Obama's Risk

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Ruffini is right:

Though it has apparently triumphed, this is a dangerous moment for liberalism. Long-planned moves toward redistribution like universal health care or the repeal of the Bush tax cuts are being conflated with and to some extent elbowed aside by emergency nationalizations and Mr. Geithner's experiments. The White House is not selling the de-facto AIG and GM nationalizations as such, because they know the stigma the S-word carries. It becomes harder to sell the long-standing liberal policy agenda as urgent and necessary when the Administration is busy putting out ten different fires first. And after Year One, it becomes exponentially harder for a new President to push wants instead of needs.

Right now, there are all sorts of pragmatic reasons for bigger government. If this crisis eases, and when it eases, those reasons will dissipate, and a new conservative opening will occur.

The new cultural divide will not be on guns, gays and God. It will be between the makers and the takers, the producers of wealth and the recipients of redistribution. And it will be about tempering the over-reach that the Democrats will be unable to resist. But that means the critique should not be undermined by mindless partisanship now, and it should be based upon clear and constructive policy proposals to advance individual liberty and restrain the cold, clammy hand of the state. That's the medium term challenge for the sane, imaginative, serious right. It requires discipline and thought. And it also requires time.

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