04/22/2011 01:52 pm ET Updated Jun 22, 2011

Republicans Have No Tax Policy, That's Why They Win

I've been wondering why Republicans so often wipe the floor with Democrats on tax issues, even though Democrats only want to raise taxes on a small minority of relatively wealthy Americans.

Republicans successfully pushed to extend all the Bush tax cuts last year, and you can bet they'll wage an epic battle to extend all of them again. Last month a Rassmussen poll found likely voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on tax issues, 48 percent to 37 percent.

Now, Congressman Paul Ryan's budget calls for even more tax cuts. Why does this policy work so well for Republicans?

I finally realized that Republicans don't really have a tax policy -- they have a tax philosophy. A simple, clear, logically flawed philosophy that all taxes should always go down all the time.

Democrats try to fight this tax philosophy with a more nuanced argument: Sometimes it might make sense to raise some taxes on some people.

Democrats have a conditional policy. Republicans have an absolutist philosophy. And in general, that philosophy has greater resonance with voters.

When Republicans talk philosophy they can sound like bold leaders. When Democrats talk about policy, they often sound like nerds.