Well, Phil Berger finally gave us cause for enjoyment. It was a dark pleasure, seeing the inveterate hater of regulation become an environmentalist. His statement reveals a lot about what the GOP really likes: Conservatism from afar and liberalism close to home.

Consider:

-Senator Jerry Tillman opposed tolling highways. When tourism’s on the line, government should be free.

-Senator Ralph Hise compelled us to lease a prison to his employer for $1. So much for taxpayer protection.

-Thom Goolsby, market fundamentalist extraordinaire, remains a staunch defender of the film incentive, which the John Locke Foundation condemns as a violation of the free market.

-Bob “Obama is Lenin” Rucho kept stimulus funds for Charlotte light rail. Behold Agenda 21!

It’s easy to laugh at them for this. Look a little deeper, though, and you see something important. Even “anti-government” militants have a basic commitment to governance when they have to. Like foreign policy, ideology stops at district’s edge. The problem is that they lack the empathy to see that everyone deserves the quality of service they get for their constituents.

Democrats probably can’t change that. Someone can, though, and it’s the voters. Because they aren’t ideologues, they make the connection between government in their towns and the needs of the state. It’s only a matter of time before the good-governance consensus re-emerges. Maybe it’ll roll down on the polluted river.

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