Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wheel of Fortune

Over at The Corner this afternoon, Andrew Stuttaford assailed this excerpt of a post from The Atlantic's glibertarian blogger, Megan McArdle:

There is, however, a nascent optimism in the conservative and libertarian policy worlds. The last five years have been pretty demoralizing. Now I'm seeing more and more people who are actually looking forward to going into the wilderness for a little while, where they can get their heads together without having to worry about the intellectual compromises of actual politics. There's disgust at certain policies that they can't stop, like the revolting farm bill. But people are kind of excited about figuring out what the next big thing is. Nor are they particularly worried that they will be kept out of the promised land for forty years. After all, four years ago we were talking about a permanent Republican majority.
Stuttaford finds McArdle's position "a remarkably insouciant view of what a stint in the wilderness would be like — and how long it would last."

Is conservatism truly on the verge of a significant crack-up? Our Kathryn Jean Lopez was having none of it as she responded earlier in the day to another McArdle post. K-Lo thinks conservatism needs maybe just a little itty-bitty tune-up:
...[A] successful conservative future does not require reinventing the wheel. It requires going back to first principles — taking and providing a refresher course in conservatism. What is conservatism? How does it play out policy-wise? On the stump? Encourage those who are talking like conservatives. Encourage those who are acting like conservatives. Train the young to be conservatives. The bench of candidates is thin and the ideas cupboard is relatively bare because we haven't been inspiring people. We gotta do that. But we can only do that by being conservative ourselves....
Such lovely curves! They make me wonder...are Australian conservatives spinning down the drain right now in the opposite direction from our own?