In other words, what we’re facing now isn’t just an economic crisis; it may also become a crisis of the family, a crisis that could have significant political and moral consequences. I don’t have to explain what could happen to parental authority when parents can’t provide for their children. And I don’t think that it’s adequate to say, for example, that people who can’t keep their homes in the face of this downturn probably shouldn’t have been in them in the first place. It’s perhaps true enough: many of them were bad credit risks. But more than their credit score is now at stake. If Democrats ride to their rescue with a statist rescue package, they will have accomplished a morally and politically significant result. If they come to be seen as conservators of the family, it will be Republicans who will be writing books about what’s the matter with Kansas. And the Kansans, God bless ‘em, might be right to look to the Democrats to protect the family from the vagaries of an undisciplined and threatening marketplace.
So while I might take some comfort from the prospect that today’s Obamaniacal politikids might grow up to be Palindrones or Jindalists or to have a Huckabee in their bonnets, I’m also worried that our current credit crisis might recast the political scene altogether. Both parties have a large stake in addressing the current economic insecurity of our middle class and working class families. Republicans should remember that the market ought to be a servant of the family, rather than its master, and that the moral fabric of the republic depends upon its continuing integrity.
I also wrote another longish rumination on the election, which is set to appear in the forthcoming issue of
The City. (You can sign up for a free subscription on the page to which I’ve linked. There are plans to provide web access, but things haven’t yet proceeded to that point.)