You know what, James Carville’s right: It’s the economy, stupid. That’s the phrase he coined in the 1992 presidential election and more or less was a guiding light during the Clinton administration years.
So, I’m giving a huge hat tip to Judge Glock of the Manhattan Institute for his excellent op-ed piece in today’s Wall Street Journal: “U.S. voters want limited government. Contrary to common belief, economic policy is an electoral strength for the Republican Party.”
Summarizing his thoughts, the idea is that so-called culture war wedge issues don’t work nearly as well for Republicans as the mainstream press might suggest, or frankly as some Republicans have been saying.
Now, caveat emptor: I’m not suggesting the GOP stop talking about all the crazy woke cancel culture — end American history, open borders, and the sex, gender, and race obsessions going on in our schools. I’m not saying these aren’t important issues, and Mr. Glock doesn’t go into detail on any of this. Yet I am saying that it’s all a matter of degree.
Also, I say that as a pro-life social conservative who believes however that economic growth and prosperity has been and will always be the winningest issue of Republican candidates, especially for national office, and most especially for president. The populist issue has been and remains limited government.
For nearly 50 years, maybe even more for all I know, the majority of Americans believe that the government is too large and taxes are too high, as Gallup polling points out when voters are asked if they prefer fewer services and lower taxes compared to more government services and higher taxes.
I would probably go a step further and say all presidential elections are decided by the outlook for peace and prosperity.
Right now, with the Biden economy mired in stagflation and the risk of outright recession growing amid sticky high prices, the limited-government economic message will be even more important for the GOP.
President Biden has given us the biggest volume of big government any of us have seen in our lifetimes, at least excluding World War II.
The recent EPA regulations alone would have the federal government essentially running the car industry, the fifth biggest sector in America, and virtually ending the fossil fuel business.
Mr. Biden is spending on an unprecedented scale all across the board: on social welfare benefits, he just recently proposed to include illegal immigrants in the Obamacare subsidies; of course there’s trillions of dollars on unproven green new deal climate obsessions; there’s never any work requirements in return for the federal benefits; his recent budget adds $5 trillion in tax hikes, and he’s already raised roughly a trillion dollars in taxes so far. It’s all government on a grand scale.
Many have said it’s the takeover of the Biden administration by a socialist senator, Bernie Sanders. Yes, but Mr. Sanders loves Sweden; Mr. Biden’s big-government socialism has gone way beyond Sweden.
Taking a cue from my dear friend and mentor, Art Laffer, I have been worried that the Republican leaders have not yet produced a true prosperity agenda, showing voters that they are capable and reliable guardians of economic growth.
That’s why it’s good to see Governor DeSantis, say, going after the inflationary policies of the Federal Reserve just recently, as highlighted in today’s Journal.
Also, good to see President Trump out just today with a paper and a video called “Liberating America from Biden’s regulatory onslaught.”
All the Republican leaders must talk about limited government, lower taxes, minimal regulations, and the sound, stable King Dollar. All of them should state the goal of at least 3.5-4 percent growth, which prevailed for 50 years after World War II but has slumped to less than 2 percent the last 25 years.
Let’s not ignore the culture war issues, but let’s remember the GOP does best when it sticks with first principles: limited government and economic growth.
From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox Business News.
Larry Kudlow was the Director of the National Economic Council under President Trump from 2018-2021. His Fox Business show "Kudlow" airs at 4 p.m &. and his radio show airs on 770 ABC from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.