by Jonah Goldberg
Ever since Mitt Romney lost the presidential election, there's been a lot of talk about how the
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants, among other things, for the
The latest entrant into this effort: House Majority leader Eric Cantor. On Tuesday, Cantor gave a well-received speech at the
It's all good stuff from a great field. Indeed, while calling them the "fantastic four" might seem hyperbolic -- and unfair to a few other politicians left out of the mix -- Rubio, Ryan, Jindal and Cantor are a pretty good counterargument to those who think the
I should note that lately I've written favorably about this rebranding stuff as well. In a nutshell, I've been arguing that the
My point was not -- and is not -- that the
All that said, I think the push to rebrand the
For starters, "prudence" and "don't be stupid," while excellent prescriptions for how to behave, are not, in themselves, great rallying cries. If you don't believe me, try to get a crowd of the faithful to start chanting "Pru-dence! Pru-dence!" or "We're Not Stupid! We're Not Stupid!"
While this may seem obvious, the fact is that one
Obviously, Republicans should care about what is best for the country and the voters -- and they should demonstrate that concern -- but they will never beat liberals at the game of whose heart bleeds the most. As liberal
The reason that game is so perilous for conservatives is not that liberals necessarily care more than conservatives but that they are always willing and eager to prove their concern by cutting a check, even when all we have in the checking account is IOUs and cash on loan from China. Moreover, they are perfectly happy and eager to say that anyone who opposes more check-kiting is greedy or selfish, even if what Democrats are doing is making the problem they seek to solve worse. All too often, liberals act as if government has a monopoly on compassion.
"There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism," Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said, "joined with a certain superiority in its fact." Children often think their parents are being mean when they tell their kids to do their homework. That doesn't make the parents mean, it makes them responsible. Eventually, the lessons of life persuade children their parents were right all along.
Voters aren't children, but too many of them have the childish notion that the best policies are those that pander to their immediate desires. The challenge for the
Two Cheers for Republican Rebranding | Politics