James Gibney eviscerates the much-touted deal that Charlie Crist and the State of Florida struck with U.S. Sugar over land adjacent to the Everglades. This jumped out at me today, since the public-private collusion that the deal represents is exactly the sort of thing that “reform” conservatives are supposed to deplore, yet it was being happily touted by Michael Medved yesterday (which I heard yesterday as I was scanning the radio on the way to church) during his interview with Reihan. One need not listen to much Medved to gather that his idea of reform is whatever helps win the next election. Even though I have my disagreements with it, I’m glad to say that Reihan’s understanding of reform is much more meaningful and worthwhile.
Reihan, meanwhile, was touting Grand New Party, which he co-authored with Ross, that came out this week, which ideally represents the best that reform or “reformist” conservatism has to offer. One hopes that the two visions being offered on the radio yesterday (i.e., Medved’s and Reihan’s) could not be more different. At the same time, Crist’s rather dubious deal with U.S. Sugar represents the sort of Republican coziness with government-supported corporate interests that ultimately seems entirely antithetical to the best of what Ross and Reihan propose to do. The deal reveals the serious obstacles inside the GOP to the adoption of an agenda that serves the working and middle classes and generally shows what thwarts the GOP from changing its “image,” because its actions create and reinforce that image all the time.