Packer worries:

...a debate in which one side claims to be arguing from principle and the other side from pragmatism eventually works against the latter (understanding this was one of the main secrets to Reagan’s success). That’s because the side that can offer the most persuasive and appealing account of what is happening will hold onto the public’s assent even as facts drift on the surface of daily events. When one party says that the bank bailout is a colossal big-government waste of taxpayers’ money, and the other says that the details of the bank bailout will show its economic necessity, which side do you think has the rhetorical advantage? The conservative establishment has no new ideas, but in standing athwart Obama’s program it has turned quite rapidly and ferociously to the old ones.

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