The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Testing Red in the Laboratories of Democracy

The GOP has a plan to regain the upper hand on the national stage. They’re going to put their ideas to the test in red states. Finally, instead of the usual political struggle, replete with hot air and grandstanding, we have an honest-to-goodness policy race. The WSJ looks at the implications:

If successful, the combined tax cuts and pared government spending could reignite slumbering state economies and draw in new residents, while positioning Mr. Brownback and governors such as Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Indiana’s Mike Pence for potential White House bids.

But if they fall short, the policies could leave Kansas and other states scrambling to fill big budget holes for education and social services, while driving investors to other states.

The tax gambles under way in the red states contrast sharply with proposals put forward by some Democratic governors. The governors of Minnesota and Massachusetts have proposed raising income taxes while cutting the sales tax. The trend promises to create unusually stark divisions between conservative and liberal states.

Our guess here at Via Meadia: Both types of states can expect some twists and turns in the road. In our view neither conventional red nor blue thinking has all the answers we need.

But it’s absolutely the right course for politicians to put their convictions to the test and let the public judge the results. This is democracy at work and we are as curious as anybody else to see how it comes out.

Published on February 5, 2013 9:00 am