E. J. Dionne Jr. – Can the GOP Find Its Center? – washingtonpost.com

I found the following paragraphs most telling.

In an article in the latest issue of the conservative Weekly Standard, Yuval Levin, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, explains the tension between the market and the family as clearly as anyone has:

“The market values risk-taking and creative destruction that can be very bad for family life, and rewards the lowest common cultural denominator in ways that can undermine traditional morality. Traditional values, on the other hand, discourage the spirit of competition and self-interested ambition essential for free markets to work, and their adherents sometimes seek to enforce codes of conduct that constrain individual freedom. The libertarian and the traditionalist are not natural allies.”

Levin acknowledges that the policy fixes he proposes (including health-care portability, long-term care insurance and school choice) are “barely a start” to what needs to be done for those in what he calls “the parenting class.” Still, he identifies a central conservative problem.

I have been getting the feeling from the news stories coming down the pike that this is becoming a problem for the business leaders with a social conscience. Their stock holders and boards demand and by law expect them to maximize profits. This conflicts with the concerns many of them have for the environment and the health and welfare of the country. The only way they can follow their conscience is when governments regulate the issues so that the playing field becomes fair at the higher level of benefits for all.

The concept that corporations will do what’s best for America and American’s has been proved wrong on so many levels and so often that it is amazing that anyone still holds it. The Republican mantra of smaller government is really a mantra of fewer watchdogs. As this administration has shown, when you can’t win the idea war you just fire the lawyers that are calling you on the carpet and replace them with lawyers that will go after the small taxpayer who can’t afford to fight. That’s what I call the “bully theory of government”. George W Bush has taken this form of government to a high art form. The trouble with it is, the people you are bullying really have to believe the threat, when they stop believing you stop having the means to “scare” them into doing what you want.

Source: E. J. Dionne Jr. – Can the GOP Find Its Center? – washingtonpost.com