I really hope that the people who wrongly thought that the path to John McCain's victory lay in being more populist than Obama are listening ...
Of course, this health-care plan is occurring against our particular fiscal backdrop: Without major reform, our federal entitlement programs will soon double the size of government. The result will be a crushing burden of debt and taxes.
In short, we may be approaching a tipping point for democratic capitalism.
While the scope of the challenge should not be underestimated, those of us worried about this fundamental reorientation of politics and economics have several things working in our favor. Among them is that a public accustomed to iTunes, Facebook, Google, eBay, Amazon and WebMD is not clamoring for centralized, bureaucratic government. The strong American instinct for individual initiative and entrepreneurship remains intact.
In addition, confidence in government -- from Congress to those responsible for oversight of the financial system -- is quite low.
Our sense is that at the moment, the public is not thinking in terms of "big government" or "small government." Instead, Americans want efficient government -- one that is modern, responsive and adaptive. People want government to act as a fair referee, providing guardrails that allow individuals to rise without intrusively dictating individual decisions.
If conservatives hope to win converts to our cause, we need to understand this new moment and put forward an agenda that reforms key institutions in a way that advances individual freedom, without creating an unacceptable level of insecurity.
22 January 2009
An Opportunity for Conservatism
This was embedded in a WSJ article by Peter Wehner & Paul Ryan last week. It is key: