Spent a portion of last evening in the company of George Will at the Pacific Research Institute’s annual dinner (I reprised my schtick as master of ceremonies—sometime I’ll have to do an MC cage match with Hinderaker—hey, maybe that could be a reality TV show??). As you can imagine, people were looking for some cheer after this week, and we gave it to them. From my welcoming remarks:
Well, how to begin? What’s on your mind this week? Perhaps we should start with H.L. Mencken, who once wrote that democracy is the theory that the people know what they want—and deserve to get it good and hard.
Or as New York Mayor Ed Koch put it, “The people have spoken . . . and they must be punished.” I think that’s just been arranged.
But here’s how counter-intuitive we are at PRI: who would ever suspect that after an electoral catastrophe, the friends and advocates of limited government would regroup three days later to plot a comeback in . . . San Francisco. If Jon Stewart hears about this, he’ll give his writers the night off. Actually I suspect all of the late-night writers are worrying about job security over the next few years as the prospect of Biden for President campaign comes into view. [Feel free to insert your own rim shot at any point in this post.]
There are several constants in my life: California’s ridiculously nice climate that constantly draws me back; Jerry Brown as governor for life, and reading the columns of our honored guest tonight.
Even in the internet age, sometimes news from the far western edge of the continent doesn’t make it to the Beltway, and so George and other friends of mine in Washington don’t believe me when I tell them the burning issue in San Francisco right now is whether the city needs to enact an ordinance against widespread and conspicuous public nudity.
Careful readers of Montesquieu will know that climate can explain a lot about California. And so the good news is that when the next ice age arrives in 10,000 years—or perhaps, pace the climate campaigners, in 10 years—California will return to sanity, and we won’t need an ordinance against public nudity. But one thing is certain: like wartime rent control, California’s “temporary” income tax hike will still be in place.
There was one news item from election night that you may have missed: There was a break-in on election night at Nancy Pelosi’s home in Napa Valley. But I don’t think it was really a burglar. I think it was Jerry Brown getting an advance on Proposition 30.
And Democrats are already overreaching in the flush of electoral triumph. Anthony Weiner is on Twitter again. What could possibly go wrong?
But enough of the warm-up act. George Will began by reminding us of how Barry Goldwater took to the podium at the 1960 GOP convention and said, “Conservatives—grow up!” Will’s message was a variation: “Conservatives—cheer up. We’re going to win.” He gave a grand tour of many aspects of long-term politics, reminded us of a frequent theme that it is arithmetic—not Paul Ryan—that will end Medicare as we know it, and that it is useful for the rest of the country to have California serve as the example of the failure of the blue state model. He did add that Republicans shouldn’t keep going out of their way to annoy Hispanics with talk of “self-deportation,” though without going so far as to endorse DREAM Act-lite.
It worked. I could see a lot of the crowd canceling their suicide watch. Forward! Oh, wait a moment. . .