quarta-feira, novembro 05, 2008


"Conservatism Can Rise Again"

America is not as conservative as it seemed in 2004 and it isn't as liberal as it looks this morning.
What happened is that four years ago, voters put their trust in one political party to run the country and they didn't like the results, and so, over the course of two elections, they systematically threw out that political party and turned to a different one. If Democrats disappoint the public, they could be waking up on a not so distant November morning just as devastated as Republicans are today.
Those who are in the profession of writing the first rough draft of history would have us believe that a single election result can signal the end of an intellectual tradition, but actual history instructs us otherwise. This is especially true for conservatism, which rose from the staggering defeat of one its own in 1964, to a glorious triumph 16 years later.
John McCain is an honorable man who sacrificed more for this nation than most of us can imagine, but he's also eccentric and idiosyncratic. During the campaign, he railed against Wall Street greed and excessive CEO pay on the one hand and against his opponent's plans to redistribute wealth on the other; he called for a spending freeze while proposing that government spend hundreds of billions of dollars to freeze home foreclosures by partially socializing the housing market.
Of all the ways to put these election results in broader historical context, it's quite a stretch to equate the defeat of John McCain with the end of conservatism.
At the same time, it would be irresponsible and unhelpful to ignore the severe challenges conservatism faces in both the immediate and long term.
WHEN HE ENTERED the presidential race nearly two years ago, most conservatives didn't give Barack Obama a chance against the vaunted Clinton machine. After he finally emerged victorious from the protracted primary, many conservatives clung to the belief that disgruntled Clinton voters and working class whites in rural areas would deny him the presidency. To date, Obama has proven all of the skeptics wrong.
The sooner conservatives realize that Obama is not merely a gifted orator, but an incredibly talented politician with the potential to be a transformational liberal leader, the better prepared they will be to resist his agenda. In a time of economic crisis, with Democrats having overwhelming control of both chambers of Congress, stopping him will be difficult, but it won't be impossible.
Although Obama has radical liberal roots, he was elected president by papering over his past, and convincing Americans that he was a pragmatic moderate who would cut their taxes and be more fiscally responsible than President Bush. Democrats won Congressional races in traditionally conservative districts in much the same way. If, once in power, Obama and his Democratic allies cater to their liberal base, it will be jarring to Americans who had something different in mind when they voted for the abstract concept of change.
Conservatives won't thwart Democrats by name-calling, but by articulating to the country why liberal proposals will have disastrous implications, and emphasizing that there is little room left to expand social programs when the government has to fund a $700 billion bailout -- just as tax revenue falls as a result of the shrinking economy. "

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