The ascent of Barack Obama in 2008 had liberal pundits declaring that conservatism was dead, or all but. In a Wall Street Journal essay today, Peter Berkowitz singles out three of his favorites ("complete collapse of the four-decade project ...") and chides the writers for a fatal mistake: equating conservativism—or "thoughtful conservatism" in his iteration—with the Republican Party and George Bush's poll numbers.
True conservative principles go deeper than party politics, he writes. "Progressives like to believe that conservatism's task is exclusively negative—resisting the centralizing and expansionist tendency of democratic government." They "see nothing in this but hard-hearted indifference to inequality and misfortune, but that is a misreading. What conservatism does is ask the question avoided by progressive promises: at what expense?" As for his fellow conservatives, Berkowitz would like to remind many of them that the New Deal happened—ditch the blind spot and deal with political reaity. (Read more conservatism stories.)