Mr. Anrig seems to think that the pendulum of public opinion has swung back in favor of Big Government. Basically it's a load of bollocks. What I found most risible was this paragraph:
So they advocated creating health savings accounts, handing out school vouchers, privatizing Social Security, shifting government functions to private contractors, and curtailing regulations on public health, safety, the environment and more. And, of course, they pushed to cut taxes to further weaken the public sector by "starving the beast." President Bush has followed this playbook more closely than any previous president, including Reagan, notwithstanding today's desperate efforts by the right to distance itself from the deeply unpopular chief executive.Look at the conservative ideas that he claims have been advocated and discredited. Not one of them ever saw the light of day! Numerous Republican politicians have tried to get the federal government involved in school vouchers. But the Democrats, most notably Ted Kennedy, deeply beholden to the NEA, block any and all attempts at a meaningful school voucher program.
Privatizing Social Security? This was an idea that President Bush tried to tackle but again was blocked at every turn by Democrats, deeply beholden to elderly voters. I still don't have a private retirement savings account and I still see those taxes taken out of my paycheck every two weeks. President Bush even tried to compromise on Social Security reform, promising no reduction in benefits for those who elect to keep traditional Social Security benefits. Nothing!
'Starving the beast'? What planet is Mr. Anrig from? One of the biggest critiques that conservatives have of President Bush is that he spends like a, well, like a Democratic congressman. The tax cuts worked. They led to increased tax revenues, but then the President and Congress blew it all!
This is one of the most infuriating aspects of the Bush administrations. It seems like he is trying to spend his way (prescription drug benefit anyone?) to winning praise from the Democrats. But like the kid who tries to buy friends, all it gets him is contempt. Small government conservatives want desperately to like and believe in President Bush but he has snubbed us in favor of profligate spending. He just doesn't seem to understand that Paul Krugman is never going to write nice things about him.
If anything conservative ideals are as popular today as they every were. It's just that those of us that believe in them see little hope of their achieving fruition under any likely Republican presidents. As for Mr. Anrig's claim that more people believe that the public sector should do more to help those in need, is it any wonder after the past three generations have been brainwashed by public school education and the mainstream media? What's amazing is that there is still a large segment of the population that knows that they know what is best for their families and neighborhoods and wish politicians would take their hands out of our pockets so we could act in our own best interests.