"First, we have to tackle the problems head on. If I am your President, in my first 100 days, I will roll up my sleeves, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, Congressional and state leaders to develop a plan to rebuild America's automotive leadership. It will be one that works for Michigan and that works for the American taxpayers."

Is activist government compatible with economic conservatism?

Opponents of Romney seem to be salivating at his call for an "engaged Washington," reading into that phrase a clarion call for "big government." Clearly, Romney does not believe that the best way to solve Michigan's one-state recession is to cut taxes and get out of the way, as professional conservative thinkers seem to prefer.

Jennifer Rubin accuses Romney of "mimicking Soviet industrial policy" in attempting to prop up in industry that failed entirely on its own.

Here is the dilemma for free marketeers: none of the leading presidential candidates, save Fred Thompson, seems to be a leave-us-alone-consevrative in the model of Grover Norquist. All of them seem to be interventionist conservatives in the model of George W. Bush, and the sudden discovery of the GOP of widespread economic anxiety seems to have triggered the can-do executive in all of them.

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