The second path toward political suicide goes in the opposite direction: toward politically impossible reforms favored by wonks. With the White House and the Senate still in Democratic hands, very little progress is likely to be made in reforming Social Security or Medicare. The Democrats will demonize any serious reforms as heatless attacks on the elderly and the sickly, preferring to score political points than to ameliorate the coming budgetary disasters promised by entitlement programs, as currently envisioned.
Given the certainty of irresponsible Democratic recalcitrance, forays into reducing the budgetary burdens of these popular entitlements are likely to do much damage to the Republicans, without producing any real effects on the government’s balance sheet. There is no honor in undermining the elections' political opportunities by dreaming impossible dreams of instituting sustainable and responsible entitlement reforms. Fools' errands should not be confused with the exercise of political prudence or principled leadership.
The road forward for the Republicans lies in not a compromise between the contradictory excesses of the Way of the Lobbyists or the Way of the Wonks. Instead, the Republicans should look with new eyes at the challenges the country faces—and the opportunities presented to them by the political scene.
In subsequent posts on NetNet—written by our editors and our readers—we’ll lay out a far more specific agenda for you as you take control of Congress.
Thanks for much for your time and attention,
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