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Elizabeth Warren and Her Party of Ideas

6 625 6206
08.01.2019

Almost 40 years have passed since Daniel Patrick Moynihan — a serious intellectual turned influential politician ­— made waves by declaring, “Of a sudden, Republicans have become a party of ideas.” He didn’t say that they were good ideas; but the G.O.P. seemed to him to be open to new thinking in a way Democrats weren’t.

But that was a long time ago. Today’s G.O.P. is a party of closed minds, hostile to expertise, aggressively uninterested in evidence, whose idea of a policy argument involves loudly repeating the same old debunked doctrines. Paul Ryan’s “innovative” proposals of 2011 (cut taxes and privatize Medicare) were almost indistinguishable from those of Newt Gingrich in 1995.

Meanwhile, Democrats have experienced an intellectual renaissance. They have emerged from their 1990s cringe; they’re no longer afraid to challenge conservative pieties; and there’s a lot of serious, well-informed intraparty debate about issues from health care to climate change.

You don’t have to agree with any of the various Medicare for All plans, or proposals for a Green New Deal, to recognize that these are important ideas receiving serious discussion.

The question is whether our media environment can handle a real party of ideas. Can news organizations tell the difference between genuine policy wonks and poseurs........

© The New York Times