Packer and his sources advance some cogent criticisms of the state of conservatism, but the whole piece suffers from a failure to distinguish ideas from electoral politics. So do a lot of the books and articles about remaking the right. I think it is important to make distinctions between two trends here that are traveling together: The observation that conservatives need to adapt to a new set of issues that are different from the problems Reagan faced in 1980 and that the Gingrich Republicans faced in 1994 is correct. There need to be conservative policies that address voter concerns about health care, energy prices, and middle-class economic anxieties. Expanding the tax credit for children and shifting to payroll tax-cutting are important ways to make tax cuts relevant to a wider group of voters, even if those tax cuts can’t be as easily justified in supply-side terms.
The trouble is the tendency to take this thinking a step further: conceding that essentially liberal means of addressing the country’s problems are better than conservative ones. If we believe this — or we believe that conservatism was a onetime development relevant only to winning the Cold War and ending stagflation — we should become liberals. Let’s not try to reinvent Rockefeller Republicanism under another name.
Other conservatives think conservative policies and ideas can’t be sold to the American people. But that’s a problem for politicians and political strategists, not conservative writers and thinkers. It is an inability to tell the difference between the two that harms conservatism as much as anything else.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online