The Plank

What Do Conservatives Have Left?

As members of my family might readily attest, I am prone to worst case
thinking. Knowing I am
going to fly, I always assume a blizzard; watching the Red Sox, I can guarantee
a loss. And so a touch
of sympathy went directly from my heart today to a group with whom I am never in
agreement: the editorial board of the Wall
Street Journal.
Contemplating the prospects of an Obama victory and a
Congressional Democratic super-majority, they warn
their readers of the disasters ahead.

I am not
a regular Journal reader, at
least not since Rupert Murdoch took it over. But these days I've been in love with "The
Corner," the National Review blog, where the Republican Party bears its true
soul. "The most
important piece of writing on the contest that has yet appeared," proclaimed
one Peter Robinson of the editorial.
"Marshalling fact after fact, reasoning
tightly, and deploying beautiful, lean, unfussy prose, the editorial then goes
on for some 1,200 words, demonstrating why such a sweeping Democratic victory
would do grave and lasting damage to the
Republic."

So here,
then, is the worst that can happen:
No one in the United States would find themselves
in a situation in which one unexpected illness could wipe out their life
savings. Corporations
would be held responsible for their mistakes. More workers would gain the protections that
only unions can offer.
The tax system would be made more progressive. There would be more
environment protection.
A person's right to vote would be strengthened. And the United
States would once again respect civil
liberties. And that is
it.

Conservatives have not been having a good year, what with internecine squabbles
and the sinking of the McCain ship.
But surely they can do better than this. The notion that a slight tilt to the left
will cause grave and lasting damage to the Republic is about as credible as John McCain's
charge, in the third debate, that ACORN represents a huge menace to
democracy. If
conservatives keep at it like this, their indignation machine will go a-sputtering. It is difficult to know which prospect they find worse: the
idea of Democrats returning to power or the reality that, once they return to
power, Democrats will prove to be so moderate that conservative scare tactics
against them will lose all resonance.

No wonder the bloggers
at "The Corner" want McCain to talk about socialism. Doing so, from their points of view, beats
acknowledging just how cautious Barack Obama and the Democratic Party
are.

--Alan Wolfe

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