Saturday, September 24, 2005

They Neuter Wolverines, Don't They?

Michigan pulls defeat out of the jaws of victory in a 23-20 loss to Wisconsin. The kind of Michigan loss we've come to know and love over the last few years: no ball control in the last five minutes of a close game, leaving them in the hole with 24 seconds left. Ugh.

Conservative Theories Meet Political Realities.

David Brooks addressed the YAF on the history and future of the modern American conservative movement (podcast at C-SPAN's American Perspectives). His thesis: conservatives developed a tremendous structure to analyze and formulate ideas, but lack the political acumen to get them implemented as policy (ending Communism and beginning welfare reform may be exceptions). John Podhoretz, writing in the 10th anniversary issue of The Weekly Standard, recalled:

OH, LORD, the government shutdown of 1995. How I craved it. How utterly sure I was that it would reveal the naked political perfidy of the Clinton administration, which was resisting important entitlement reforms and spending restrictions that the nation surely wanted and certainly needed. And, like so many conservatives in Washington, how I had waited for the moment when, at last, there would be a true confrontation between the Big Spenders and the Rugged Individualists that would finally lift the veil of Beltway secrecy on the rottenness of the federal budget.

Oh, Lord, how wrong I was.

The political and social impact of the government shutdown was
completely the reverse of what I had expected. For it was not Bill Clinton and the Democrats who were blamed for the shuttering of the government, but Newt Gingrich and the Republicans. Americans wanted the federal government up and running, and they didn't like the image (admittedly fed to them by the liberal media) of a petulant GOP having a temper tantrum because it couldn't get its way...

Have conservatives learned the ropes of governance? The runaway spending by the government would suggest - No. Any progress on Social Security? No. Health Care? No. Education? Very little progress. Dismantling the culture of dependency? Not evident in the last month's events.

In The Candidate, Senator-elect McKay turns from the wild crowd of his victory party and asks his campaign manager: "now what?" It's time to learn how to transform ideas into realities.

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