This election does not represent a choice between left and right. It represents a choice between balance and a new, extreme form of conservatism. This new conservatism cannot accept any tax increases as part of a deal to reduce the deficit. For all his attempts to sound moderate in the campaign’s closing days, Romney has not altered the response he gave during a Republican-primary debate rejecting a hypothetical deal involving a 10-to-1 ratio between spending cuts and tax increases. This refusal to acknowledge the need for more revenue is a recipe for eviscerating government—and the cuts, as Ryan’s budget shows, would fall disproportionately on programs for Americans with the lowest incomes.
The new right has broken with conservatism’s past—and our country’s most constructive traditions—by adopting a new and radical individualism that largely ignores our country’s gift for community.
This echoes Douglas Brinkley’s Rolling Stone piece in which he calls the president “The Progressive Firewall” against the rising tide of radical conservatism.