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Morici: Flawed Republican Policies Weaken Appeal of Conservative Principles

Republicans can't explain how their positions benefit either fairness or growth, and hence, can't complain when liberals paint them as the party of the rich and big business.

On social policy it gets worse. For example, many Americans would accept equal rights for gays, and their lifestyle has few consequences for the liberties of their neighbors. By opposing gay rights, Republicans seek to expand, not limit, the role of government for the purpose of imposing their private moral judgments on others -- that's a hypocrisy that moderate, more tolerant voters reject.

By opposing amnesty for immigrant adults brought to this country as children by parents who entered America illegally, Republicans behave like Old Testament Pharisees -- more bent on absolutely enforcing the law than accomplishing justice and protecting liberty. After doing so poorly among Latinos and Asians in the last election, the GOP is reversing its position and embracing broader immigration reform.

However, as with other social issues, Republicans at first sought to use government to impose their prejudices on others. As public opinion made their position politically untenable, they came around but only after alienating large segments of voters.

The GOP likely has permanently damaged its standing with gays, Latinos and even Asians, just as it did several generations ago with African-Americans. The country will be poorer for it.

Conservative prescriptions for freedom of enterprise and limited government do offer the best path to a robust prosperity but a majority of voters won't accept Republican protection of privilege and prejudices as part of the bargain.

Professor Peter Morici, of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, is a recognized expert on economic policy and international economics. Prior to joining the university, he served as director of the Office of Economics at the U.S. International Trade Commission. He is the author of 18 books and monographs and has published widely in leading public policy and business journals, including the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy. Morici has lectured and offered executive programs at more than 100 institutions, including Columbia University, the Harvard Business School and Oxford University. His views are frequently featured on CNN, CBS, BBC, FOX, ABC, CNBC, NPR, NPB and national broadcast networks around the world.
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