Aw hell. Now Jennifer has George doing it.
President Obama, intones Mr. Will darkly, is "determined to complete the progressive project of emancipating government from the Founders' constraining premises": Obama, as Will's column title condemns, is "the real radical."
Will goes on to unpleasantly compare Obama to Woodrow Wilson, without once noting that Wilson's Progressivism (i.e., "radicalism") was grounded in virtually consensual corrective reaction to the hideous vagaries of America's power-gobbling industrialization; Will then proceeds to juxtapose Obama to the ultimate American radicalism of ... brace yourself ... Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a profoundly conservative progressive who also struggled to save American capital from American capitalism. Will at last throws Lyndon Johnson into this wicked mix, but by then, I had stopped caring.
Because I had also stopped taking Mr. Will seriously. To frame Barack Obama--an elegantly thoughtful conservative-progressive in the pragmatic fashion of FDR--as the "real radical," contra Paul Ryan, is preposterous on the face of it (see fourth paragraph).
By the way, I pity Will's chronic loss of sleep over the nation-saving, big-government radicalism of, say, the rather modest New Deal. Yet, I wonder. Does Will lose as much sleep over the 19th century's big-government giveaways of, say, massive tracts of public land to private railroads? Does he toss and turn over big government's prolonged, indentured protection of American industry through outrageously high tariffs, which once "soaked the poor"? Does he pity the many rights-deprived souls who possessed no means whatsoever of any "real" redress through big business's wholly owned government?