It Ain't Easy at the Top


If the next nine months of electioneering teaches us anything, it'll be about how Bill Kristol acts when he, his agenda, and his presidential candidate have all finally risen to the top of the GOP pecking order, instead of just plotting insurgencies and peddling influence from the sidelines. Early indications point to initial symptoms of sore-winneritis.

Take this Weekly Standard slap at non-neocon cons, for their "McCain Derangement Syndrome" and other diseases:

The fact is, ordinary American conservatives already are reconciled [to McCain]. Some are enthusiastic. And movement leaders are good at racing to the head of a parade when they see their "followers" marching by. […]

What's more, conservatism as a set of ideas is in pretty good shape. "Neoconservative" thinking on America's place in the world has beaten back attempts to revive the crabbed "realism" of some congressional Republicans in the 1990s as a plausible approach for dealing with the world of the 21st century. And there is a resurgence of creative thinking on domestic policy, reminiscent of the neoconservatism of an earlier generation. Younger conservatives are displaying a welcome heterodoxy in their approach to health care, taxes, and family policy issues.

I guess I missed that "resurgence of creative thinking" during the past eight years of mostly Republican governance….

And I also missed this when it came out, but Kristol's no-really-I'm-not-gloating New York Times op-ed from the other week contains a revealing passage about the great patriotic sacrifice made these past few years by Americans like … Bill Kristol.

It's not easy to rally a comfortable and commercial people to assume the responsibilities of a great power. It's not easy to defend excellence in an egalitarian age. It's not easy to encourage self-reliance in the era of the welfare state. It's not easy to make the case for the traditional virtues in the face of the seductions of liberation, or to speak of duties in a world of rights and of honor in a nation pursuing pleasure.

Pobrecito. But as the poet sang, you got to pay your dues if you wanna sing the blues….