Inhaling The Budget

I am reminded by the scale and scope of the ambition - and breathtaking fiscal reach - of something I wrote nearly two years ago:

From the content and structure of Obama's pitch to the base, it's also clear to me that whatever illusions I had about his small-c conservatism, he's a big government liberal with - for a liberal - the most attractive persona and best-developed arguments since JFK.

I fear he could do to conservatism what Reagan did to liberalism.

And just as liberals deserved a shellacking in 1980, so do "conservatives" today. In the Bush era, they have shown their own contempt for their own tradition. Who can blame Obama for exploiting the big government arguments Bush has already conceded?

From the perspective of 2009, there is indeed a pragmatic case for allowing the pendulum to swing back toward bigger government. You can oppose this from a pure and abstract point of view, and indeed from a genuine worry that his healthcare plans and education programs and energy overhaul won't work, or will only work with a huge shift in the balance between government and citizen. I'm as conflicted now as I was two years ago - pulled by the logic and power of a liberal shift, while deeply worried about the future of American liberty under the redistributionist and statist policies that are coming. But better, I guess, to have a serious and accountable Democratic president doing this with care than a pseudo-Republican doing it incompetently. In the end, conservatism will have to mount a deep and serious critique and counter-movement. But not yet. Not with the crew now running the GOP.