Peter Berkowitz wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal today about Conservatives and compromise. In it, he cites Reagan compromising with Democrats to get a lot of his agenda passed. He also cites William F. Buckley’s big tent conservative principles as a guidebook for the future.
I don’t disagree that conservatism is a big tent movement-and that in the last election cycle the Tea Party blew a couple of Senate elections by putting forth bad candidates. I think they call that “learning”.
I challenge Mr. Berkowitz presumption of compromise on a few key issues.
Obamacare. Where is the compromise between socialized medicine and a medical system based on the free market? I think everyone in America can agree that our present health care system is economically messed up-but should we quietly acquiesce to socialized medicine? There is no compromise between Obamacare and a voucher system like Paul Ryan envisions.
Stimulus versus Cutting Spending/Tax Cuts/Elimination of Loopholes. Where is the compromise between the Keynesian big government views of the Obama administration and the Democrats, and the Classical economic small government views of the Tea Party? It has been proven that no infrastructure projects touted by government post stimulus were shovel ready. The multiplier effect of government spending on GDP is zero. What makes you think that any proposed government spending on items like infrastructure would be any more efficient now? There is a chasm in the economic view of the world between the socialist Democrats and the free market Tea Party.
Mr. Berkowitz advocates for a minimum social safety net. I don’t disagree, but how we administer that minimum social safety net is a big issue. Even allowing the camel nose under the tent invites expansion. FDR wanted a minimum social safety net which begat the albatross we have today.
Candidates like Rand Paul and Marco Rubio won handily in their election races. If the Tea Party were to get behind more candidates like that, it will win even more political contests.
There is no doubt that an agenda cannot be advanced without some compromise. But the issues that the Tea Party are advocating are no different than President Reagan’s denouncing of the Soviet Union. On that, there was no compromise.
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