Conservatives have long since taught themselves to handle with tongs any political advice from non-Republican libertarians like me. But amidst the depressing-to-some meteor shower of post-Romney headlines about how the GOP needs to "go more libertarian," I come from Planet Freedom bearing unseasonably happy tidings: You don't need to become a heroin-legalizing, amnesty-embracing, blame-America-firster in order to reassert conservatism's electoral and philosophical relevance during President Barack Obama's second term.
No, the only two transformations required are re-learning a grand tradition's intellectual commitment to reducing the size and scope of government and recalibrating electoral tactics and even the basic selling proposition around the notion of playing defense, not offense.
But when given the opportunity to choose politicians who actually name and confront the main danger facing us-a government piling up commitments and expenses and debt just before the baby boomers retire and send the entitlements system crashing down-the Keynesianism-hating American electorate these past three years has mostly ignored sideshow utterances and rewarded those brave enough to take on Leviathan. Mike Lee, Scott Walker, Rand Paul: These class-of-2010 politicians might not agree with me (yet!) about deregulating reproductive decisions, narcotics intake, and the U.S.-Mexico border, but on the issue of the day they have shown up for work and given Obamanomics-weary voters a clear alternative to the never-ending bailout.
And yes, taking fiscal policy seriously also requires unblurring the distinctions between military and defense spending and coming up with a more affordable, realistic, and strategic projection of American power abroad. There is no such thing as an orderly retreat during a debt crisis.
The upshot -- and he's exactly right:
More Americans than ever think that government is trying to do too much. All conservatives need to do now is provide those people with a believable place to go.