If politics is the art of the possible, we're toast
Sometimes I feel a bit impertinent as an Englishman lecturing you from the other side of the pond on how you should best conduct your political affairs. Then I remember: "No hang on, wait. Didn't I once write a book called Welcome To Obamaland: I've Seen Your Future And It Doesn't Work? And was not this book - published shortly after Obama's inauguration - so prescient about the coming Obamatrocity in every way that some men do now call me the British Nostradamus?"
Actually, that last bit's not true. No one has ever called me the British Nostradamus but they jolly well should because I was right about Obama and I'm right about what I'm going to tell you now:
Don't, whatever you do, let Romney or Perry get the Republican nomination. Do so and you're toast. We all are.
How can I be so sure? For the same reason I was so sure about Obama: because I've already experienced your future.
In Obama's case, the prototype ultra slow motion rail crash disaster - for reasons we need not go into here: read the book - was Tony Blair.
In the case of Romney/Perry, the example you have to fear is the current British Prime Minister David Cameron.
When Cameron first became leader of the Conservative party much concern was expressed among more ideologically-minded conservatives that for a conservative he did seem to spend an awful lot of time apologizing for conservatism. Apologists for Cameron's apologism explained that this was part of a vital strategy called "detoxifying the brand." The theory went that "elections are won in the center ground" - and that therefore there was no point trying to court the votes of traditional conservatives who believed in stuff like small government, low taxes, liberty and other dangerous right-wing ideas. What mattered far more, was to court more left-leaning swing voters by hymning the praises of gay marriage, visiting melting glaciers to show how much the new-look Conservatives cared about Man Made Climate Change, worshipping at the shrine of socialized healthcare, and so on.
I'm not saying the comparisons are exact. But what I'm hearing now from the Romney and (though to a lesser extent) Perry camps are the same ones I heard being advanced for David Cameron: that he may not be ideal but that he represents the "electable" face of conservatism; that to choose a more radical candidate runs the risk of his being defeated by the disastrous incumbent, so therefore it is better to play safe rather than go for the riskier candidate (a Cain or a Paul, say) whose views more closely represent what needs to be done if the US is not to go the way of 5th century Rome.
"Politics is the art of the possible," all these armchair sages tell us. Are they aware who came up with that phrase? It was Bismarck, famous - inter alia - for being about as far off from small government conservatism as it's possible to be.
And it's a phrase which, now more than perhaps at any time in history, should be expunged from the vocabulary of all true conservatives (and libertarians). What makes it so dangerous is that it legitimizes the notion that politics is about give and take, about compromise, about stitching up cozy deals, about expanding the size of the state no matter who's in power, about giving public sector workers their wish lists rather than pay checks you can afford. Why do you think things have gotten to be as bad as they are now? Why do you think the Western economy is about to fall off a cliff? It's because the post-War political consensus, among conservatives only to a slightly lesser degree than among liberals, is that it's possible to go on and on expanding the size of government while yet maintaining a healthy economy.
And as we're about to experience, you can't.
Which is why we so badly need a US president who understands this. Not one who thinks he can get away with going on doing all the things that got us into this mess in the first place.