“The president’s proposed new budget has three noteworthy characteristics: continuing unfunded entitlements to the middle class, runaway deficits to be repaid in the undefined future, and immense tax increases on the entrepreneurial class. Many commentators have complained about the damage this budget would do to our national prosperity. Less has been said about the effect it will have on something far more important: our national character.”

Arthur Brooks is the president of the president of the American Enterprise Association and an author who has a unique ability to put politics into the broader perspective of American culture. He’s right; there is something going on in the Republican primary this year that is defying common wisdom – and confounding the media/coastal elites. Tea Party Americans, difficult as they are to pin down to a single point of view, get it, and it goes something like this: Yes, the election should be all about jobs and the deficit and bail-outs and excessive regulation and taxes. But all of these issues are stewing in a much  bigger pot that could be called “America’s fundamental ingredients are in danger of getting watered down.” This also might explain the relentless search for the most authentic conservative candidate for president, and even the rise of a Rick Santorum – who has shown that he is willing to embrace the larger social context. Brooks’ new book, just coming out, is The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise. Read more at http://on.wsj.com/wqkRB8.