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What Conservatives Have Left

As members of my family might readily attest, I am prone to worst case thinking. Knowing I am going to fly, I always assume a blizzard; watching the Red Sox, I can guarantee a loss. And so a touch of sympathy went directly from my heart today to a group with whom I am never in agreement: the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal. Contemplating the prospects of an Obama victory and a Congressional Democratic super-majority, they warn their readers of the disasters ahead.

I am not a regular Journal reader, at least not since Rupert Murdoch took it over. But these days I've been in love with "The Corner," the National Review blog, where the Republican Party bears its true soul. "The most important piece of writing on the contest that has yet appeared," proclaimed one Peter Robinson of the editorial. "Marshalling fact after fact, reasoning tightly, and deploying beautiful, lean, unfussy prose, the editorial then goes on for some 1,200 words, demonstrating why such a sweeping Democratic victory would do grave and lasting damage to the Republic."

So here, then, is the worst that can happen: No one in the United States would find themselves in a situation in which one unexpected illness could wipe out their life savings. Corporations would be held responsible for their mistakes. More workers would gain the protections that only unions can offer. The tax system would be made more progressive. There would be more environment protection. A person's right to vote would be strengthened. And the United States would once again respect civil liberties. And that is it.

Conservatives have not been having a good year, what with internecine squabbles and the sinking of the McCain ship. But surely they can do better than this. The notion that a slight tilt to the left will cause grave and lasting damage to the Republic is about as credible as John McCain's charge, in the third debate, that ACORN represents a huge menace to democracy. If conservatives keep at it like this, their indignation machine will go a-sputtering. It is difficult to know which prospect they find worse: the idea of Democrats returning to power or the reality that, once they return to power, Democrats will prove to be so moderate that conservative scare tactics against them will lose all resonance.

No wonder the bloggers at "The Corner" want McCain to talk about socialism. Doing so, from their points of view, beats acknowledging just how cautious Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are.