Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The day Edmund Burke died

It's happened, folks. David Brooks has made it through.

Denial, 8/21/2012
The Hose, 7/9/2010
When you look at Mitt Romney through this prism, you see surprising passion. By picking Paul Ryan as his running mate, Romney has put Medicare at the center of the national debate. Possibly for the first time, he has done something politically perilous. He has made it clear that restructuring Medicare will be a high priority.
This is impressive. If you believe entitlement reform is essential for national solvency, then Romney-Ryan is the only train leaving the station.
Moreover, when you look at the Medicare reform package Romney and Ryan have proposed, you find yourself a little surprised. You think of them of as free-market purists, but this proposal features heavy government activism, flexibility and rampant pragmatism.

Anger, 8/28
Guardian, 5/19/2011
After a successful stint at Bain, Romney was lured away to run the Winter Olympics, the second most Caucasian institution on earth, after the G.O.P. He then decided to run for governor of Massachusetts. His campaign slogan, “Vote Romney: More Impressive Than You’ll Ever Be,” was not a hit, but Romney won the race anyway on an environmental platform, promising to make the state safe for steeplechase.
After his governorship, Romney suffered through a midlife crisis, during which he became a social conservative. This prepared the way for his presidential run. He barely won the 2012 Republican primaries after a grueling nine-month campaign, running unopposed.
Bargaining, 9/04
Grand Rapids Press, 2/8/2010.
Obama could use his convention to throw himself wholeheartedly behind the general Bowles-Simpson approach. He could argue that America is weighed down by rotting institutions and faces fiscal ruin. He could vow to push through tax reform that would lower rates and reduce loopholes. He could endorse a 22 percent cap on government spending. He could commit to limiting the growth of domestic and defense spending. He could double down on his health care cost containment ideas. He could restructure Social Security and make it more progressive.
This, too, is a big, serious agenda, addressing a real national need. This, too, is an agenda commensurate with the size of the problem that confronts us.
Personally, I wish Obama would use this convention to embrace Bowles-Simpson. That would lay the foundation for decades of prosperity.
Depression, 9/18
Guardian, 9/17/2010
Sure, there are some government programs that cultivate patterns of dependency in some people. I’d put federal disability payments and unemployment insurance in this category. But, as a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.
Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?
Acceptance, 9/25
Boring Old White Guy, 3/1/2012
...there was another sort of conservative, who would be less familiar now. This was the traditional conservative, intellectual heir to Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk, Clinton Rossiter and Catholic social teaching. This sort of conservative didn’t see society as a battleground between government and the private sector. Instead, the traditionalist wanted to preserve a society that functioned as a harmonious ecosystem, in which the different layers were nestled upon each other: individual, family, company, neighborhood, religion, city government and national government....
It’s not so much that today’s Republican politicians reject traditional, one-nation conservatism. They don’t even know it exists....
Some people blame bad campaign managers for Romney’s underperforming campaign, but the problem is deeper. Conservatism has lost the balance between economic and traditional conservatism. The Republican Party has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition. It appeals to people as potential business owners, but not as parents, neighbors and citizens. 
Still hasn't endorsed Obama, though, who knows why. Maybe it's some kind of family loyalty. After all, Burke was only a Whig, and Brooks is a Tory.
Image by Driftglass.

No comments:

Post a Comment