The Corner

That Brooks Column

I’m halfway between Ross Douthat and you on it, Jonah. I think Brooks is right that a lot of conservatives have a paralyzing misimpression of Ronald Reagan. He’s also right, in my view, that organized conservatism, and not just the Republican party, needs some innovation. But not just any old innovation, or innovation for its own sake, which is what Brooks comes close to suggesting. He thinks Rudy Giuliani should be free to “innovate” on social issues, and John McCain on economic ones. He thinks it’s terrible that James Dobson criticizes Giuliani’s “innovations,” and that the Club for Growth criticizes McCain’s. If Brooks wants to argue that that the party simply needs to move left on economics and social issues, then I’d be interested in seeing his case–but there wouldn’t be anything especially innovative about it. And when the Club for Growth goes after a Lincoln Chafee or an Arlen Specter, which is what it spends much of its time doing, it’s not stifling some creative conservative rethinking.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

National Security & Defense

In Defense of the Iraq War

Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict -- countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today. When Donald Trump condemned the war during the 2015 primary campaign and ... Read More
White House

Mueller Report Delivered to Attorney General

Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday evening delivered a report to attorney general William Barr detailing his nearly two-year investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Barr will now be tasked with deciding what information from the report ... Read More