But there also should be concerns on the right. On its current track, the emotional branding of the Republican Party among the young will soon be similar to Metamucil. The party’s emphasis on spending restraint and limited government may be substantively important, but these themes are hardly morally inspiring. And the Iraq war is a serious drawback among younger voters — except, of course, among those 20-somethings with buzz cuts who actually fight the war.
For whom it is, I suppose, an enormous boost to their attachment to the Republican Party? What does one make of statements like this?
And when was the last time the GOP placed an emphasis on “spending restraint and limited government”? When did Michael Gerson ever emphasise either one of these things? In the bad soap opera that has been “compassionate” conservative policymaking, Gerson was one of the head writers. It’s also easy for someone in the Boomer generation and a former member of the Bush administration in particular to think that spending restraint isn’t “morally inspiring,” since he and his have never been inspired to practice such restraint. Metamucil at least has some potential health benefits, whereas the “emotional branding” of the GOP today makes it appear to young voters as something more like rat poison. Definitely not the healthy choice.
As for Gerson’s wannabe bohemianism, I don’t buy it. (I don’t buy his claims to being a “rather serious-minded conservative,” either, but that’s for another day.) There have been high Tory bohemians among American conservatives, of course. Some of us are known to have a fondness for a certain type of anarchist. But Michael Gerson is nothing like them.
Gerson’s ‘‘little rebellion” is to go to a left-wing coffee bar as he tries to get credit for simply having been in the presence of someone else’s radical politics. Meanwhile, the actual policies that he and his promote are the dreariest sort of establishment “centrism.” In this way he is the ultimate lifestyle poseur, not even being willing to espouse the politics that go with the pose. Gerson seems to possess the weird subversive-envy that some Republicans like to adopt to show that they are still “with it” and that it is they who are the real revolutionaries and progressives, while those crusty, old liberals are the ones defending an ancient status quo. This is why Mr. Bush has described himself as a “dissident President” (no more obvious contradiction in terms exists), while naturally having no respect for or interest in dissent against his policies and views.