John Steele Gordon's op-ed in the WSJ today attempts to explain why liberals support the policies they do. He interprets their puzzling behavior with a paradigm of sheep, wolves and shepherds - sheep being the large majority of oppressed common folk; wolves being the ruthless, uncaring capitalists that oppress them; and shepherds being the small group of enlightened liberals who selflessly try to lead the sheep out of their misery. Gordon goes on to show how this silly mindset is roughly a century out of date.
In today's issue, there's also this comment by a reader, referring to the Peggy Noonan column I wrote about a few days ago.
I am overjoyed to see that the real Peggy Noonan is back after her swoon over Barack Obama.
It would have been better if she (and countless other normally rational thinkers) hadn't been hoodwinked in the first place.
It's gratifying that the House of Representatives has overwhelmingly condemned the Goldstone Report (see my post 10/30) by a vote of 344 to 36. Not surprisingly, 33 of the 36 (92%) of those supporting the pro-terrorist report were Democrats. (And one of the 3 Republican votes was the loony Ron Paul). In addition, 20 Democrats (and 2 Republicans) abstained.
And one last item, Jonah Goldberg's latest column on NRO.
Goldberg argues that the Republican Party, far from being run by wild-eyed reactionaries, has actually been too ideologically mushy. Here he gives just some examples of George W. Bush's liberal activism.
Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” was promoted as an alternative to traditional conservatism. Bush promised to be a “different kind of Republican,” and he kept that promise. He advocated government activism, and he put our money where his mouth was. He federalized education with No Child Left Behind — co-sponsored by Teddy Kennedy — and oversaw the biggest increase in education spending in history (58 percent faster than inflation), according to the Heritage Foundation, while doing next to nothing to advance the conservative idea known as school choice.
With the prescription-drug benefit, he created the biggest new entitlement since the Great Society (Obama is poised to topple that record). Bush increased spending on the National Institutes of Health by 36 percent and international aid by 74 percent, according to Heritage. He oversaw the largest, most porktacular farm bills ever. He signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a massive new regulation of Wall Street. His administration defended affirmative action before the Supreme Court.
He pushed amnesty for immigrants, imposed steel tariffs, supported Title IX, and signed the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance-reform legislation.
Oh, and he, not Obama, initiated the first bailouts and TARP.
Not all of these positions were wrong or indefensible. But the notion that Bush pursued conservative ideas with “dogmatic fixity” is dogmatic nonsense.
...In short, conservatives have had to not only put up with a lot of moderation and ideological flexibility, we’ve had to endure nearly a decade of taunting from gargoyles insisting that the GOP is run by crazed radicals.
Goldberg thinks it's time to give true conservatism a chance. And that means not having the GOP nominating far left candidates for public office like Dede Scozzafava.