Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Big symposium in DC Thursday

The Hudson Institute and the Bradley Foundation are sponsoring a big symposium Thursday morning at the DC Ritz-Carlton, featuring a heavy-duty all-star roster:
  • Michael Barone, U.S. News and World Report
  • David Brooks, The New York Times
  • Tammy Bruce, "Tammy Bruce Show"
  • Francis Fukuyama, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Robert George, Princeton University
  • Hugh Hewitt, "Hugh Hewitt Show"
  • Tamar Jacoby, Manhattan Institute
  • William Kristol, Weekly Standard
  • Charles Murray, American Enterprise Institute
  • Shelby Steele, Hoover Institution
The "framing essay" by UVa.'s James Ceaser -- here in PDF format -- is a doozy. My academese is a bit rusty, but I think his basic message is that Republicans need to come out of the neocon closet and get in touch with their inner Straussian. Or something like that. Here's a brief excerpt:
The conservative movement today is constructed from a "coalition of the willing." ... What induces them to join and remain in the same coalition is a single, self-evident truth: Hillary Clinton. Liberalism is the glue that cements the conservative movement, and if liberalism were to disappear tomorrow, the conservative movement as we know it would begin to disintegrate on the next day. ...
Liberalism, too, is a kind of coalition. ... But of the two coalitions, conservatism is the more heterogeneous, consisting of parts that do not even pretend to be guided by the same principles.
I like the irreverence. The No. 1 problem with the DC think-tank crowd is a humor deficit. I've met a lot of really funny conservatives, but very few of them are "senior fellows." Exposing the stupidity of liberalism is a laugh riot -- just ask Stan Evans, Bob Tyrrell, Ann Coulter or Mark Steyn -- but I've noticed a tendency among Beltway wonks to forget the Fun Factor.

Whether it's the dry wit of Bill Buckley or the vicious sarcasm of P.J. O'Rourke, nothing is quite so charming as a conservative who runs rhetorical rings around liberals, with a smile on his face.

-- McCAIN

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