OZY on the Right
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because some of our best friends are conservatives — we swear!
From Norway to the Beltway, and from the recent shutdown to future elections, OZY took a look at the state of the right.
Siv Jensen is a tough lady — the apposite Norwegian idiom translates, roughly, as “she’s got a bone in her nose.” But such mettle has helped Jensen lead the Progress Party from the margins of cranky opposition to an unprecedented place in Norway’s next governing coalition. She’s expected to be the new finance minister. In this hugely influential post, she’ll oversee Norway’s oil-enriched, $800 billion Government Pension Fund, the world’s largest sovereign-wealth fund and a global trendsetter in shareholder activism and ethical investment.
She’ll push an agenda that she summarized in an election-day Facebook post: “It’s about lower taxes for people with regular income. It’s about the legal rights of the elderly. It’s about more police and tougher justice policies. It’s about spending money in a better, more correct way.”
Which all raises an intriguing question: Could Siv Jensen be Scandinavia’s Margaret Thatcher?
Scourge of social welfarists and hero to libertarians, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform and is the key force behind the influential Taxpayer Protection Pledge. OZY chatted to him about Republican prospects for the 2016 (hint: Ted Cruz is not on his list), the shutdown and what he really wants. To wit:
Progressives do not understand the modern Republican Party. They think they’re combating some caricature. The modern Republican Party is a coalition of groups whose vote-moving issue is this: What I want from the government is to be left alone. Taxpayers: Let me lower my taxes. Gun owners: Leave my Second Amendment rights alone. Homeschoolers: Let me educate my own children. All the various communities of faith: Let me practice my faith and transmit it to my children, and stay out of that part of my life. When the left doesn’t understand that, they misunderstand opportunities for progress where you can have bipartisan achievement.
Did we mention he’s not a bad stand-up comic?
With changing demographics bringing more Latinos into the state, a governor who is South Asian American (Nikki Haley), and the first black Republican senator since Reconstruction (Tim Scott), South Carolina’s political landscape might be changing. Now, before we replace the state’s median lanes with rainbows, let’s remember that South Carolina is still a solidly conservative state, and for all the diversity they lend to the face of the party, leaders like Haley and Scott do not inject much in the way of ideological diversity.
Still, if GOP leaders are serious about the party’s mission to attract women and minorities into a “bigger tent” after poor showings in both the 2008 and 2012 national election cycles, then they should consider making South Carolina a major pole in that tent. After all, with the state’s demographics changing and Democrats eyeing the landscape closely, it may not be long before such a shift becomes less a matter of party expediency than sheer political survival.