In Forbes, Peter Robinson writes, “May I ask a question? Where does President Barack Obama’s agenda come from?”
Just a generation ago, you will recall, Reagan revitalized the nation, and then the Soviet Union, long calcified and staggering, at last collapsed. Free markets were good; statism, futile. Didn’t everybody learn that lesson? Didn’t it prove, in some utterly basic way, decisive?
I repeat, where does Obama’s agenda come from?
Charles Kesler knows the answer. Obama’s agenda, he explains, has emerged from a set of beliefs about the proper role of government that date so far back in American history that a lot of people–your correspondent included, though Kesler is too polite to name him–simply overlook them.
“The 20th century was really the liberal century,” says Kesler, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, and the editor of the Claremont Review of Books. “Conservatives came on the scene very late–remember, there was no organized conservative movement until William F. Buckley Jr. in the ’50s–but the liberal effort to expand the state dates back 100 years. What Barack Obama is trying to do is complete an old project.”