Conservative triumphalism and public mood swings

George Will thinks that the war is going well, despite public unease about it. Unlike many conservative commentators, Will blames this unease not on liberal reporting about the war, but on the “conservative triumphalism” that preceded the war. Will has always held that the essence of conservatism is a “wariness about uncontrollable contingencies and unintended consequences.” He argues that the failure of conservatives to remind the public of such contingencies and consequences has made it susceptible to the mood swings we seem to be witnessing now. Will makes a good case and some conservatives are probably guilty as charged. However, I think that the Bush administration adequately warned the public of the uncertainties of war. The public believed what it wanted to believe, and the mood swings we’re seeing were probably inevitable given the nature of our society and the way the war is being covered.

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