Conservatism needs to lighten up

By Fareed Zakaria

The crisis has been resolved, but this respite is temporary. We are bound to have more standoffs and brinkmanship in the months and years ahead. To understand why, you must recognize that, for the tea party, the stakes could not be higher. The movement is animated and energized by a fear that soon America will be beyond rescue.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) put it plainly at the recent Values Voter Summit in Washington: “We’re nearing the edge of a cliff, and our window to turn things around, my friends, I don’t think it is long. I don’t think it is 10 years. We have a couple of years to turn the country around or we go off the cliff to oblivion.”

Cruz dominated the summit’s straw poll, taking 42 percent of the vote, more than three times his nearest rival. His fundraising committees reported this week that they took in $1.19 million in the third quarter, double the total in the preceding quarter. Cruz’s national approval rating may be an abysmal 14 percent, but to the base of the Republican Party he is an idol.

The current fear derives from Obamacare, but that is only the most recent cause for alarm. Modern American conservatism was founded on a diet of despair. In 1955, William F. Buckley Jr. began the movement with a famous first editorial in National Review declaring that the magazine “stands athwart history, yelling Stop.” John Boehner tries to tie into this tradition of opposition when he says in exasperation, “The federal government has spent more than what it has brought in in 55 of the last 60 years!”

http://fareedzakaria.com/2013/10/17/conservatism-needs-to-lighten-up/

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