Perhaps our most insightful pundit on the right, Charles Krauthammer, recently gave a long talk at the NRO, recorded by CSPAN, on modern liberalism and a host of other topics. It is great to hear him speak in longer than a 1 to 2 minute soundbyte on Special Report. Unfortunately his talk cannot be embeded. You can find it here
His points paraphrased:
- The 2008 election reflected the desire of America to withdraw from the world stage, both as a function of economics and national will. The problem is that while we can freely ignore our enemies, they will not ignore us.
- Obama wants us to emulate European social democratic nations, with a much reduced military and far more spending on social welfare. Europe was able to do this after WWII because they were protected by the U.S. military. We do not have that option. If we reduce our military, we create a power vacuum.
- The end result of Obama's policies will be unmistakably negative for our country, and because of that, we will see a return to conservatism.
- 2010 was a pure ideological election on the relationship between citizen and state - between the big government leftism versus small government conservatism. That is why it was a wave election. The 2012 election was not a campaign based on ideology. Romney eschewed the ideological arguments and tried to run just on the state of the economy. That is why he lost.
- "Romney spoke conservatism as a second language."
- Krauthammer was once a communist. It only lasted a weekend during college, but it was "one hell of a weekend."
- Republicans should make no suicidal charges during the next two years. We can't govern from the House. We can and should block, as well as make small advances.
- Obama is going to use the regulatory bureaucracy to go around Congress because they would never approve his radical agenda. Moreover, some of Obama's executive orders have been lawless. The House should highlight these facts through hearings.
- Conservatism is not dead, and the Democratic theories of demographic Republican decline are not believable. The one troubling spot is that the Republicans have lost a natural constituency in Hispanics. We need to neutralize the immigration issue. Step one, stop illegals crossing our border by building a fence just like the Israelis did to stop the violence of the Second Intafada. Step two, then grant limited amnesty with a path to naturalization.
- Single women, the youth, and urban dwellers are natural liberal constituencies. So what. Conservatives have larger natural constituencies.
- Is our society devolving? The rise in births to unmarried women under 30 is troubling, but on the flip side, there has been a huge decrease in crime. We are in the midst of adapting to new social relationships that inevitably work themselves out in the end.
- Krauthammer, once a speech writer for Walter Mondale, moved to the right in the 1980's for two reasons. On foreign policy, the left became incredibly irresponsible, advocating such things as a nuclear freeze. On social policy, Krauthammer came to the realization that the social policies of the left were doing great damage to the constituencies they were put in place to help.
- A crime of American liberalism is consigning inner city children to a life of desperation because of the influence of teachers' unions. It is failing for lack of competition. There are a host of intractable problems troubling the inner city youths, but changing public education is simple and key.
- Affirmative action actually hurts more than it helps. It takes away the life chances of a large number of Americans by setting them up for failure.
- It is improper to call Obama a "socialist." Socialism is too broad a term. Obama is not a socialist in the totalitarian sense. He is in the ilk of a social Democrat in the post-WWII European sense.