As I’ve watched today’s Republicans take the world to the brink of a serious economic collapse because of the pending apocalypse of a national version of Mitt Romney’s healthcare law, I find myself searching for the kind of sober conservatism I used to respect. So I give you … Winnie the Pooh, as explained by the late and great Henry Fairlie:
There are two sides in every Tory. In all that concerns his society he is unexcited, patient, and not inclined to do much. This is the Pooh in him. Pooh was a Tory … [H]e did not set much store by either plans or brains. In their place, he had wisdom. He knew the Forest was governed, season after season, by laws he did not understand. Left to himself, he would have done nothing. The Forest would be there when he woke up; even more assuring, he knew that it was there while he was asleep.
But he was not left to himself. Most of the other animals in the Forest were anxious and overexcited. Since Pooh was never excited – never – they came to him with their worries; and it was with considerable skepticism, but also with an understanding that they needed to be reassured that he went in search of the Woozle, and even of Eeyore’s tai …. The Tory knows that one should not meddle with society and that if anything goes wrong, it will not go wrong for very long or with much harm done … But surrounding Pooh were lots of agitated conservatives: Rabbit and Kanga, even Piglet, and especially Tigger. They were all afraid of the Forest. They were like liberals who had been mugged. Tigger was the most agitated. When he saw something unfamiliar, it sent him into a whorl of anxiety and a whirl of activity.
No Tory would ever come even close to forcing his own country to default on its debts. Ever. Just saying. And when these maniacs of crisis and brinksmanship tell you they are conservative, just understand that they are abusing that term to an extent that very few other Western conservatives would understand, let alone agree with.
Today, we surveyed the ups and downs of the careening crisis: the Republican revolt this morning; the threat of a one-man default; the economic damage already done; the unbelievably petty and vindictive new GOP demands; and the possibility of a GOP-Tea Party split.
It was such a tense day if you actually care about this country – which Washington doesn’t seem to – that we offered not one, not two, but three Mental Health Breaks; and a beard of such magnificence it almost robbed a British hack of words.
See you in the morning.
(Photo: a scene from the Surrey/Sussex countryside where I grew up, at the bottom of my brother’s garden, which is just a short ride away from the original Hundred Acre Wood.)