But the back story to Washington's December bailout efforts is, as ever, the struggle between those who dream of "ruling" Americans with unending and intrusive diktats (i.e., liberals) and those who merely wish to govern a free and independent people (i.e., conservatives). To lapse again into ancient memory, I remember a slogan the rugged individualistic conservative Barry Goldwater had during his 1964 presidential campaign against the FDR liberal Lyndon Johnson: This country needs "a leader, not a ruler." I used to carry that slogan around on a 12-inch ruler -- to the glare of my liberal school chums.
The great, difficult question that conservatives and moderates in Washington are grappling with this winter is how to govern in such a way as to protect our material well-being without sliding into ruling us in a way that diminishes our freedom.
I believe that even we free market conservatives should support bold -- even perhaps reckless -- efforts to halt the slide into depression. The sheer magnitude of the human agony that would follow demands that we temper our theories with the hope that bold governmental action might yet save the material day.
But finally, the trophies of this life must be laid down. And our first duty is to the spiritual salvation of our nation. An America without freedom is an America not worth a future.
As we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, Washington is slouching toward a policy of liberal corporate fascism. Congressionally appointed "car czars" and energy policies born out of the head of that all-too-human Al Gore must be resisted at all risks.
Spiritually, I plan to cling to that old rugged cross. Politically, I will cling to that old rugged Constitution.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.