Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Goldberg vs. Gerson

Jonah G. doesn’t agree with Michael G.. For what it’s worth, I think that Gerson is right about the stakes and probably right that "civil society" can’t simply resurrect itself where it’s broken.

My concern is that opening the door to government programming usually lets in a lot more than someone like Gerson (or Jeb Bush or Mitt Romney or Sam Brownback [who goes unmentioned in MG’s piece]) presumably wants.

Update: For more quibbles and quarrels over at The Corner, go here, here, and here. As I re-read the essay, I can see why folks are objecting so vehemently: there’s an eminently contestable interpretation of the Reagan legacy and an (unfortunately) unnuanced (or insufficiently nuanced) implication that the default solutions to our problems are governmental. I would nonetheless like to hear what, if anything, Jonah’s correspondents (or Jonah himself) liked about the essay. Or are they going to read Gerson out of the conservative movement?

Discussions - 17 Comments

I think the Gerson v. Conservatism issue might be a sign of a future falling out (or at least a starker differentiation) between Conservatives and politicized conservative Christians. The Gerson side seems to believe that as long as government is run by godly men it can and should be deployed extensively to achieve "the common good." Substitute "competent" for "godly" and you have New Deal/Great Society liberalism. It is essentially the adoption of Rerum Novarum/Evangelum Vitae Catholic social theology fused with militarism under the banner of "Compassionate Conservatism." Movement Conservatives wince at the notion that limited-government Conservatism is somehow uncompassionate, and believe that the American people left to their own devices are more likely to be "compassionate" than even the most righteously administered government program. I say this as a liberal, but it would seem that Gerson deserves to be written out of the Conservative movement if the term "Conservative" is to mean anything more than whatever the individual using the term wants it to mean.

We now know that Gerson was a little minion in the apparent life work of the Bush clan, id est, exhuming the rotted, putrid corpse of Rockefeller Republicanism from the grave. Have you noticed that the only time that members of this administration can rouse themselves to launch a political attack, it seems they are going after the base of the GOP. Senior citizens in lawn chairs along the border.......?????? "Vigilantes!" Who knew, who knew that America’s seniors had the stuff still that could earn them such a brand. Federalist Society members, men and women of distinguished lifetime service to the American Bar, who were appalled at the selection of Harriet Meirs.............???????????? "Elitists!" And what is more "Sexists!" Who knew that such neanderthal attitudes were to be found in such a distinguished group. Well, seems the Bush White House knew. And now, those horrified at runaway budgets and the growth of the Federal take of the GDP, well, now we learn that such creatures are "Fundamentalists!"

Hey, Mark, how’s that Republican majority going now a days? The majority that Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich created, the Bush family dismissed, all in their weird attempts to bring back New England Republicans to prominence in the party. John Sununu, Warren Rudman, Andy Card, Tom Kean, Christy Whitman, ..... It’s really rather sad. And the entire GOP just stood by, and refused to do anything about it. Refused to say to that man, "ENOUGH!" Unbelievable.

Reagan and Gingrich showed Conservatives how to win, showed the party how to prevail, how to win majority status. The Bush family prefers to show Republicans how to lose, {but also it must be added, how to lose gracefully, elegantly, stylishly, that’s awfully important to Rockefeller Republicans, they place great store in their ability to lose without any diminishment in their affability}. You cannot help but speculate that if the Bush family were offered a choice of losing elections, BUT earning points from the establishment for trying to implement "new tone," or losing points from the establishment, but actually winning the election, that they would prefer the former.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for my part, the anachronisms of the blue-blood Bush clan are wearing thin, real thin.

God, I would like to know what Gingrich thinks privately of this nightmarish administration. Future generations might make a mini-series of it, "Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue."

I would like to know what Gingrich thinks privately of this nightmarish administration.

He supported it (working hard in the background) for it’s largest expansion - the Prescription Drug Giveaway. I don’t know why there is this running perception that Gingrich is a "conservative". He may have gone with his conservative instincts more often than not at one point, but he is some sort of populist at heart now and a supporter of big government compassion...

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