Fourteen years after describing the American conservative movement as “a light and an inspiration to people in this country and across the world,” Stephen Harper becomes a beacon of hope for American conservatives.
Perhaps the most central aspect of Harper’s success has been his focus on economic issues over cultural issues. Throughout his campaign, Harper kept referring to his “low-tax plan for jobs and economic growth” and his “low-tax plan for families.” In a typical Harper stump speech, the phrase “low-tax” was used dozens of times, to hilarious effect. Yet there was no mystery as to what Harper intended to deliver: low taxes. The beauty of Harper’s approach, however, is that he has carefully balanced tax cuts with planned spending reductions, to avoid mounting debt levels.
At last night’s Republican presidential debate, the candidates spent a great deal of time lambasting President Obama and demonstrating their conservative bona fides. They spent very little time explaining how they would defend the interest of the middle class, or how they intended to make inroads with the Latino and Asian voters who are so crucial to victory in 2012 and beyond. They need to give Stephen Harper a call.