Continued from page 1

He baldly tells Republicans that big government simply doesn’t work: It has not eliminated poverty or even much reduced it, made our health care or retirement systems better, improved education or solved any of the myriad problems society faces, including crime. More often than not it has made these problems worse, and surely costlier via higher taxes and lower economic growth.

So the Tanner gist to Republicans — national, state, local, all bracing for the big 2008 presidential election contest and sure Democrat onslaught — is soul-searching: Study this book, think hard and get back to your roots and drawing board, fast. You can’t out-center the centrists. The future is yours to lose. Or, conceivably, win.

William H. Peterson is an adjunct scholar at the Heritage Foundation in Washington and at the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Ala.