Principles vs. Pragmatism
E.D. Kain is concerned that there are not enough conservative “wonks” crunching numbers in coming up with conservative-sounding health care plans that are ready to go out of the box. That is, plans that might actually work. While I understand the concern, my fear in conservatives taking such a middle-ground position on such an extreme big-government program like health care is that it will take conservatives the rest of the distance toward utter obscurity. If results matter more than principles, then what are conservatives selling? It will have the same disappointing effect as the lame-duck Bush kicking off the bank bail outs before Obama had a chance to rub his feet all over the Resolute desk. It would have been nice if conservatives could point to some kind of break between conservative and progressive ideologies. But we can’t do that now, because Bush decided to believe wonks over conservatives.
Thus, conservatives ought not worry excessively about putting together some fantastic hybrid plan that is somehow at once pragmatic and principled. For one thing, I highly doubt such a thing exists. And for another thing, the paramount endeavor is to hold the line on the of limits on government dictated by the Constitution and first principles. That position may continue to take a beating, but someone has to keep the fire burning until the grand experimenters run back screaming from the monster they’ve created.