Two small points in response to a couple of guest-posts. First, I heartily endorse David's suggestion for a one-sentence summary of where conservatism should now be headed:
A reality-based, culturally modern, socially inclusive and environmentally responsible politics that supports free markets, limited government and a peaceful American-led world order.
My only quibble is somewhat with the last phrase. A "peaceful American-led world order" should not be interpreted as a policy of constant war in pursuit of an unattainable peace imposed unilaterally by a paranoid hegemon. That's what the last ten years have taught me. American global power should be calibrated to the relative strengths of other powers (right now, it seems to me to be almost absurdly over-developed) and to America's economic resources. I believe that will require a severe downsizing in the near-future, and that this will be a critical faultline between Obama's realism and the return of an utterly unreconstructed Bush-Cheney foreign policy under a president Palin or Romney.
And insisting on total US hegemony (with its comcomitant delusions) while barring the natural rise of other great powers with zones of regional influence is a recipe for more conflict - not less. In my view, there should be no project for a new American century, just a pragmatic attempt to defend America's interests within sustainable resources. I think Obama has done a good job of dialing back Bush's massive and unsustainable polarization and over-reach. But I think future GOP nominee Palin could reverse all this in an instant - and will, if she continues to ride her mendacious media-enabled ride to the White House.