Posted by Brad @ 1:17 pm on June 27th 2011

Speaking of Conservative Coalitions Cracking…

The editors of NRO officially follow the lead of their founder and declare the War on Drugs a failure.


  1. So let’s be optimistic, perhaps overly so, about the future conservative coalition behind the GOP.

    After a few difficult cycles (2012 at least?) they drop their across the board opposition to same-sex marriage nationally, they insist on state’s rights, but they give their local candidates in the Northeast and West the freedom to run on marriage equality as a pro-family value. For fairness, we’ll probably have to assume continued preaching about Judeo-Christian values, the importance of the family, and opposition to abortion.

    They continue their grumblings about the TSA and violations of civil liberties, but after the Obama Administration I think it’s more likely we just sort of wind down our War on Terror rhetoric than continue to wage it with more civil liberties friendly policies. By 2020 we’re out of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya’s over, the Middle East has largely started to calm down. Who else are we going to invade? Neoconservatives fade away.

    The GOP starts to tackle out of control spending at the state and federal lever related to the War on Drugs, just like Nixon went to China.

    Democrats are still the pro-choice party. Republicans are still in the pockets of Big Oil and favor big tax cuts for the rich.

    Let’s hand wave that between now and, say, 2020 we settle on something that largely takes Social Security and health care off the table. The partisans still fight around the edges for change in one or another direction, but there’s some sort of national consensus.

    It’s 2020 or 2024. What are the major issues in the presidential election?

    Comment by VALiberaltarian — 6/27/2011 @ 3:19 pm

  2. – Something global warming related
    – portability of marriage equality
    – You hand waved medicare and SS, but still hot
    – Chinese “economic dominance”
    – North Korean reconstruction aid package after The Incident
    – Israeli apartheid
    – Peak Velour

    Comment by Jack — 6/27/2011 @ 10:00 pm

  3. By 2020 we will have had at least one more trillion-dollar bailout of the financial sector. I suspect that there will be a great deal of discussion as to how to prevent it from happening a third time.

    That and the entitlements deficit (of which Social Security is only a small part) will be well into the process of absorbing all discretionary spending. It will not be possible to be a 2010 centrist under those circumstances; the fight will be between people who want to model European social democracy by retaining a welfare state with substantially higher taxes, and those who want to radically reduce entitlement obligations in the short term.

    Also, under sharp pressure from China, we will be discussing whether to abandon arms sales to Taiwan.

    Comment by Rojas — 6/28/2011 @ 12:30 am

  4. I agree on the global warming front, environmentalism, oil, and the like. So we can tie transportation and housing into that too. Tree huggers vs. big oil.

    I’m curious if Chinese economic dominance and issues of Taiwan will be a major issue in the future. I have my doubts about China’s future. It’s going to start to exhaust what it can do in terms of mass movement of peasants to the urbanized area and will need to foster domestic consumption. Which won’t be easy.

    I would be shocked if there’s a growing shift away from Israel among the United States. Polling shows strong sympathy with Israel vs. the Palestinians.

    In any case, we’re assuming that even with the Middle East wars fading away we’ll have some debate over the proper foreign policy response to whatever is going on, Israel, China, etc.

    The big question, which Rojas is right to challenge, is if we’ll have settled on some sort of entitlement solution by 2020 or if we’ll still be debating it. I think my point is that I have a very hard time seeing how we wrap up Obama’s first term and then have an additional eight years without seeing a victory on the fight. If Rojas wants to describe it as social democracy vs. the Ryan plan, sure. 2010 was already about that. 2012 will also be about that. Are you suggesting that 2014, 2016, and 2018 will all be about that and we’ll still be focused on that in 2020? My prediction is that by 2020, or at least 2024, entitlements will be tackled and one side or another will concede defeat. They will still be a hot issue, but it will be on the margins.

    Comment by VALiberaltarian — 6/28/2011 @ 11:13 am

  5. Individual elections are likely to produce incremental change; every increment will be resisted with gusto by those on the other side, and I don’t see many converts being won. If our tax burden is twice what it is now in 2020, we will still be fighting over whether it should be five percent higher than that, or whether services should be cut.

    Moreover, I have great confidence in the ability of the American people to defer difficult questions like this until the crisis point. We may have been debating solutions for the past several years, but in terms of actual policies implemented, we haven’t seen a smidgen of movement in the direction of alleviating the long-term deficit (unless you buy into the idea that Obamacare is likely to be part of the solution). We can easily have this same fight for nine more years and emerge from it with numerous plans under discussion and none under implementation.

    Comment by Rojas — 6/28/2011 @ 4:12 pm

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