David Frum teases out the that point I was trying to make earlier by mentioning Corey Booker: conservatism has lost the mantle of competency to a new generation of local and national progressive leaders, particularly in the eyes Generation Y. Frum’s point:
SR: If you had a free hand to reform the GOP, what changes would you make?
DF: [I would make] four [changes]. First, we need a more relevant economic policy, one that focuses more on the causes of stagnation of middle-class incomes: rising healthcare costs, too much debt and too little saving, and the costs of excessive unskilled migration. Second, we need to integrate environmental concerns into the core of our policy and political message. Third, we need to modulate our social message. Fourth, we need a renewed emphasis on competence and effective governance—an emphasis that can only come from success in state and local governance.
After the ambitions and recklessness of Johnson in the 1960’s, conservatives positioned themselves as the party of smaller *and *more compotent government: a leaner, meaner Federal government and more powers delegated to state governments. But clearly conservatism has lost that title to progressive leaders like Barack Obama, Corey Booker, Janet Napolitano, Ken Salizar and more.