October 27, 2013
FIRST WE HAVE TO REMOVE THE APPLE FROM THE ORANGES...:
The Republican Embrace of the Welfare State : The establishment GOP has accepted progressivism's central premise. (Andrew C. McCarthy, 10/27/13, National Review)
Charles Krauthammer has come to my rescue. You see, I've been on the receiving end of some spirited reaction since asserting in last weekend's column that what we commonly call the Republican establishment -- i.e., not all individual Republicans but GOP leadership -- "is more sympathetic to Obama's case for the welfare state than to the Tea Party's case for limited government and individual liberty." The statement may have been provocative in the sense of expressing a truth that people on the political Right prefer not to talk about. But it was not controversial because it is indisputably true.This week, Dr. Krauthammer, Washington's most influential expositor of mainstream GOP thought, obligingly spared me the need to prove my point. He gave as clear an account of the modern Republican conception of "conservatism" as you will find. Fittingly, he did it on the program of progressive commentator and comedian Jon Stewart. Today's smartest Republicans, self-aware enough to know their core views deviate significantly from those of conservatives in the tradition of Buckley, Goldwater, and Reagan, are more likely to say what they think to Jon Stewart.
...and note that not only did Ronald Reagan accept it but he was the last great defender of the Second Way welfare state. The deal he worked out with Tip O'Neill to save it is the reason reforming it has been so difficult.
And reforming it is the only option. The question of whether there is going to be a welfare state was settled when Ike left it in place after the Depression and WWII had ended. The only question remaining is whether it will be a Second Way--defined benefit--system or a Third Way--defined contribution--system. To the extent that the writers and readers still imagine the fight is to end social welfare they are superfluous, if not counter-productive.Posted by Orrin Judd at October 27, 2013 8:13 AM