The conservative rebirth

posted at 1:38 pm on August 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

When Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, and again when Barack Obama won the Presidency in 2008, many observers made foolish predictions that conservatism as a political movement had come to an end.  Certainly, none of them mourned the presumed death; rather, they did everything but dance on its supposed grave.  However, those reports turned out not only to be exaggerated, but self-delusional, as Peter Berkowitz explained in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

In late October 2008, New Yorker staff writer George Packer reported “the complete collapse of the four-decade project that brought conservatism to power in America.” Two weeks later, the day after Mr. Obama’s election, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne proclaimed “the end of a conservative era” that had begun with the rise of Ronald Reagan.

And in February 2009, New York Times Book Review and Week in Review editor Sam Tanenhaus, writing in The New Republic, declared that “movement conservatism is exhausted and quite possibly dead.” Mr. Tanenhaus even purported to discern in the new president “the emergence of a president who seems more thoroughly steeped in the principles of Burkean conservatism than any significant thinker or political figure on the right.”

Messrs. Packer, Dionne and Tanenhaus underestimated what the conservative tradition rightly emphasizes, which is the high degree of unpredictability in human affairs. They also conflated the flagging fortunes of George W. Bush’s Republican Party with conservatism’s popular appeal. Most importantly, they failed to grasp the imperatives that flow from conservative principles in America, and the full range of tasks connected to preserving freedom.

Well, to be fair, they weren’t the only ones conflating conservatism with big government, either.  Congressional Republicans did a good job of it, too, along with Bush and his “compassionate conservatism” that favored big-government solutions rather than traditional, limited-government approaches that keeps government from causing more problems than it solves.  Big government and conservatism are diametrically opposed, as Berkowitz explains:

It is always the task for conservatives to insist that money does not grow on trees, that government programs must be paid for, and that promising unaffordable benefits is reckless, unjust and a long-term threat to maintaining free institutions.

But conservatives also combat government expansion and centralization because it can undermine the virtues upon which a free society depends. Big government tends to crowd out self-government—producing sluggish, selfish and small-minded citizens, depriving individuals of opportunities to manage their private lives and discouraging them from cooperating with fellow citizens to govern their neighborhoods, towns, cities and states.

And to be even more fair, I do recall that a few people on the Right made similar proclamations about progressivism in the wake of the 1994 midterms.  Even Bill Clinton famously and unfortunately incorrectly proclaimed that the “era of big government [was] over.”  It was akin to Francis Fukayama’s laughable assertion that we had reached the end of history at the conclusion of the Cold War.  Both ignore the fact that both movements address natural sympathies and issues in governance, and that we will always have people who either want people to govern themselves, or believe that people are incapable of effective self-governance.

We certainly have seen that latter impulse from the progressive commentariat in the wake of the failure of the Democratic agenda, and the resistance to its more radical elements from the American people.  How many times since town-hall meetings became forums of voter anger last year have we heard from mainstream opinion journalists that the US has become “ungovernable”?   Voters made clear that Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid were not qualified to make their personal choices for them on health care in particular, and their failed Obamanomics showed that they’re incompetent at running a top-down command economy.

But that doesn’t mean an end to progressivism, either, even if the GOP wins 100 seats in the House, takes control of the Senate, and Obama becomes the second coming of the post-1994 Bill Clinton.  As long as poverty and perceived injustice exists, there will be people who believe that the only way to address it is to spread both over the nation equally through government redistribution, and to address poor personal choices with nanny states designed to prevent every bad outcome by mandating mediocrity across the board.  And as long as progressivism is allowed to control public policy, as it has over the last four years in Congress, conservatism will appeal to freedom-loving people who just want to be treated as adults and be mainly left alone to create real opportunity, prosperity, and liberty.


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I’m not surprised. If liberals are good at one thing, it’s being self-delusional.

Ryan Anthony on August 29, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Government shouldn’t be compassionate, it should be small and lonely.

faraway on August 29, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Not all Republicans are Conservative…

d1carter on August 29, 2010 at 1:46 PM

Government shouldn’t be compassionate, it should be small and lonely.

faraway on August 29, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Right on.

rplat on August 29, 2010 at 1:46 PM

The midwives of the conservative rebirth… that’s a classic. Good job, Ed :)

beatcanvas on August 29, 2010 at 1:47 PM

After the 2008 election, many people I know were absolutely demoralized and sincerely frightened. I told them then that Obama would be the best thing that ever happened to the conservative movement. He has truly surpassed my wildest hopes to that effect. I voted for McCain, of course, but imagine how horrible things would be had he somehow won. That truly would have marked the end of not only the Republican party but the conservative movement for years and years to come. Instead, today we stand poised on the cusp of a re-birth in this country. People are more energized and engaged than I have seen since I was a very young child and Ronald Reagan was running for President. The difference today is that the mood doesn’t hinge on only one personality. People tend to decry the fact that there isn’t a single leader to rally behind, but I think that’s probably a good thing — with more people and more groups pulling the wagon, there’s less at stake if one person falters.

cynccook on August 29, 2010 at 1:49 PM

…conservatism will appeal to freedom-loving people who just want to be treated as adults and be mainly left alone to create real opportunity, prosperity, and liberty.

This is by far the best definition of conservatism, said in the least number of words, and by far making the most sense.

pilamaye on August 29, 2010 at 1:51 PM

Yes, but let’s not assume that the new breed are actually conservative. True conservatism, in all aspects of the word, is an ideal to strive for, not a condition that can be met. The folks we’re going to replace the dems with are politicians and should e treated as such until they retire. The B*ll s#!t story about Washington changing the man instead of the man changing Washington won’t fly a second time around if they screw it up again. Washington corrupts no man, it brings out what lays dormant.

abobo on August 29, 2010 at 1:54 PM

States need to realize that they need to protect their own citizens from over bearing departments of the federal government. States need to get busy and pass laws now that prohibit the kind of regulation being issued from the epa, doe, et al or they will continue to be told what to do by Washington socialists.

Kissmygrits on August 29, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Eh. There were way too many “conservatives” aka rinos, declaring conservatism dead unless we became pwogressive-lites.

Blake on August 29, 2010 at 1:59 PM

So long as lefties, and some on the right, feel/believe that it is easier and ‘fairer’ to be in a plantation, they deserve to be exploited by their elitist masters.

People who are lucky enough to be born free are clueless of what it means to be sujugated. They don’t wake up until it is too late.

PC will conribute to a new form of slavery, the world over, sooner than lefties, and a few others, can see now.

Schadenfreude on August 29, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Government shouldn’t be compassionate, it should be small and lonely.

faraway on August 29, 2010 at 1:41 PM

It should also be far away :)

JimK on August 29, 2010 at 2:01 PM

‘Scared Straight’ first aired in 1978. It showed cocksure hoodlums being forced to confront real hard-core criminals, in a setting that scared the hell out of the hoodlums: prison. The inmates were all under life sentence, and quickly assured the young punks that since they WERE under life sentence anyway…killing or maiming one more punk wasn’t going to change their sentence at all. The intent was to scare the punks into changing the course of their lives NOW.

in 2008 America elected Barack Hussein Obama. And in less than two years he has scared America Conservative! Or at least into changing course NOW. Hundreds of thousands of people showed up yesterday to attest to that.

As Ed points out, Obama had Pelosi and Reid helping him scare America Conservative.

Thx Barry, Harry and Nancy. We needed to be woken up.

Justrand on August 29, 2010 at 2:03 PM

Prior to the agricultural and industrial revolutions, poverty was not an issue but the norm. It was only after capitalism started to expand wealth that people could concern themselves with the idea of how best to distribute that wealth.

Take 35 minutes and watch or listen to this lecture that present a history of economics which you won’t get from progressive revisionists: Applying Economics to American History

Laurence on August 29, 2010 at 2:06 PM

But Ruling class General Colin Powell told us we needed to be more like the Dems……

But Lindsey Graham said we were just “Loud”.

How can Conservatives be reborn?’

PappyD61 on August 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Note to Palin-Self

If nominated don’t go with the Conventional wisdom by picking a Bush style Veep like Reagan did in 1980…….HUGE mistake!!!

PappyD61 on August 29, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Now. What will these newly elected Conservatives do with their new power? Will they wield it responsibly by paring back the enormous burden of a bureaucratic government? Or, will they fall into the familiar trap of drinking until drunk on power only to end up trading more of our freedoms for longer terms in a cushy government job?

I guess we will find out.

watson007 on August 29, 2010 at 2:10 PM

It should also be far away :)

JimK on August 29, 2010 at 2:01 PM

Yeah, like outer Mongolia. Hey, they could telecommute!

cynccook on August 29, 2010 at 2:10 PM

States need to get busy and pass laws now that prohibit the kind of regulation being issued from the epa, doe, et al or they will continue to be told what to do by Washington socialists.

Kissmygrits on August 29, 2010 at 1:54 PM

Regardless of what laws they pass, the states will continue to have D.C. dictating to them, as demonstrated by AZ’s example.

The federal government has been out of control and exercising power far beyond its Constitutional mandate for decades now. They won’t stop voluntarily. They will have to be stopped, by whatever means necessary.

AZCoyote on August 29, 2010 at 2:12 PM

As long as poverty and perceived injustice exists, there will be people who believe that the only way to address it is to spread both over the nation equally through government redistribution, …

.
poverty and perceived injustice” or no, there will always be people who believe …

… and to address poor personal choices with nanny states designed to prevent every bad outcome by mandating mediocrity across the board.

.
There will always be people who believe in this too … those who believe they are “entitled”, to lead, to not have to compete, etc.
.
We live well, better than most, and it’s because of competition, innovations, etc. We all know this.
.
“Redistribution” has always failed, and mediocrity, by definition, never succeeds. We all know this too.
.
.
It’s time to deal with the root causes of our current problems.
.
One needed action, to combat Progressivism / Marxism is to clean up Academia:
.
– No tenure: now you’re just like the rest of us. Yes, you have to perform, and yes, you have to justify your courses / research / “stuff” …
.
– Greatly restricted “academic freedom”: discuss the course material, or just about any topic relevant to the course syllabus and material, and you’re ok; go sufficiently O/T, proselytize, or require a certain point of view, and you will have to defend your actions and maybe your job.

Arbalest on August 29, 2010 at 2:12 PM

But Ruling class General Colin Powell told us we needed to be more like the Dems……

But Lindsey Graham said we were just “Loud”.

How can Conservatives be reborn?’

PappyD61 on August 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

I love my wisteria vines, but if I don’t prune them aggressively, they just won’t bloom. We need to prune the Republican party. Some things will only bloom on new shoots.

cynccook on August 29, 2010 at 2:12 PM

cynccook on August 29, 2010 at 1:49 PM

My sentiments exactly. As Beck aptly demonstrated a while back, McVain would have killed us “frogs” by bringing the pot of govt compassion to a slow boil, while Obambi scalded us and that’s causing most independents, and not just a few lifelong democrats to jump.

AH_C on August 29, 2010 at 2:13 PM

But that doesn’t mean an end to progressivism, either, even if the GOP wins 100 seats in the House, takes control of the Senate, and Obama becomes the second coming of the post-1994 Bill Clinton.

Sure Ed. Write a great missive, and end it with a bummer…thanks.

percysunshine on August 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

After Dole, McCain, and the Bushes, whose turn is it for the GOP nomination?

cartooner on August 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Only a fool or a blind, intellectually dishonest wingnut would have believed that Conservatism was over or even that we were suddenly a “center left nation” as the media loved to proclaim after Obama’s election. Obama never said who he was, he was incredibly vague in his rhetoric and secretive of his past, that alone was evidence that Aemricans were just taing a chance on him because they weren’t feeling optimistic about where our country was going. Obama even embraced conservative rhetoric in his speeches!

I was confident that once he started pushing his ideology on us, that the people would come back home to the ideals of Reaganism. Obama and the people in the media are just ex campus radicals from the 80s still fighting their leftist fights, instead of accepting that Reagan was CORRECT. I was surprised at first that Obama didn’t go for a more incremental approach in steering this country to the far left, but now I see that anyone who refuses to recognize the most recent of history could not possibly plan so far ahead in the future.

Daemonocracy on August 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Maybe God sent Obama to wake us up. McCain would have kept us asleep.

darwin on August 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM

After Dole, McCain, and the Bushes, whose turn is it for the GOP nomination?

cartooner on August 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

I believe that’s Crist.

s/

darwin on August 29, 2010 at 2:30 PM

In November, the Democrats are going to find out what DEAD really means to a political party’s rule.

Not many 1st term presidents get to be a lame duck in their last two years in office.

GarandFan on August 29, 2010 at 2:33 PM

“Leave us adults alone” applies to the state and local level as well. Nanny statism includes those fine folks that show up to measure how tall the grass is in your yard, or any other idiotic ‘quality of life’ crud they can dream up.

Remember you have to pay those salaries too.

GnuBreed on August 29, 2010 at 2:33 PM

One of the main reasons conservatism went on hiatus for 20+ years: Bush 41.

Folks on our side spend so much lambasting Bush 43 for the decline of conservatism, but it is my contention, Bush 41 was left with the full loaf and he frittered it away voluntarily. He is the most to blame.

technopeasant on August 29, 2010 at 2:36 PM

But that doesn’t mean an end to progressivism, either, even if the GOP wins 100 seats in the House, takes control of the Senate, and Obama becomes the second coming of the post-1994 Bill Clinton.

Unless the Republicans revert to Terri Schiavo levels of legislative lunacy, they should be able to move things forward.

Then again, we don’t call them the Stupid Party for nothing.

rickyricardo on August 29, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Maybe God sent Obama to wake us up. McCain would have kept us asleep.

darwin on August 29, 2010 at 2:29 PM

“My friends…”

Seven Percent Solution on August 29, 2010 at 2:40 PM

I never liked the phrase “compassionate conservatism”- too squishy. I prefer the phrase once used to describe Chris Christie’s style:

ADULT CONSERVATISM

That’s more like it.

parteagirl on August 29, 2010 at 2:51 PM

After Dole, McCain, and the Bushes, whose turn is it for the GOP nomination?

cartooner on August 29, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Romney is the current favorite. Mitch Daniels will do if Romney doesn’t gain traction.

sharrukin on August 29, 2010 at 2:52 PM

I want self-government regardless of whether or not people are capable of doing it effectively. When self government fails, it fails on a small scale and the damage is limited. When big governments fail, the damage is unbounded and can extend almost infinitely.

Kohath on August 29, 2010 at 2:55 PM

Now. What will these newly elected Conservatives do with their new power? Will they wield it responsibly by paring back the enormous burden of a bureaucratic government? Or, will they fall into the familiar trap of drinking until drunk on power only to end up trading more of our freedoms for longer terms in a cushy government job?

I guess we will find out.

watson007 on August 29, 2010 at 2:10 PM

This is the part we still have to play. We cannot vote them in and then feel all good about ourselves and think everything will be ok. We must be harder on a GOP majority than we were on the Democrat one. So to kind of change your ending, hopefully they will find out we will not abide that attitude anymore.

bluemarlin on August 29, 2010 at 2:56 PM

Bush kinda reminds me of the Gerald Ford term in results…
BUT may God bless the man for his being there during 911 and also how he truly cares about his troops.

Maybe it will set up another Reagan like awakening once again….

I can only hope and pray.

golfmann on August 29, 2010 at 2:57 PM

there will be people who believe that the only way to address it is to spread both over the nation equally through government redistribution, and to address poor personal choices with nanny states designed to prevent every bad outcome by mandating mediocrity across the board.

So, basically, as long as there exist stupid people who are able to vote?

oldleprechaun on August 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Eh. There were way too many “conservatives” aka rinos, declaring conservatism dead unless we became pwogressive-lites.

Blake on August 29, 2010 at 1:59 PM

That is Karl Rove’s philosophy, and was the foundation for all his supposed genius moves to elect a permanent GOP majority. Turn the GOP into progressive lite. Something that for some strange reason Limbaugh supported. Mr Limbaugh just had the guy guest host his show not too long ago. Go figure.

True_King on August 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Folks on our side spend so much lambasting Bush 43 for the decline of conservatism, but it is my contention, Bush 41 was left with the full loaf and he frittered it away voluntarily. He is the most to blame.

technopeasant on August 29, 2010 at 2:36 PM

Techno, you read my mind. Afterall, cutting taxes was all voo-doo economics to him.

AH_C on August 29, 2010 at 3:11 PM

The democrats are also the party of racial segregation and identity politics.

They seek to alienate Americans from one another and make them dependant on the democrats to address “Fairness”.

That is something the communists played often. Make everyone miserable and then promise salvation. Then the end justifies the means.

Where the GOP loses is when it plays the dems game. We get caught in the “race card” politics and belief that if we are more compassionate that we are better Americans.

It is not compassionate to have people queue up in government lines.

It is not compassionate to make the poor even poorer and dependant on government. New Orleans Katrina happened because we created the dependancy and people wouldnt think for themselves.

It is not compassionate to play a race game. It is a non zero sum game. There are always winners and losers in the race card game and that is why dems play it.

It is not compassionate to bash America. There are many terrible nations out there who get away with murder (Literally) because their people look to a US that spends more time bashing itself that being a leader in Human rights.

It is not compassionate to coddle our enemies. That only empowers them to murder and enslave and expect to abuse our justice system to give them more oportunites to kill.

The honest truth of the matter is the democrats have never been compassionate. All of their ploys are means to seize power and not honest efforts to help people.

William Amos on August 29, 2010 at 3:17 PM

It is always the task for conservatives to insist that money does not grow on trees, that government programs must be paid for, and that promising unaffordable benefits is reckless, unjust and a long-term threat to maintaining free institutions.

Berkowitz is wrong about one of the above. With the Federal Reserve in charge, money surely does grow on trees!

unclesmrgol on August 29, 2010 at 3:23 PM

Big government tends to crowd out self-government—producing sluggish, selfish and small-minded citizens, depriving individuals of opportunities to manage their private lives and discouraging them from cooperating with fellow citizens to govern their neighborhoods, towns, cities and states.

Just substitute ‘Liberalism’ with ‘Big Government’ and you have the definition pulled right out of the dictionary.

Or mental illness….but I repeat myself.

BigWyo on August 29, 2010 at 3:34 PM

When it comes to the arena of politics and secular government, I prefer calloused, cold-blooded, merciless, relentless, ruthless, and uncompromising conservatism.

My collie says:

That’ll never fit on a bumper sticker.

How about “Restore our Liberty…by any means necessary.”?

CyberCipher on August 29, 2010 at 3:36 PM

True_King on August 29, 2010 at 3:09 PM

Rove looks at everything..or used to..from a perspective on how to win elections. He’s very good at it. But any disconnect he seems to have with what’s happening now is the same with all these people. They are out of touch with how completely disgusted the average Joe is with our current government.

BigWyo on August 29, 2010 at 3:41 PM

CyberCipher on August 29, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Hmmmm….that sound like a round about way of putting forth the ban worthy ‘R’ word….

You just watch your step mister.

BigWyo on August 29, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Awesome…so does this mean I can go back to sleep now?

ClassicCon on August 29, 2010 at 3:46 PM

The honest truth of the matter is the democrats have never been compassionate. All of their ploys are means to seize power and not honest efforts to help people.

William Amos on August 29, 2010

Thanks for posting your list. Hopefully these principles are starting to sink in with the general American populace.

JonPrichard on August 29, 2010 at 3:48 PM

along with Bush and his “compassionate conservatism”

Something I’ve always wanted to ask every time I’ve heard some conservative denigrate Bush’s compassionate conservative approach to his domestic agenda… does this mean that you and others (Malkin, Ingrahm at el) voted for Al Gore in 2000?

Compassionate conservative was the central theme of Bush’s domestic agenda in the 2000 election.

Texas Gal on August 29, 2010 at 4:04 PM

American politics always swing left and right and each time there is a swing, the other side claims victory.

Well, to be fair, they weren’t the only ones conflating conservatism with big government, either. Congressional Republicans did a good job of it, too, along with Bush and his “compassionate conservatism” that favored big-government solutions rather than traditional, limited-government approaches that keeps government from causing more problems than it solves.

There is nothing wrong with being compassionate. Programs like the Part D program have been very popular with the American people and while they might not be happy with the way things are going, I don’t see them out there demanding that we do away with the discount drug program. In fact, programs like Medicare Advantage as well as HSA’s exist because of that program and the deal made to reach a compromise. Democrats did dislike the parts of the program that required more input in terms of money from seniors and that left negotiating for drug prices in the market place…in fact in the Obamacare bill the Democrats did away with Medicare Advantage and turned the Part D program into something more expensive and more controlled by government. I do think that if the message is that this program was a terrible thing, ten maybe conservatives should not spend a lot of time talking about death panels. After all, if you don’t care about compassion, why care about death panels?

And it should be remembered that Bush also supported the reform of social security, the mother of all entitlement programs.

Americans do not have a problem with some government if they feel is works in their behalf and does not kill private sector alternatives. That is why they prefer to reform social security rather than do away with it entirely.

I think Americans are afraid that we will go bankrupt and will not be able to pay the bills and keep the country going. They fear being Greece.

Terrye on August 29, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Compassionate conservative was the central theme of Bush’s domestic agenda in the 2000 election.

Texas Gal on August 29, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Bush ran as the education president, if I remember correctly. It was not as if he pretended to be anything other than what he was. He considered compassion to be a good thing, a moral thing.

Terrye on August 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM

Not many 1st term presidents get to be a lame duck in their last two years in office.

GarandFan on August 29, 2010 at 2:33 PM

And prepare for Obama to spend that last two years being as petty and vindictive as possible. I suspect he will summarily veto everything from the Republican Congress that crosses his desk.

swash_plate on August 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM

And btw, back when that whole debate about part D was going on, most conservatives did not support opening up the market place to cheaper drugs from other countries. McCain was not a big supporter of a discount drug program for seniors, but he did support cheap imports. These seniors really had no choice when it came to what they would buy, there was virtually no competition.

A lot of conservatives wanted to protect pharma in the hopes that it would inspire more research and development and new and better drugs. However, these same drug companies cut a deal with the Obama administration to support Obamacare.

Terrye on August 29, 2010 at 4:25 PM

George W. Bush for President 2000 Campaign Brochure

‘Opportunity, Security and Responsibility — A Fresh Start for America’

I’m running for President because I want to help usher in the responsibility era, where people understand they are responsible for the choice they make and are held accountable for their actions.

As President, I’ll make our schools accountable for results. I’ll encourage our schools to take more responsibility for teaching character to our children so they understand right and wrong and that actions have consequences. I’ll give local school districts more flexibility to spend money where it is needed to improve our children’s education. I’ll strengthen Social Security, guaranteeing government is responsible for the promises it has made America’s seniors and allowing younger American’s to voluntarily invest some of their Social Security taxes in Personal Accounts. I’ll reform Health Care so every family has access to affordable health insurance, and seniors have a choice of plans, including prescription drug coverage. I’ll rebuild our military, giving it the resources it needs to meet its responsibility to keep the peace. I’ll promote a responsible economic agenda to continue our prosperity. I’ll provide tax relief for all Americans, especially those struggling to make it into the middle class.

I will use the Presidency to promote a greater sense of responsibility across this great country. By encouraging communities to be responsible for their citizens and asking individuals to be responsible for their actions, we will renew our country’s spirit. If elected, when I put my hand on the bible, I will swear to not only uphold the law of the land, but also the integrity of the office to which I have been elected.

Texas Gal on August 29, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Hickenlooper founded fund that supports far-left groups

http://3.ly/DHvd

ninjapirate on August 29, 2010 at 4:45 PM

There will never be an end to progressivism -it is but the centuries old heresy called gnosticism -those chosen few who alone know the secret way to heaven -this time it is merely the earthly paridise of Marxist utopianism that they seek.

Don L on August 29, 2010 at 4:46 PM

You just watch your step mister.

BigWyo on August 29, 2010 at 3:43 PM

It’s not exactly my own idea — or a new one, for that matter. Voici:

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
–Barry Goldwater, 1964 RNC

CyberCipher on August 29, 2010 at 4:53 PM

I’m not surprised. If liberals are good at one thing, it’s being self-delusional.

Ryan Anthony on August 29, 2010 at 1:40 PM

Well, naturally. Self-delusion is a requirement of modern liberalism.

Cylor on August 29, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Even Bill Clinton famously and unfortunately incorrectly proclaimed that the “era of big government [was] over.”

I disagree with Ed here. Bill Clinton was right! The era of big government WAS over in 1994. In fact, it was over in 1980. That’s what the 1994 elections were about. Both Republicans and Democrats proceeded to ignore that reality, which is why neither party has claimed a lasting majority.

George W. Bush ran twice on big-government conservatism, and he lost the popular vote once and barely won it the second time. He never had a mandate for huge expansions of Medicare and Fannie/Freddie housing market meddling. Congressional Republicans thought they could harness big government to serve them and keep their majority. They were wrong and lost their majority as a result.

Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi learned nothing from all of this. The Democrats put together a majority in Congress which included many House and Senate members from places that never embraced big government. They were ignored, while a leadership steeped in 1970s big-government fantasies took over and forced them to make vote after vote for bigger government. Every one of those Democrats is going to lose in November.

I believe this election will put the final nail in the coffin of big government. It was buried in the minds of the people 30 years ago, but enough politicians from the 1970s have hung on, with enough journalists and academics who came of age in the 1970s to cheerlead for it, to keep it rising from the grave over and over. This is the year we finally drive a stake through its heart.

rockmom on August 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

The c(C)onservative rebirth

If Obama is the liberal god with a small g, this is Conservatism with a big C.

Real Conservatives only need apply.

Speakup on August 29, 2010 at 5:07 PM

“As long as poverty and perceived injustice exists…” Wrong again, Allah. As long as altruists believe that the moral imperative is to force some to help others, there will be liberal fascists.

The conflict is not political; it’s moral.

Read Atlas Shrugged and get a clue.

Kalapana on August 29, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Kalapana on August 29, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Oops, my bad. I just assumed that Allahpundit had a monopoly on myopia at Hot Air.

Kalapana on August 29, 2010 at 5:16 PM

These are all good thoughts, but as long as the Republicans(as opposed to Conservatives) have the power the federal bureaucracy will continue to run roughshod over US. It will take US, and others like Laura Ingraham to keep the heat on the politicians. In case you missed it: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/laura-ingraham-holds-rep-eric-cantors-feet-to-the-fire-and-he-looks-terrified/

RADIOONE on August 29, 2010 at 6:39 PM

As long as poverty and perceived injustice exists, there will be people who believe that the only way to address it is to spread both over the nation equally through government redistribution, and to address poor personal choices with nanny states designed to prevent every bad outcome by mandating mediocrity across the board

The problem is that “poverty” and “injustice” are constantly being defined down. People who are “poor” in today’s america do not even remotely meet the historical definition of living in poverty. They have shelter, heat, food, cell phones, computers, internet, big screen tvs, education opportunities, and more. the “homeless” unfortunately are almost all mental health problems that our liberal courts won’t allow us to institutionalize or drug addicts. I’ve had arguments about this with liberals, and their answer is that these people are “poor” relative to others – which means that no matter how good our society makes it for the “poor” by producing wealth and opportunities, the left will always look to destroy that wealth production through redistributive policies.

Our “poor” could live in mansions and eat cavier, but if the mansions were smaller than everyone else’s and the cavier not as good, the left would seek to socialize everything still.

The same holds true for “social justice”. We have mostly dealt with institutionalized discrimination – indeed to such an extent that I have witnessed numerous times institutions, both public and private, decide to make a “diversity” hire, meaning purposefully NOT hiring a white candidate. Any claim of serious racial discrimination in employment is a joke. Thus, we are ever increasing our definition of “discrimination”. For instance, in NY they have tried to include discriminating against victims of domestic violence as employment discrimination. Is that really a serious societal issue? Are jobs routinely firing women b/c they find out they are being domestically abused?

B/c the left lost the argument of what works better to help more people – i.e., capitalism won that argument a long, long time ago – they have changed the argument. Every time there is success at improving the lives of the poor through growing the economy and increasing the standard of living for everyone, the left re-defines poverty.

Every time society moves forward on issues of tolerance, etc., the left finds a new victim class to champion. It won’t be long before the left is championing anti-discrimination laws for pedophiles and the like as they run out of other alleged victims.

Every choice we make is a form of discrimination. If I hire bob instead of ted, I am making a decision as to who I believe is going to be a better employee. That means I am discriminating, whether based on what school each went to, the experience each had, who is fatter, who has a better personality, who likes the same sports teams as me, I am discriminating.

the left wants to take away all choice, that is why they continue to add more nad more silly things to the list of “discrimination”. At some point, we will not have the right to chose anything.

Anti-discrimination laws were necessary for a history of racism. But it has gone too far. We have allegedly have the freedom of association. That right by definition includes the right to exclude as well. I can’t very well be free to associate with who I want if I am not allowed to turn away those I don’t want to associate with.

Monkeytoe on August 29, 2010 at 6:55 PM

2010-2012
=============
Year(s)of the Unleashed and P*ssed Off
Republican Women,H*ll-Bent with Fury to
Retake Back Their Government!!

canopfor on August 29, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Ed, you are so much more effective when you comment on conservatism rather than preach to conservatives. More of the above, please.

Extrafishy on August 29, 2010 at 7:30 PM

The GOP is going to need to come up with something to run on other than, “We don’t suck as bad as they suck.”

Special K on August 29, 2010 at 7:56 PM

In November we can take a few minutes and congratulate ourselves for taking back Congress. After those 5 minutes we will ALL need to work harder to keep our momentum going. It won’t make any difference who wins or loses individual elections because the Liberal animal will be sorely wounded and willing to trample us all in its blind rage. Our failing is that human nature to slack off when we think that things are going our way. This time we need to drive a stake through it’s heart.

Metanis on August 29, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Well said.

Thank goodness we have Conservatives willing to stand up and be counted.

This classic and wonderful article was published recently. It’s GREAT. It details what the fight is right now, and HOW DIFFICULT IT’S GOING TO BE TO DEFEAT PROGESSIVISM (in both parties).

http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the/print

This part of the article talks about how BOTH parties are filled with RULING CLASS American apologists…..

Similarly, Obama “apologized” to Europeans because some Americans — not him and his friends — had shown “arrogance and been dismissive” toward them, and to the world because President Truman had used the atom bomb to end World War II. So President Clinton apologized to Africans because some Americans held African slaves until 1865 and others were mean to Negroes thereafter — not himself and his friends, of course. So assistant secretary of state Michael Posner apologized to Chinese diplomats for Arizona’s law that directs police to check immigration status. Republicans engage in that sort of thing as well: former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev tells us that in 1987 then vice president George H. W. Bush distanced himself from his own administration by telling him, “Reagan is a conservative, an extreme conservative. All the dummies and blockheads are with him…”

PappyD61 on August 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

But that doesn’t mean an end to progressivism, either, even if the GOP wins 100 seats in the House, takes control of the Senate, and Obama becomes the second coming of the post-1994 Bill Clinton.

Sure Ed. Write a great missive, and end it with a bummer…thanks.

percysunshine on August 29, 2010 at 2:19 PM

It is vital that we do not forget that we have to continue the fight.

Slowburn on August 29, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Compassionate conservative was the central theme of Bush’s domestic agenda in the 2000 election.

Texas Gal on August 29, 2010 at 4:04 PM

I think most of us bought into it. I liked the sound of it. The left can make conservatives sound so heartless in the face of real suffering.

But the mortgage fiasco should have proven once and for all that you cannot mandate equal economic outcomes! And giving people stuff doesn’t bring about the same pride of ownership that earning stuff brings.

Becoming prosperous takes hard work and discipline.

It is more compassionate to teach and expect hard work and discipline than to give people stuff.

petunia on August 29, 2010 at 9:32 PM

Sadly, 40% of Americans are complete idiots which means liberalism will live on.

angryed on August 29, 2010 at 9:52 PM

On a message board I post on, in 2005 a couple of liberals proclaimed that Republicans would be out of power for a generation. I intend to rub their noses in that very hard.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll be in power forever, either. As Instapundit says: “Don’t get cocky, kid”.

JimC on August 29, 2010 at 10:03 PM

petunia on August 29, 2010 at 9:32 PM

It’s not my intent to be snarky, but buying into something because it sounds nice is what got us into this current nightmare. And it’s not the left that is making conservatives sound heartless, there are some on the right that have handed them the football.

Bush’s compassionate conservatism approach to his domestic agenda wasn’t about giving people stuff. And he sure didn’t create the mortgage fiasco.

My point is that Bush did as he said he would do. For example, No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D were clearly his stated intentions when he ran in 2000.

Frankly, every time I hear compassionate conservatism and Bush being bashed around by self proclaimed conservatives, I wonder who they voted for in 2000, was it Gore?

Texas Gal on August 29, 2010 at 10:12 PM

Conservatives couldn’t have done it without Obama-commie. Sometimes people need a reminder who commies really are, then they will responds.

The sales pitch for freebies is not the American way, but we do fall for the hate and lies every once in a while. It would be simpler to read history rather than loop it.

tarpon on August 30, 2010 at 7:22 AM

When Democrats take back the house, senate, and White House in 2042 after decades in the political wilderness, they will spend federal tax money like drunken sailors and try to reform nationalize health care.

Akzed on August 30, 2010 at 10:05 AM