Reading former Reagan Budget Director David Stockman's takedown of the last 40 years of GOP fiscal policy left me with two thoughts: the first one being that he is for the most part, correct in his analysis. The second thought was if Stockman had a better idea.
If you want to get lots of attention these days, all you have to do is be a disgruntled Republican and write a scathing op-ed or blog post about how your party has gone off the rails. Stockman is the latest, but Andrew Sullivan and Bruce Bartlett also do it all the time, write pieces that talk about how stupid the GOP has become and how angry they are at what was once their political home.
There is a lot to be said about calling a spade a spade. There truly is a lot wrong with the GOP and with conservatism in America in general. I'm not saying that there shouldn't be any talk of what is wrong with conservatism; I would just like to hear more of what can be an alternative vision.
I agree with Stockman, Bartlett and Sullivan that current conservative fiscal policy is a joke. But what is an acutal conservative alternative? What are alternative conservative solutions to health care reform, or climate change, or the war in Afghanistan or how to deal with entitlements? It's easy to complain about what's wrong, but not so easy to say how to set it right.
What I long for are people who are willing to provide solutions and not simply sink into cynicism. I'd like to hear the Stockmans of the world come up with an alternate vision that might even challenge the prevailing wisdom.
What I'd love to hear at the end of the day is hope, not sunny optimism, but hope- a hope that conservatives can and should provide real solutions to our nation's problems and not simply wallow in despair.