Listening to the Majority Report last night a conservative caller talked about his disillusionment with Bush and company and his reluctance to support Democrats because, in contrast to Republicans, they fail to provide "ideas." Republicans provide ideas/ solutions and Democrats simply harp.
Sam and Janeanne gave the boilerplate progressive response: Democrats have plenty of ideas but they can't get them heard and policy proposals sit on shelves collecting dust because Republican majorities refuse to let them be considered. Pretty standard stuff.
But what typically drives me nuts in these exchanges is the part of the construct that goes unanswered: that Republicans have ideas. Why this argument that's so obviously false on it's face is taken as rote by progressives is beyond me. Conservative "ideas" aren't policies they've come up with after reviewing the problems facing us and looking for solutions. Conservative "ideas" are really the continuation of fights they lost against true progressive ideas 40, 50 and as much as 60 years ago. They just found a new way to paint the pig.
Conservatives tried for years to kill Roosevelt's New Deal and Johnson's Great Society and failed horribly time after time. In the court of public opinion most Americans saw the necessity of programs built to deal with poverty, hunger and health care for the weakest in our society. Conservatives eventually realized the impossibility of convincing Americans that it would be okay to sacrifice the elderly and poor on the alter of the free market. About the time of the Reagan Revolution they decided it was time to redress their arguments.
After consulting their Mary Kay Representative the conservatives took a look at their porcine philosophy and realized major work was in order if they were ever going to convince someone to buy it. So they went to work. A little blush on the cheeks and Welfare Reform was born. Some lipstick and we have Social Security Privitization. A little eyeshadow and we get the abolishment of the Death Tax.
Voila! New ideas.