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That’s populism: Doing what you know is wrong, heedless of harmful consequences — some unintended, others easily foreseeable — because the masses will perceive it as empathy.

Sunday, November 27, 2016 21:47
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Andrew McCarthy writes at National Review,

…conservatives are quite good at perceiving problems — especially problems demagogically manufactured into crises for the purpose of rationalizing populist solutions of the statist variety. In reality, the chief political weakness of conservatism is that modern Americans are conditioned to expect that government can — or must at least try to — solve all our problems. It is the lot of conservatives to resist ill-conceived solutions. Populism cannot change the fact that government is incapable of solving problems upstream of government — problems of culture and complexity that government amelioration efforts, however well-intentioned, often make worse.

…Stephen Moore, by contrast, is telling conservatives to abandon their principles entirely: Surrender to the zeitgeist, deep-six the GOP’s image as the (highly imperfect) vehicle of Reagan conservatism, and become “Trump’s populist working-class party.”

He reportedly told some fairly aghast congressional Republicans that it means helping Trump deliver on his campaign promises . . . even if lawmakers think some of them are dumb ideas — just as Moore does. Trump, for example, wants an Obama-like stimulus of a trillion dollars for roads, bridges, etc. Moore’s response? “I don’t want to spend all that money on infrastructure. I think it’s mostly a waste of money. But if voters want it, they should get it.”

That’s populism: Doing what you know is wrong, heedless of harmful consequences — some unintended, others easily foreseeable — because the masses will perceive it as empathy.

In the United States, it is the states, not the public at large, that elect the president. Absent that arrangement, the Constitution would not have been adopted, and the nation would not have been founded. Our republic has become more democratic, but honoring the original understanding ensures that elections remain national in the sense that candidates must court all the states and be responsive to their varying concerns.

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