Leveling With Voters Could Revive GOP

Look at Britain: a tough austerity program has emboldened the right
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2009 8:22 AM CDT
George Osborne of Britain's opposition Conservative Party gives his keynote speech at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, England, Monday, Sept. 29, 2008.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – The economy might be in shambles, but Republicans are offering no alternative plan to ward off mounting American debt—insisting on yet more tax cuts and refusing to cut into bloated Medicare. David Brooks suggests they take a lesson from their British cousins, the Tories, who are poised to win next year's election on an austere platform of public sector cuts and high taxes. They're treating voters like adults, says the New York Times columnist, "offering not merely pain, but a different economic vision."

George Osborne, the Tories' economic spokesman and likely Britain's next chancellor, gave a hard-edged speech last week in which he refused easy conservative promises: no tax cuts for the rich when the poor are suffering, and no gratuitous cuts to public services on which the poor depend. It may not sound like fun, but his party is riding high in the polls after 12 years of Blair and Brown. "If any Republican is looking for a way forward," says Brooks, "start by doing what they’re doing across the Atlantic."