With daunting issues demanding immediate action—energy, the markets, and crumbling infrastructure to name but a few—the US is about to enter a phase of "government activism," writes David Brooks in the New York Times. Bad news for John McCain, right? Maybe not. As past periods of great change show, it is more often the conservatives leading the way in such eras.
"It’s as if voters understand that they need big changes, but they want those changes planned and enacted by leaders who will restrain the pace of change and prevent radical excess," he writes. Benjamin Disraeli and Theodore Roosevelt both embodied this idea of using new policies to save existing economic and social values. McCain, too, has to convince voters that we need new ideas not for the sake of change itself, but, paradoxically, in order to preserve the old ways.