I’ve long ceased commenting on current affairs for lack of any discernible meaning, and instead turned my attention to the theoretical, with an eye to a brighter tomorrow. Well, the 2012 elections may well prove to be an exception, a portent of something new, something different. No, not because the Democrats have won, but because the Republicans have lost!
Indeed, Romney’s defeat, coupled with the continuation of the status quo in both houses, promises to be the best of all possible outcomes. Again, not because the policies emanating from the White House are expected to be more enlightened or better for the country with Mr. Obama in charge than with Mr. Romney. Nor do I base my hopes on the White House prerogative of filling in Supreme Court appointments. I’ve long shed the illusion that liberalism, unaltered, can work. On what, then, do I base my cautious optimism?
Surprisingly, it comes from the least expected of quarters: a thoughtful conservative response, re-evaluation, and narrative. Therein lies the possibility, I say, of a meaningful dialogue in terms of conflicting ideas, not just another compromise by way of half-baked policies designed to accommodate the conflict. Had Mr. Romney won and the shoe been on the other foot, I’m near certain there would be no room for further thought and reflection, and this article would never materialized. I must confess, in passing, I have yet to meet a thoughtful liberal, let alone encountered a "thoughtful liberal response," but that’s my bias.
Two examples will suffice. Witness, for instance, the timely appearance of David Frum, a conservative with impeccable credentials, on a recent Mike Huckabee show. Lest you didn’t know, Mr. Frum has just published an eBook, Why Romney Lost: And What the GOP Can Do About It, so it’s understandable that he’d be a much sought-after persona these days in all the media. What made his presence, however, on the Mike Huckabee show especially significant was the congenial tone of the conversation. One of the subjects was abortion and the ways in which the two seemingly irreconcilable positions, pro-life and pro-choice, could possibly be reconciled. Rather than treating us to the usual fare of arguments and counterarguments, whereby the two views are deemed mutually exclusive, the focus was on closing the gap by coming up with a more generous support system for expectant mothers (regardless of their immigration status), on neonatal and prenatal care, etc. All told, it was rather refreshing for a conservative radio show. The podcast of the relevant segment follows.