Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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March 22, 2013

The unpopular party

It is not just the winter of Republican discontent. It will in all likelihood be the spring, summer, and fall, as well.

The national party is leaderless and nearly issueless, but besides that, is thriving and in fine fighting trim.

It used to be that the Republicans were nasty people because they exploited "wedge issues," which was the pejorative way to describe issues that were popular with the public but made Democrats uncomfortable. The phrase has been retired. Even if it weren't, it's not clear what Republican issue it would apply to anymore.

Once, taxes and national security were the party's pillars, supplemented by domestic issues like welfare reform and crime and by symbolic issues like the Pledge of Allegiance and flag burning. Now, the pillars are in disrepair.

Cuts in income taxes don't have the same resonance because rates are so much lower than 30 years ago. Republicans formerly had success with across-the-board tax cuts that reduced rates at the top and for everyone else. By focusing on raising rates on the top, Obama has forced them into almost exclusively defending "tax cuts for the rich."

In theory, national security is still a Republican strength, but it doesn't have as much resonance as in the years after Sept. 11.

The party's premier new idea during the past few years is Medicare premium support, a worthy and creative proposal and, as it happens, an unpopular one.

The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll has Democrats leading on: looking out for the middle class, Medicare, health care, reducing gun violence, Social Security, immigration, taxes, and the economy. The good news for Republicans is that they lead on everything else. The bad news is that everything else is only spending, the deficit, and national security.

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Commentary
  • Benefits of hiking minimum wage are just an illusion |I don’t know anyone averse to making more money. Sure, I have friends who demonstrate, through words and actions, that money is not the most important thing in their lives. But I haven’t seen one of them turn down a raise. I wouldn’t, either. (That'

    March 3, 2014

  • Benefits of hiking minimum wage are just an illusion |I don’t know anyone averse to making more money. Sure, I have friends who demonstrate, through words and actions, that money is not the most important thing in their lives. But I haven’t seen one of them turn down a raise. I wouldn’t, either. (That'

    March 3, 2014

  • Letter to the editor |To the Editor: As the dust has settled somewhat in the state legislature over HJR-3, with its endless debates, and other matters are given credence in the media, I'm given to reflecting on a phrase made famous by a folk singer of the 1960s who harmo

    February 27, 2014

  • Letter to the editor |To the Editor: As the dust has settled somewhat in the state legislature over HJR-3, with its endless debates, and other matters are given credence in the media, I'm given to reflecting on a phrase made famous by a folk singer of the 1960s who harmo

    February 27, 2014

  • A military budget of delusion |The Obama administration says that we need to end what it calls "the era of austerity" in Washington. Notably excluded from this admonition is the one department of government that is actually experiencing austerity worthy of the name. Defense Secre

    February 26, 2014

  • Brent Glasgow Sherman, Miller apples of the same tree

    There was a wide array of reactions to Seattle DB Richard Sherman’s post-game “interview” with Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ NFC title win over San Francisco.

    Mine? Laughter, as the shout-down was the most entertaining thing I saw all day.

    January 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Cash greener, but grass not so far for Butler

    Butler is still a long way from saving its 2013-14 men’s basketball season, but if the Bulldogs turn it around fully and reach the NCAA Tournament, it will have started this past Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

    January 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Downer finale doesn’t change Colts’ positives

    A fine season for the Indianapolis Colts ended with a whimper Saturday at New England, but in recent team history, it was far from the most disappointing postseason defeat.

    January 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Glasgow Colts have chance to pen masterpiece

    The Indianapolis Colts’ miraculous 45-44 wild card victory over Kansas City on Saturday ended just after 8 p.m. After leaving Lucas Oil Stadium, it took until around midnight for the pounding in my head to subside.

    January 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • A manufactured ADHD epidemic If at any time while reading this article your attention wanders, you may have ADHD. If you pause to check your e-mail sometime during the next three paragraphs, you should consult a doctor. If you fail to read this article all the way to the end, yo

    December 31, 2013

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