Notoriously, Irving Kristol once defined a neo-conservative as "a liberal who got mugged by reality."
So what do we call a neo-conservative who's been mugged by reality? I, for one, can't wait to find out. And I suspect that we won't have to wait long, 'cause there must be an awful lot of neo-conservatives feeling very mugged-by-reality these days — and they're nothing if not talkative folks.
Once upon a time, it was people on the right who liked to dismiss people on the left as "misguided idealists" — well meaning, of course, but hopelessly naïve about the real-world consequences of their utopian schemes.
But that was then, this is now. Now, the tables have turned, with a vengeance. Now, the Bush administration seems destined to go down in history for setting some sort of all-time record when it comes to sheer grandiosity of vision combined with utter lack of realism about what it would actually take to realize that vision — plus blindness and/or indifference to the likely costs of failure.
Never have so many expected to achieve so much, so easily. And never have they been so bitterly disappointed.