I just read on Ace of Spaces that Mr. Charles Krauthammer proposes in a cover article a new tax on gasoline.
We have to seriously question the "branding" of talking heads. The crowd we have are not conservatives. There seems to be something in the water at the National Review and Weekly Standard.
This incident makes me doubt that Mr. Krauthammer would echo Mr. Reagan's sentiment that government is not the solution, but government is the problem. When talking heads start talking about raising taxes in anything but disparaging terms we have to think seriously about what exactly conservatism means.
If the Reagan Revolution is dead, I know one set of fingerprints on the knife in its back. It's not like I'm picking on Mr. Krauthammer (who I've previously been favorably inclined toward), we've got a systemic problem afflicting pretty much every commentator of note.
We should have known we were screwed when the first Republican said "big government conservatism" with a straight face. Mr. Tom Delay gave us fair warning when he said there was no fat in the federal budget to cut. Mr. Bush and Mr. Krauthammer may say many things we like on many topics, but we can't call them conservatives.
The "branding problem" of the Republican party goes deeper than the corruption of guys like Ted Stevens. It goes to the whole notion of what "conservatism" means. I'm not saying that the Republican party ought to kick out the big-government types, but we can't let such folk go around calling themselves conservatives.
You can be less liberal than Mao Tse Tung without being a conservative. I remember scoffing when some C-Span talking-head reported on what the "conservative blogs" were saying about the Republican Convention and she cited a demented fellow who might be many things, but he's no conservative.
So, I propose that we put every putative conservative on trial for actually being conservative. And if we find no evidence to convict, or significant evidence to the contrary, we quit acknowledging and start challenging any representation of that person as a conservative. This should start with both George Bushes extend to every politician and commentator in Washington and New York. We should say, "you're a very nice man, and a loyal Republican (John McCain excepted), but you're no Conservative (John McCain included).