Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Two views of reality

This morning I heard Bill Kristol and Mark Shields talk about the current setting in politics in the US. There were some interesting contrasts. Kristol spent his opening suggesting that we are in the middle of a fundamental change in international order - i.e. the Cold War is over and the new kinds of challenges we face from terror and other sources changes the dynamics and that we may also be in a political realignment - where the bounds are also uncertain.

Shields, when he came up, seemed to want to justify that everyone at some time loves government - he offered the free market person in a red state who asks for federal intervention when his can of tuna is filled with botulism.

Kristol does not like the President's Social Security plan but Shields seemed inclined to spend his time both in opening and Q&A defending a false front. Indeed, a lot of what some conservatives talk about is how to make government less intrusive. Lots of those discussions are inexact. But the depth of Shields comments and reservations seemed to suggest that the liberal crackup is in full bloom.

Kristol did not have all the answers but at least he was trying to think about the right questions.

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