I spent the weekend in DC at the National Review Institute Summit on the Future of Conservatism. On Saturday I was wedged in between Michael Mukaysey and Ralph Reed; yesterday Larry Kudlow sat down at the table. He was going over some notes when an admirer tapped his shoulder. Larry looked up, most displeased, and barked “Go away!” So Kudlow’s not so cuddly.
Highlights include the speeches by Governors Scott Walker and Bob McDonnell, and the talk by Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel. Saturday night’s ensemble of Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg and Rob Long was as good as expected. Steyn admonished the audience that the three words they should take away from the weekend were Optimism, Courage, and more Optimism, not so subtly implying that he found many of the presentations as insipid as I did.
Two observations stuck. First, Rob Long touched on efforts to change the culture, a subject I posted on recently. Long says that the problem with a conservative takeover of a movie studio is that when right-wingers make movies they make right-wing movies. Nobody likes agitprop.
Second, someone (sorry but I cannot remember who) observed that our system of government favors the party that is benefitted by inaction. This is the reason the fiscal cliff benefitted Democrats – in the absence of a deal tax rates went up on everyone. Conversely, the upcoming sequester should favor the GOP since in the absence of a deal spending goes down.
I could not help but apply this insight to the upcoming immigration debate in Congress. The current system has worked out famously well for the Democrats. Since inaction will continue to do so, expect any grand compromise to work out even better for them.