“Republicanizing” the Democrats

“Republicanizing” the Democrats

When Teddy Kennedy was asked what he thought of the Democratic neoliberals, he is said to have responded: “We don’t need two Republican parties.” There is a good deal of substance to Kennedy’s quip. Many of the neoliberals, including two of the most prominent, Paul Tsongas and Bill Bradley, are former Republicans. Others, such as Timothy Wirth, a rising star in the House, represent traditionally Republican districts. Still others, such as Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, who has been close to David Stockman, and Sen. Gary Hart, who borrowed some of his economic views from Gerald Ford’s adviser William Simon, are in many ways indistinguishable from their high-tech colleagues across the aisle. In a sense, Tsongas gave the game away when he admitted to a reporter that “the greatest danger to the Democrats is a rational Ronald Reagan…If Reagan is capable of stripping away his ideology…he could be the new FDR, because it would work, and there would be no reason to turn to the Democrats.”

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