George Will (today’s Washington Post) has apparently concluded that a Romney or Santorum presidency is unlikely. Fear not: the field of candidates for 2016 is deep and impressive. In the interim, he makes an argument for pragmatism:
conservatives this year should have as their primary goal making sure Republicans wield all the gavels in Congress in 2013.
While a lack of a supermajority in the Senate and Obama’s veto pen will prevent conservative legislation from passing, a GOP majority in each chamber could limit the damages:
Beginning next January, 51 or more Republican senators, served by the canny Mitch McConnell’s legislative talents, could put sand in the gears of an overbearing and overreaching executive branch. This could restore something resembling the rule of law, as distinct from government by fiats issuing from unaccountable administrative agencies exercising excessive discretion.
Perhaps. But one would have to go back to the 1990s to discover a GOP that would act as Will hopes and serve as a genuine barrier to the expansion of executive power and state power more generally. The track record since 2001 has not been very encouraging (think No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act, the Medicare Modernization Act, preemptive war, and the embrace of seemingly endless deficits).
A question to ponder: Is it too early for conservatives to abandon all hope for the 2012 presidential election?
A second question: Is there any reason to believe that a GOP victory would produce results that were altogether different from what occurred the last time it held unified control?