Great stuff from Newsweek about the Karl Rove strategy for building an FDR-style enduring majority:
“In all cases, Rove wants to force Democrats to defend taxes and lawyers. Trained in the ways of direct-mail targeting, he doesn't want to seduce the whole country, just an expanded version of what he's already got. He's aiming at fast-growing exurban areas, where small-business entrepreneurs—mostly Gen-Xers—tend to distrust the New Deal paradigm of government. "We want to pay increased attention to those vibrant small-business climates," says Rove.
“And it is in these places, where suburbs meet what's left of the countryside, that the GOP's conservative stands on social issues are welcome even (perhaps even especially) among younger families searching for stability and reassurance in a world of Darwinian economics. In the next term, Rove said, Bush will push—hard—for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of man and woman, and for "strict constructionist" judges. "Voters like the president because he doesn't blink and he doesn't waver," says Rove, "and he isn't going to start. He says he values life, and he means it." The cold calculus: force Democrats to defend gay rights and unfettered access to abortion.”
This is political brilliance at work. Make the Democrats really own the consequences of their public policy and see if the public likes what it sees. The language here is thrilling. Force Democrats to defend taxes and lawyers. Force them to defend the abortion license. I hold back on endorsing the characterization of the GOP as trying to force Dems to defend gay rights. “Rights” is too broad a formulation. The question is whether the shape of family life will be reshaped from the point of view of civil society.