Remember when Republicans were totally going to be the Party of Ideas (TM) because a small group of conservative intellectuals with little discernible influence on Republican legislators thought that George W. Bush-style supply side politics should be supplemented by some feints towards the middle class?
Well, funny thing about that. Reformocon darlings Mike Lee and Marco Rubio have taken their massive regressive tax cut and made it…much, more more regressive, eliminating taxes on investment and inherited income entirely. So are reformocons upset about the betrayal? Is the Pope a Seventh Day Adventist?
Perhaps the fullest measure of the supply-siders’ triumph can be seen in the acquiescence of many of the reformicons themselves. Ramesh Ponnuru and Yuval Levin, both reform conservatives featured prominently in the Times story, responded to the new Lee-Rubio plan with fawning praise. James Pethokoukis, a reformist conservative, calls the plan “a big step toward persuading middle-income America that Republicans care about more than just the richest 1 percent.” (If this is a big step toward persuading America that Republicans care about more than the rich, what would the next step be? Legalizing servant-flogging?)
Perhaps the reform conservatives have capitulated completely in the name of party unity. Or maybe they were misunderstood from the beginning and never proposed to deviate in any substantive way from the traditional platform of massively regressive, debt-financed tax-cutting. Either way, the movement has, for now, accomplished less than nothing.
But, gee, I can’t wait to hear their alternative health care proposal!