David Brooks hits the nail on the head as to what’s wrong with the neo-conservatism of the past decade (and why John McCain is going to lose the election in November):
“Once conservatives admired Churchill and Lincoln above all — men from wildly different backgrounds who prepared for leadership through constant reading, historical understanding and sophisticated thinking. Now those attributes bow down before the common touch.”
I’m not trying to simplify this election into one big class warfare; the Republicans are already doing it. Who have McCain’s “scare” ads targeted this fall? The under-educated audiences who will be afraid of them. Who is Sarah Palin recruiting to send her to Washington? The “Joe Sixpacks” and “hockey moms” of America.
“What had been a disdain for liberal intellectuals slipped into a disdain for the educated class as a whole. The liberals had coastal condescension, so the conservatives developed their own anti-elitism, with mirror-image categories and mirror-image resentments, but with the same corrosive effect. Republicans developed their own leadership style. If Democratic leaders prized deliberation and self-examination, then Republicans would govern from the gut.”
Sure, I like the idea of so-called “normal” (or “more normal”) people going to Washington on our behalf, but has conservatism come to this kind of intellectual-less existence? If so, let’s vote and get the election over (though I think it’s over already).
Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrat, populism can only go so far.
It’s the ideas, stupid.