Look- the intellectual wing of the Republican party is dead. What is left are brain-dead acolytes spreading meaningless and simplistic anecdotes, trite stories, and distilled nonsense passed on that has a more fitting home in AM radio. The McCain campaign, once again, is just a symptom of the real problem- an intellectually incurious and lazy movement in the final ugly spasms of death. The McCain campaign is now, in their interviews with the press, spreading what we can all recognize as wingnut email chains. John Cole
I've been reading Nash's The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America, and it's been very helpful for me in filling in some gaps and in stimulating me to think why I lean left rather than right or why people like Douthat, Larison and some of the others at Culture 11 lean right instead of left. When I read these people I find that I have more common ground with them than I have with a lot of people who self-identify as Democrats, but I guess I still can't get past the idea that some of these--Douthat in particular--can self-identify as Republicans.
I'm not going to make the argument here, but I think the argument could be made that the policy prescriptions in his and Salaam's book have a better chance of being adopted by moderate Democrats than by the people who are running the GOP. (And this defense of McCain by Salaam is a perfect example of how very smart people can indulge in ridiculously delusional thinking. Or is his motive just to be a smart-ass contrarian? Can he possibly believe what he's writing? Does he have no grasp what the Republican Party has become? Does he believe that even if the "real McCain", as opposed to the "bad McCain" we've been exposed to in the last year, were to reemerge that he would control his party rather than the party controlling him just as his campaign controls him now?)
Maybe the issue is generational. I grew up Catholic in a Republican dominated suburb on Long Island graduating from a Catholic High School in 1968 and from Boston College, a Jesuit university with a conservative reputation in 1972. Just about everybody I knew was unconsciously conservative, and I think I associated being conscious with being liberal--at least until I began understanding unconscious liberalism.