The Big Con.
And Vanity Fair has another reminder of both this failed philosophy and why Giuliani is dangerous, despite his seemingly narrow chances of getting through the primary:
Rudy, arguably, is the most anti-family-values candidate in the race (this or any other). And yet, in some sense – which could be playing well with the right wing – what he may be doing is going to the deeper meaning of family values, which is about male prerogative, an older, stubborn, my-way-or-the-highway, when-men-were-men, don’t-tread-on-me kind of thing.
It’s all comes down to enforcing moral orders with conservatives, and the overwhelming majority of Americans don’t want to live in the country that results from this kind of dog eat dog approach.
Update: Howard Fineman tunes right into the creepy lizard brain aspect of this:
Commenting on the candidates, Fineman said, “There is a hierarchical, there is, dare I say it, male, there’s an old-line quality to them that some voters, indeed a lot of voters, find reassuring.”