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Stephen Mihm

Reagan's Revolution Devolves Into a Food-Stamp Skirmish

The two parties are unwittingly refighting a battle over food stamps of many years ago. 

Last week, Republicans in the House of Representatives delivered on their threat to reduce funding for food stamps. In a narrow 217-210 vote -- every Democrat voted against the measure, as did 15 Republicans -- the House moved to cut $39 billion from the program over the next decade.

The clash over food stamps may seem like minor political posturing, but the vote could be far more momentous than Republicans -- and perhaps Democrats -- understand. The two parties are unwittingly re-fighting a battle of many years ago. The distance between then and now suggests that the conservative revolution inaugurated by President Ronald Reagan may have reached a crossroads.