As much as I have been looking forward to an Obama victory, I have been looking forward to this almost as much.
Conservatism in the United States faces a series of extremely knotty problems at the moment. How do you restrain the welfare state at a time when the entitlements we have are broadly popular, and yet their design puts them on a glide path to insolvency? How do you respond to the socioeconomic trends – wage stagnation, social immobility, rising health care costs, family breakdown, and so forth – that are slowly undermining support for the Reaganite model of low-tax capitalism? How do you sell socially-conservative ideas to a moderate middle that often perceives social conservatism as intolerant? How do you transform an increasingly white party with a history of benefiting from racially-charged issues into a party that can win majorities in an increasingly multiracial America?Â etc.
Those are really great questions and the kind of questions I might ask.
The country needs a Republican party that can give sensible answers to difficult questions like those, but I fear that we’ll have to endure a few more years of fire and brimstone and government-knows-best,Â anti-intellectual evangelicals before the sensible conservatives get their hands back on the steering wheel.
I will watch the debate and hope for the best.