Conservatism

R.I.P. National Greatness Conservatism, 1997-2012

A decade-plus of bloody, fruitless wars and budget-busting "energetic government"

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Politically speaking, conservatives didn't have much to be thankful for this November. After President Obama's re-election cakewalk, 2013 looks like a rebuilding year, a time for "soul-searching" by GOP leaders and the conservative intelligentsia alike.

Last week, believe it or not, The New York Times' erstwhile "National Greatness Conservative," David Brooks, made an important contribution to that project. Brooks's Nov. 19 column, "The Conservative Future," identifies a number of youngish right-leaning thinkers who can help the GOP evolve.

And what's notable about his list is that not one of Brooks' rising stars is a dedicated follower of "National Greatness Conservatism." Since Brooks was the ideological godfather of that late-'90s variant on neoconservatism, his omission speaks volumes. It seems the "Conservative Future" won't be found in bellicose national crusades.

What is, or was, National Greatness Conservatism? As Brooks described it, NGC was a muscular, nationalist ethos devoted to "great projects designed to physically and spiritually unify the nation." In a 1997 Weekly Standard cover-story "manifesto" entitled "A Return to National Greatness," Brooks decried limited-government conservatives "besotted with localism, local communities, and the devolution of power" and insisted that "energetic government is good for its own sake."

"Wishing to be left alone isn't a governing doctrine," he and co-author Bill Kristol (editor of The Weekly Standard, a sister publication of The Washington Examiner) argued later that year in The Wall Street Journal. Instead, Americans needed grand federal crusades to pull them away from private, parochial concerns and invest their lives with meaning.

Compulsory national service, a Mars mission and "a neo-Reaganite foreign policy of national strength and moral assertiveness abroad" were among the specific causes championed by NGCers. But "it almost doesn't matter what great task government sets for itself," Brooks wrote, so long as it's busy dragooning us into causes greater than ourselves.

"Ultimately, American purpose can find its voice only in Washington," Brooks maintained. And Washington is never louder or more powerful than when it has a war to fight. Sept. 11, 2001 brought that war, and the possibility of the grand crusade NGCers had hungered for. "Does anybody but me feel upbeat, and guilty about it?" Brooks wrote less than a month after the towers fell.

If you seek a monument to National Greatness Conservatism, look around you. After a decade-plus of bloody, fruitless wars and budget-busting "energetic government" for its own sake, there's not much to be cheerful about.

So it says something that last week, Brooks began his "Conservative Future" op-ed with a shout-out to the American Conservative, a magazine whose editorial philosophy—standing athwart the "welfare-warfare state" and championing "peace, community, and fiscal restraint"—could hardly be more hostile to the NGC project. The once-bellicose Brooks recommends reading TAC's Daniel Larison, a writer who rejects "the imperial tendencies of both the Bush and Obama foreign policies…crusades against what he sees as the unchecked killing power of drone strikes and champions a more modest and noninterventionist foreign policy."

It's significant, too, that Brooks goes on to recognize the contribution of libertarian-leaning writers—like George Mason's Alex Tabarrok, the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf and The Examiner's own Tim Carney—all of whom emphatically reject the notion that American purpose can only find its voice in Washington.

Where National Greatness Conservatism focused on spiritual uplift through government activism, the writers that Brooks now hails have less presumptuous goals, like addressing "the economic concerns of the multiethnic working class" and staving off "the fiscal crisis of the entitlement state."

It's doubtful that Brooks himself has fully rejected NGC. Friday's column found him up to his old tricks: title? "Why We Love Politics." (Speak for yourself, Bobo.) But he's right to recognize—if only implicitly—that the conservatism of the future will focus on humbler, but nobler goals.

This article originally appeared in The Washington Examiner.

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  1. You can substitute National Greatness Conservatism with “American Exceptionalism” and it is still the same bullshit all conservatives throw out.

    1. “All conservatives?” Getting conservatives to agree is like trying to herd cats without a can opener.

      1. Good variant on the traditional joke. I’ll give that a 10.

        1. I was originally thinking about a jewish friend’s comment about get 10 jews in a room and you’ll get at least a dozen incompatible opinions. As usual, I was failing on brevity,so I changed course.

          1. The joke is: What do you have when there are two Jews in a room? Three opinions.

            1. It’s a saying, not a joke.

              “X Jews, X+4 Opinions.”

    2. Maybe the phrase is fashionable with advocates now, but “American exceptionalism” has long been used by neutral scholars to try to explain why the USA is so often an exception to trends & practices in other countries that seem comparable otherwise.

    3. What? Who is this and what have you done with the real Palin’s Buttplug?

  2. Today’s conservatives have no problem with big government, as long as it doesn’t pay for abortions.

    1. I see it as today’s conservatives are all about big government, just more so in other countries than at home. Oh, and ABORSHUN!1 too.

    2. It used to be that conservatives were closeted statists and that liberals were blatant, in-your-face statists. Today’s conservatives are out of the closet.

      Also, the fact that David Brooks thinks something is prima facie evidence of its wrongness.

      1. I think this is true primarily of professional “coservatives”. After all, a pundit’s gotta say something, and if that something’s about some very some-y thing (or very thing-y something), i.e. doin’ stuff, so much the better. You ask the avg. “conservative” in the street, not so much.

  3. “Wishing to be left alone isn’t a governing doctrine,”… Instead, Americans needed grand federal crusades to pull them away from private, parochial concerns and invest their lives with meaning.

    My life has plenty of meaning, thank you. “Please leave me alone” is a non-governing doctrine. Violate it and I’ll be looking for ways to feed you to the pigs.

    1. “Ultimately, American purpose can find its voice only in Washington,” Brooks maintained.

      Why do you hate Bruce Springsteen, David?

      /sarc

      1. Everything for the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State.

        Fuck off, Brooks, you toadying fascist.

    2. Leave you alone to do what???

      Besides drug and prostitution policy and maybe a couple other things you and liberals agree about, what do you want government to let you do that you can’t do now?

      1. Seal clubbing.

        1. Eeek! Where’s the camera?! How long has it been there?!

          1. Liberals agree with me about prostitution policy? Really? Clearly you’ve never read Jezebel.

      2. Save my money….

        It’s hard to build up savings when the govt is helping itself to my income.

        1. It’s also hard to build savings without government-insured banks and a criminal justice system to make sure the money stays in your possession.

          1. It’s also hard to build savings without government-insured banks

            No, it’s not.

            1. Think how much smaller your savings account numbers would look without government-driven inflation.

            2. “The social contract exists so that everyone doesn’t have to squat in the dust holding a spear to protect his woman and his meat all day every day. It does not exist so that the government can take your spear, your meat, and your woman because it knows better what to do with them.”

              – Seen on Insty

              1. It’s good to see that you still view female homo sapiens as property.

          2. Fuck off, sock puppet.

            1. I know Tony’s arguing in bad faith, but I’d like to point out the FDIC wasn’t founded until 1933. That’s what – 174 years of American history w/o federally insured bank deposits. Somehow the United States managed to go from being a tiny, poor nation to a gigantic, wealthy one in that time. And all without any guarantees on their savings! It’s almost like the private markets figured out a way to deal with this…

              1. Private markets did figure out a way. Booms and busts with lots of runs on banks. What a wonderful time it was!

                1. Thank God there have been no booms and busts since government got involved in the banking system.

                  1. There are still booms and busts, but the people not responsible for those booms and busts don’t lose their money anymore. You clearly see that as a bad thing.

                    1. And that’s not a moral hazard at all

                    2. Neither do the ones responsible.

                    3. There are still booms and busts, but the people not responsible for those booms and busts don’t lose their money anymore.

                      FIFY.

                    4. No, you fixed nothing. My response was correct, unless you’re blaming the poor and middle class with small bank accounts for booms and busts.

                    5. I must be responsible for booms and busts then, because I’ve certainly lost a lot of money in them.

                      Also, you’re an asshat.

                2. gee it sounds a lot like what we have today with all of the government insurances that all tax payers pay for.

          3. Good point. Those services require $3 trillion a year.

          4. I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

            Government insured banks have only existed for about a hundred years and the “criminal justice system” has only existed for about 200.

            Are you arguing that no one could save money prior to that?

            1. Some people always could save money. Most people couldn’t.

              1. Most people couldn’t save money because they were living prior to the fruits of the industrial revolution. Not because they were living prior government insurance.

                More importantly, I don’t know why people always discuss completely inexpensive issues like bank insurance when talking to libertarians. You realize the government spends lots of money on things other than police officers, teachers, firefighters, roads and deposit insurance, right Tony?

                1. Really iggy? I’m pretty sure some former Carnegie Steel employees would disagree with you. Unions didn’t form because the employees were socialists. They developed because the working conditions were HORRIBLE.

                  1. If men like Carnegie and Rockefeller, with their “free market” monopolies, had been more generous to their employees, those employees could have saved money and unions never would have formed.

                    1. Goal posts go ZOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!

                  2. And why were working conditions horrible? Because society was poor. Poor societies tend to not be able to afford good working conditions. Now why was society poor? Was it because of capitalism, or the fact that poverty had been the natural state of man since forever? And that capitalism was the thing that started to alleviate poverty? The peasants of the Middle Ages couldn’t dream of asking for better working conditions or higher pay like the employees of Rockefeller or Carnegie did.

                    1. Society was not “poor” and working conditions declined with the industrial revolution.

                    2. Bull shit Utilitarian.
                      Have you ever tried to plow a field without a gas powered tiller or make your own cloths without a cotton picker and a mechanical weaver or even put food in your mouth without having to hunt all day long. pre-industiral revolution days were not utopian fantasy farms, they were back breaking working from dusk to dawn and if you didn’t get it done on time for winter the government didn’t give you a welfare check. grow up.

                    3. Society wasn’t poor before the industrial revolution? What a load of crap. Ron destroyed the other part of your argument already, so I won’t even go there

                    4. working conditions declined with the industrial revolution.

                      That must be why so many people changed from rural to urban living and took jobs working in factories. You know, because they were irrational and dispossessed of self-interest. Masochists, the lot.

                    5. PM: Working conditions also declined as humans moved from a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian society. I’m sure you dispute this as well, despite the evidence of rampant disease due to humans living in close proximity of animals. There was no government entity forcing these humans to change their lifestyle, despite the FACT that their average lifespan was reduced.

                      Humans are not rational calculators.

                    6. Just so you know, “evidence” does not mean “things that I imagine would support my arguments.”

                  3. Let me guess: you think Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was a work of nonfiction, right?

                    1. Calidisseident: You clearly have issues with reading comprehension. I did not say society was not poor before the industrial revolution. I said society was not poor DURING the industrial revolution, so iggy’s claim that poor working conditions were a result of the country being poor is false.

                    2. Unindicted Co-conspirator: Nonsense. You don’t need to believe The Jungle was non-fiction to know that working conditions were TERRIBLE. Do you believe the workers protested because they were greedy? Did that justify Carnegie hiring mercenaries to kill his own workers?

                    3. This is how you talk yourself into a box then yell into the wind when everyone stops paying attention.

          5. I thought only the rich benefited from property rights? Poor people don’t have any money anyway, so it’s cool.

      3. Fill in that wet spot in the back yard without getting fined $50,000 per day.

        Drink a 32 ounce soda.

        Eat unpasteurized cheese.

        Sell Manatee steaks.

        Crazy shit.

        1. Crazy shit.

          It’s awful how the entire idea of “freedom” instantly labels you a crazy person in today’s world.

          Not surprising when you can only leave your kids with licensed bouncy-house operators.

          1. Only crazy people would want to live life without having to take orders and ask permission from armed thugs.

            1. If only I had the ambition to be a cop armed thug…

        2. Okay. Those are virtually at the level of cultural preference. I don’t see anything worth having a stroke over.

          1. Where is filling in a hole in your back yard a cultural preference?

            I didn’t realize not stepping in a puddle every time you want to take out your trash had something to do with my culture.

            Oh wait, it’s because I’m white.

            1. Is it always some ultra-specific minor grievance that turns people to libertarianism?

              Because it’s obviously not the wonderful experience you had in a place governed by libertarian principles.

              1. Is it always some ultra-specific minor grievance that turns people to libertarianism?

                It’s the accumulation of “minor” grievances, shithead.

                If you ever get off welfare and try to do something as ambitious as starting your own business, you’ll slowly learn to hate government too. Although I’ve got to say, I doubt you’ll ever be much more than a parasite in society.

              2. Fuck off, sockpuppet.

              3. Is it always some ultra-specific minor grievance that turns people to libertarianism?

                Being fined tens of thousands of dollars and/or imprisoned for improving privately-owned property is a “minor” grievance?

                You can’t even see the real world from where you are standing.

                1. I fail to see how that single bit of bureaucratic nonsense inevitably implies a wholesale rejection of the modern state. Try getting better local bureaucrats?

                  1. Try getting better local bureaucrats?

                    So the EPA is local?

                    Citizens pick bureaucrats?

                    Again, the real world is beyond the horizon for you, isn’t it?

                  2. Cause that’s the only bit of bureaucratic nonsense in this country?

                    Oh and Top.Men

              4. And the fact that large numbers of people on food stamps use the money left over to buy a second T.V. isn’t a cultural preference? Food stamps don’t actually save people from starving, they just help subsidize other things they wanted to buy.

                So I guess by your logic, food stamps are about cultural preferences and should be done away with. Thanks Tony!

                1. I’m a libertarian, but you people arguing with Tony here are doing a shitty job.

                  1. All the people who are good at debunking T o n y have long since given up.

          2. Shorter Tony: might makes right.

            1. Democracy! Where we elect people and are always free!

        3. TIMMEH! You sound like whatshisname in “Demolition Man”…Denis Leary.

          *google*

          “I’m the kind of guy who likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, “Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?” I WANT high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and BUCKETS of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal?”

      4. Start a business without having to jump through hoops, hire who I want, fire who I want. Not have to pay for others sexual habits. Not be treated like a child when it comes to tobacco, alcohol, soda, unpasteurized milk, ect. Not be forced to pay for others retirement, healthcare, food ect. I can keep going, but I hope you get the picture.

        1. Start a business without having to jump through hoops

          I enjoy reminding people that the “Arab Spring” began with a guy who just wanted to sell his wares.

      5. Refuse to clean up the messes others make.

      6. what do you want government to let you do that you can’t do now

        I direct your attention to this website.

        http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/brows…..onCode=CFR

        After a thorough review, I invite you to tell me just what is that I can do without concern for the whims and weapons of the Total State.

        1. Come on now, be serious.

        2. And on top of that there are state and local regulations.

          1. And on top of that there are state and local regulations.

            Take a healthy animal from my farm, slaughter it on site and give it to a needy family I know personally and want to help. It’s illegal. I have to pay a third party and taxes.

            1. Or do it anyway and keep your mouth shut.

              Law enforcement is not very proactive. They rely almost entirely on tips. If nobody tells them anything, they never know.

            2. Do you even care to know why such a practice is illegal? Have you ever thought about what repealing such a rule would bring about? Or do you only think about yourself?

              1. You really think Sinclair wasn’t a prevaricating piece of shit don’t you?

              2. Meat Madness! ZOMG!

      7. Send e-mail and make phone calls without being spied on. Not be forced to purchase health insurance. Not face the risk of indefinite imprisonment or death, at the whim of Top Men. Be allowed to leave the country without paying a shakedown fee. Not pay a penalty for dying and having the audacity to have saved some money for my children. Buy a car not approved by Top Men. Smoke in bars. Buy an automatic weapon. Drink raw milk. Buy lawn darts. Open a physician-owned hospital. The Federal Register is 80,000 pages. Let me know if you’d like me to continue.

      8. I want to be able to buy NFA weapons without special dispensation from the ATF, submitting to fingerprinting or an FBI background check, or paying a tax.

        I want to be able to self-insure for healthcare without being subject to a tax penalty.

        I want to be able to get on a plane without being molested, and by belongings pawed through, by halfwits in TSA uniforms.

        I want to be able to patronize supermarkets that bag my groceries in single-use plastic, rather than in paper.

        Shall I go on?

      9. There’s also food nanny-ism, immigration, political correctness, several of which many liberals are wishy-washy on.

        The existence of many gov’t programs and spending and regulatory agencies and their regulations prevent people from having the freedom to do many things. Lack of money due to high taxes takes away freedom of action as well. Higher prices due to the absence of free enterprise do the same. I’m having a hard time finding affordable used cars for my kids right now due to the clash for clunkers program for example. There are thousands of things like this if not millions.

  4. National Greatness. National bankruptcy is more like it.

    1. It’s amazing how the left views itself as the “reality-based community” despite the massive delusions they have. It’s incredible. To be fair, the standard Republicans Bartlett criticizes are deserving of that criticism.

      But just an example from that article – the 1930’s were by far the time of the largest (until that time) peacetime government involvement in the economy. Spending skyrocketed. From the very beginning, Hoover intervened in the depression more than any previous president had in a prior economic downturn. FDR was essentially Hoover on steroids. Just ten years prior, we had an economic downturn that was initially sharper than even the Great Depression was at first. The government did basically nothing and we had a quick, robust recovery. Imagine if it was the other way around: We had a depression in 1920 where the government intervened quickly and forcefully, with a strong and fast recovery and then we had the depression in 1929 and the government did nothing for 17 years with no recovery, and then in 1946 started major intervention, resulting in a quick recover and large economic expansion. What would the narrative be in this alternate universe? Would we hear the end of the wonders of government intervention? Hell, the exact opposite happened, and we still hear how only government can save us from recessions.

    2. (continued)

      How can Bartlett look at the record and conclude that the Keynesians were right? You could say that unkeynesian tax policies inhibited recovery, but it’s not like libertarians or conservatives support tax hikes in recessions

    3. Government spending was cut by 35% of GNP at the end of WWII and Keynesians predicted disaster. Keynesians said stagflation was impossible. Keynesians are completely puzzled by Japan’s lost decades. Keynesians failed to foresee the housing bubble. Keynesians said unemployment would be, what, 8% without the stimulus? Failure as far as the eye can see.

    4. this…

      For the record, no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy’s problems than Paul Krugman. The blind hatred for him on the right simply pushed me further away from my old allies and comrades.

      1. Prescriptions like a nice big housing bubble?

      2. Krugman correct? About what? Citations, please.

    5. …my evolution from comfortably within the Republican Party and conservative movement to a less than comfortable position somewhere on the center-left. Honest to God, I am not a liberal or a Democrat. But these days, they are the only people who will listen to me.

      Stop the presses–only leftists are giving his leftist ideas credence!

    6. When Republicans and conservatives once again start asking my opinion, I will know they are on the road to recovery progressivist self-delusion like me.

      FIFY

  5. If David Brooks endorses them, I just going top go ahead and assume they’re enemies of freedom.

    1. Why do reasonoids give a damn what that power-worshiping lewinsky brooks thinks about anything? He contributes nothing, but because he is in the nytimes he’s quotable? Just stop reading him and his political-class apologist rag.

  6. Where did compassionate conservatism fit in with this?

  7. I’m happy Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” and Brook’s “national greatness conservatism” are dead. I don’t need a national crusade to give my life meaning. In fact, that very idea is almost totalitarian and more akin to something from the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany.

  8. “Wishing to be left alone isn’t a governing doctrine,”

    Says fucking who?

  9. Tuping is hsrd.

    1. I jnpow, tlel me abou tit.

  10. “soul-searching” by GOP leaders and the conservative intelligentsia alike.

    “WE JUST WEREN’T HITTING IT HARD ENOUGH!”

  11. “soul-searching” by GOP leaders and the conservative intelligentsia alike.

    Wait, politicians have souls?

    I see a flaw in the premise.

  12. what do you want government to let you do that you can’t do now?

    Judy Jetson porn.

    1. Wait, that’s illegal?! Fuck, brb, need to wipe HDD

  13. Besides drug and prostitution policy and maybe a couple other things you and liberals agree about, what do you want government to let you do that you can’t do now?

    He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

    1. Of course, the key is the “let you do.” We are supposed to let government do some things, including restricting our freedoms somewhat in exchange for some order, not the other way around.

      1. Of course, the key is the “let you do.”

        Exactly. As far as the Tonys of the world are concerned, you have no rights or freedoms until they are granted to you by the government.

        Government is God.

        1. You can believe rights come from magical rights fairies if you like, my question is what are your grievances. Your taxes are lower than they’ve been in generations, and the lists I’ve been given so far are mostly just local ordinance annoyances.

          1. Shorter Tony: nanny nanny boo boo!

            1. Tony rather enjoys the sensation of having a large object in his rectum; having it belong to the government is a triviality. He just can’t understand how anyone could possibly not share that proclivity.

          2. Even if taxes are lower than they’ve been, that’s only because we’re borrowing what, 40 percent of what we’re spending? Of course they won’t have any consequences

            And then there are the small things, like the government assuming the power to spy without warrants, indefinitely detain people with no due process, torture, assassinate citizens with no oversight, go to war without congressional approval, etc. It’s not like the government would ever abuse those powers, right?

            1. And then there are the small things, like the government assuming the power to spy without warrants, indefinitely detain people with no due process, torture, assassinate citizens with no oversight
              Tony says you have no right to be free from such tyranny, since rights only come from magical rights fairies. Apparently he would have had no problem with the actions of the Gestapo or NKVD.

          3. ” Your taxes are lower than they’ve been in generations”

            Um, in order to say this you would need to know which tax bracket and state the person is in.

            While it is true that Federal average effective tax rates are relatively low historically speaking ane reality is that the “savings” are not distributed equally across the income spectrum with the poorest 50% and richest 1% getting significant discounts, the 51st through 80th and 5th trough 2nd percentiles being at about historical averages and the 81st through 6th percentiles paying higher effective rates. Add to that the fact that in most states effective State and Local taxes have grown significantly offsetting the Federal “savings”

          4. Taxes are lower than generations?

            Your argument, if true at all, focuses only on tax rates, which are applied to tax brackets that are not, and have never been, adjusted for inflation. Thus, the “lower” rates are applied to salaries that, thanks to inflation, are worth far less than they were when the rates were established in the first place. That’s how the Alternative Minimum Tax, that was supposedly intended to address only 40 wealthy people, has become a middle class tax.

  14. “soul-searching” by GOP leaders and the conservative intelligentsia alike.

    From what I can tell, their soul-searching consists of looking for opportunities to narrow their differences with proggy libs from the current 1 millimeter to something in the nanometer range.

  15. Instead, Americans needed grand federal crusades to pull them away from private, parochial concerns and invest their lives with meaning.

    I trust that we’ve all read The True Believer.

    1. Holy shit. What a sad life he must live, if he thinks the federal government is necessary to invest lives with meaning.

  16. It’s significant, too, that Brooks goes on to recognize the contribution of libertarian-leaning writers?like George Mason’s Alex Tabarrok, the Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf and The Examiner’s own Tim Carney?all of whom emphatically reject the notion that American purpose can only find its voice in Washington.

    I guess “libertarian” means anything you want it to these days.

    1. I think it means ‘marginally less statist than the rest of us hacks’.

      1. Anyone to the right of Trotsky is pretty much a dangerous anarcho-capitalist maniac who wants to starve teh childrunz and the elderly. Everybody who’s anybody knows that.

  17. “Great projects designed to physically and spiritually unify the nation.”

    National Greatness Conservatism sounds an awful lot like progressivism. This gives a good amount of credence to Orwell’s comment about there being no left and right, just authoritarians and libertarians.

    This is why I don’t like calling the New York Times a liberal newspaper. They have people like Brooks working there. It’s not really a liberal paper, so much as a statist paper that happens to mostly employ liberals.

  18. Not a governing doctrine ?

    Monroe’s the name.

    James Monroe

  19. Why does everyone insist on calling Obama’s victory a “cakewalk,” a “crushing defeat,” etc.?

    A 3.6 million popular vote margin is only 600,000 larger than Bush’s re-election margin over Kerry. No one called that a “crushing” margin.

    And Obama’s 3.6 million popular vote margin is less than half of Clinton’s re-election margin over Dole, a mere fraction of Reagan’s 16.5 million re-election margin over Mondale, and an even smaller fraction of Nixon’s 18 million re-election margin over McGovern. And while I don’t have the numbers in front of me, I’d bet that it is also substantially smaller than Johnson’s re-election margin over Goldwater.

    Obama won, but let’s not overstate matters — or buy into his delusion that he obtained a “mandate” from the voters.

    1. It’s talked about the way it is because it should’ve been an easy win against Obama, with his incredibly crappy economic and foreign results, and yet the other candidate still wasn’t deemed any better. That’s pretty crushing, yes.

    2. or buy into his delusion that he obtained a “mandate” from the voters.

      If not a mandate, then what? Battered wife syndrome at a national scale?

  20. Where National Greatness Conservatism focused on spiritual uplift through government activism, the writers that Brooks now hails have less presumptuous goals, like addressing “the economic concerns of the multiethnic working class” and staving off “the fiscal crisis of the entitlement state.

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