The Moose reflects on conservative gloom.
The Moose first witnessed the beginning of the end of conservative dominance back in 1995 - ten years before the collapse. It was at a Norquist Wednesday Morning meeting and nosh when there was an Abramoff sponsored presentation on the great conservative cause of sweatshops in the Marianas Islands. The Moose distinctly recalls turning to a conservative comrade and wondering how this item made the agenda.
And now we know the rest of the story...
Yes, conservative governance has become encrusted and grown corrupt. But the bigger story is that the agenda of the right has proven to be not that terribly popular. The truth is the welfare state is pretty darn accepted in this country. And the right found that out when they attempted to privatize a piece of social security.
Even during the idealized times of Reagan, the welfare state was not actually reduced significantly. The great reformer was Bill Clinton who forged welfare reform and a balanced budget. Sure, Republicans cut taxes - but that is far from reducing the reach of the state.
The passion of conservatism is the revolt against the excesses of liberalism. From the time of Goldwater, the right has been in rebellion against the cultural revolution of the left. From law and order to patriotism to the institution of marriage, conservatives have positioned themselves as the defenders of traditional order.
The point that the Moose is making is that the right must be fighting liberal elites in order to thrive. The paradox of the moment is that conservatism is withering because they have become the government elites. Indeed, recent polls show that the right is registering its dissatisfaction with conservative governance!
The best thing that can happen for the right is a liberal return to power in Washington. Silently, secretly, the right is rooting for Speaker Pelosi.
Only then can they be happy and robust again. --