Jonah Goldberg (God bless him) writes about what he calls the "Conservative Buzz Kill" in today’s LA Times. Citing our own William Voegeli’s terrific essay in the current issue of the Claremont Review of Books, Jonah writes that conservatives need to understand that public opinion--though buoyed by conservative rhetoric--is not on board with real deal conservatism in the sense of strictly limited constitutional government. Well, yea . . . (should I say, duh?) The good news is that Americans don’t like an honest accounting of what the libs are all about either. Except (more bad news . . .) the libs know this, so (brace yourself . . .) they lie. It’s not really socialized medicine--it’s expanded coverage, and so on. It’s shocking, I know, but it is the reality of the situation.
Jonah explains the variety of ways conservatives have taken to reacting to the built-in advantage of liberals with their ever-increasing dependent constituency: "compassionate conservatism" and libertarian/conservative purist retreat. Surprise! None of these genius ideas are any good. Jonah’s buzz kill is that there is only one thing that will do any good--and it’s not sexy. It’s the plodding, patient work of tearing out liberal bricks one by one where they show evidence of being loose. While this is probably all very true it seems like there should be a more inspirational way of saying it . . . maybe not.