The Magazine

What Is the Matter with Kansas?

Economic populism makes a comeback.

Nov 20, 2006, Vol. 12, No. 10 • By REIHAN SALAM and ROSS DOUTHAT
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This gap between what the Democrats are promising and what they can deliver offers a renewed opportunity to the GOP. To date, Republicans have failed to come to grips with the issue of economic insecurity, offering table scraps and tax credits in place of real solutions. This signal failure is the reason that the Bush-Rove vision of a lasting Republican majority has hovered just beyond the GOP's reach. It's easy, however, to imagine a renewed "ownership agenda" focused on spreading capital ownership, freeing workers from employer-based health care, rewarding low-wage work, and defending the interests of hard-pressed parents. The question is whether Republicans, in their present state of drift and disarray, will be farsighted enough to embrace it.

Ross Douthat, an associate editor at the Atlantic Monthly, and Reihan Salam, a writer in Washington, are at work on a book on the future of the GOP.