Patrick Ruffini takes up my challenge to put some meat on the ideological bones. While I agree with most, I would re-emphasize. First, we have a set of broad principles:

  • Win the War on Terror and advance human rights around the world
  • Embrace globalization and economic competitiveness as a way to improve the lives of Americans and others
  • Enhance American economic security, in the context of globalization, with new education, healthcare, and retirement options
  • Renew a faith in American institutions through enhanced openness and transparency.
  • Help parents raise their children in a safer, stronger environment.

Clearly, there will be a slurry of policies to achieve these. But here are some:

  • Foreground human rights in our international relations. This gives us moral high ground and, therefore, a lever over other people. This would include:
    • Raising human rights in China on a high level and at a grassroots level. Also gives us an additional lever to beat them with.
    • Continuing on the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and expanding to things like the ONE campaign
    • Increasing our public diplomacy massively to communicate this
    • The Union of Democracies, including much stronger relations with India, including as a counter-point to China.
  • Embrace the opportunities of global economic competition:
    • Increase skilled labor immigration to the United States. Probably also need more unskilled labor, but that’s more controversial.
    • Lower the corporate tax rate to be competitive
    • Massively increase skills-based educational opportunities at the state level. Stronger community colleges. Probably increase tax breaks for this kind of stuff.
    • Simplify the tax code. (Probably can’t do a fair tax if you are doing all these tax expenditures. But you might be able to just grant money to do some of these things)
  • Economic security. I think that we have to recognize that protectionism and healthcare concerns are grounded in concerns about economic insecurity. This is important because we need to have a credible economic story to offer the working class. Some ideas:
    • Allow people to buy into large national pools based on some community factor. Unions and corporations have these, but technology and economics are making it inevitable that economic actors come in smaller units. How about other communities like neighborhood associations, churches, professional associations, etc.?
    • Private accounts in retirement
    • Private accounts in education like New America Foundation’s Kids Savings Accounts.
    • Good healthcare deregulation.
  • Faith in American institutions:
    • Ethics reform in Congress
    • Redistricting reform (so voters pick their politicians rather than vice-versa)
    • Open APIs (essentially an updated FOIA)
    • Background checks for Congress (you need them to serve in the administration and handle classified information, but why not Congress? But who actually holds the information?)
  • Helping parents raise kids. Not sure what to put here.

Just some thoughts



neil · August 9, 2007 at 12:39 PM

Win the War on Terror and advance human rights around the world

It’s pretty obvious to me that the “War on Terror” brand is now tainted with wars of conquest, torture and indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, enough so that pairing it with “human rights” is an idea whose horizon is long past. Maybe for domestic political consumption, but you’re not one of those Republicans who thinks that’s the only thing that matters, are you?

sampo · August 9, 2007 at 4:04 PM

If you didn’t hate the United States so much, unintended consequences could grant you some presepctive.

eye · August 9, 2007 at 6:33 PM


First, the war on terror is not going away, one way or the other.

Human rights are one of the few options that we have. Once Gitmo is shut down, we will really have to work on this issue.

So, ultimately, we will need to come back with that and other things. But, currently we have problems with international opinion. Big big problems.


eye · August 9, 2007 at 6:57 PM


Can we not attack people like that?


sampo · August 9, 2007 at 9:40 PM

Ok, going forward, I’ll abide by your rules.

But.. I take these allegations agaisnt the United States very seriously. They hit closer to home than a personal attack. When a poll states that some 5% of rurual Pakistanis believe that Osama bin Laden was behind 9-11 I take that VERY personally.

The issue IMO is not that the U.S. is an unjust and vindicitive country bent on conquest, torture, and slaughtering of civilians. The issues is that people are so blinded that they see what they want to see. These people, in my honest opinion, hate the country.

PEG · August 10, 2007 at 5:12 AM

I agree with all of these, except maybe the foreign policy stuff.

I think more emphasis, including an entire plank of the platform, should be placed on supporting families. This is important not just from a moral but from an economic standpoint, as social research shows families are an engine of growth and upward mobility. Plus electorally, this would be a good way to reconnect with the blue collars the GOP needs to be a majority, as they are the ones who are most badly struck by illegitimacy and family breakdown.

The law needs to build strong incentives for people to get married and to stay married, and this needs to be a pillar of a 21st century GOP agenda.

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