Last month I suggested that conservatives take it easy on the snark and reach out to Americans hurting in Obama’s economy. I’d call it “compassionate conservatism,” but explaining that it doesn’t mean what you think it means is like explaining the original definition of “liberal.” Its current usage is too steeped in the political culture. I prefer “tough love” conservatism. In his recent “Morning Jolt” email, Jim Geraghty of the National Review wrote, “Oh, we do care. But we care differently than the folks on the Left do. It’s a difference between the care of a daddy and the care of a sugar daddy. Whether a Democratic officeholder ever admits it or not, their love is transactional – you vote for me, I keep the government there to take care of you and spread the money around.”
Whether its citizens want to admit it, Detroit is begging for tough love conservatism. Republican Governor Rick Snyder and the newly appointed emergency city manager are pushing for the city to file for bankruptcy, releasing the city of its debts. Unfortunately, no one seems to have a plan for what happens after bankruptcy. This is a tremendous opportunity for Republicans in Michigan to take their eyes off the right-leaning suburbs and be Detroit’s heroes. Bankruptcy is a sugar daddy pushing a problem away, not a daddy practicing tough love and instilling discipline.