1. The Democrat won in NY-26 easily with 48% of the vote. Republicans are blind if they don’t regard this as one piece of evidence among many of a momentum switch. They’re losing the debate over Medicare. People don’t want it turned into a voucher—or defined contribution—program. Ryan is no “social engineer,” but for now he seems too extreme. As Steve Hayward has reminded us lately, the astute Voegeli book counseled compromise on entitlements (arounds means testing)—and not a dramatic move to a new birth of freedom (as the Straussian Tea Partiers like Paul Rahe have been trumpeting). Even Republicans should regard the implosion of the welfare state with some regret and as a problem to be managed. Nouveau Randianism needs to be put back in the Ayn jar—and the lid screwed on tight.

2. Giuliani is inclined to jump into the race. I’ll restrain myself from taking a cheap shot that would call attention to his irrelevance these days. Of course, irrelevance and being a has-been didn’t keep Newt out.

3. In response to the thread: I’m not certain Romney can’t win. His chances in the primaries, I continue to say, are pretty minimal, due to hostility coming his way from both Tea Partiers and evangelicals. If he were nominated, he’d have a shot if the economic anxiety was high, but he doesn’t resonate with “downscale” voters and we’re fooling ourselves if we don’t admit that “Mormon patriarchy” would become a big issue. He would be a good president.

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Articles by Peter Lawler

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