The New Charlie Peters


"Compassionate conservatism" is out; "progressive conservatism" is in. Or so says David Brooks in this week's New York Times Magazine.

Brooks' formula for "how to reinvent the GOP" includes some palatable ingredients, such as eliminating corporate welfare, overhauling the tax code, and promoting competition in health care and education. But his fundamental goal is reconciling conservatism with big government, jettisoning the anti-statist impulse that provides common ground between conservatives and libertarians. The platform he proposes bears a striking resemblance to neoliberalism, not just in certain particulars (entitlement reform, mandatory "national service") but in the way it seems to embody one guy's prejudices more than a clear set of principles.