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January 23, 2008

Shock: NY Times "Conservative" Columnist Has A Fever, and the Only Cure Is Republican "Moderation" (and John McCain, Natch)

David Brooks. He's the only man in America named David Brooks offering us these liberal pieties.

The Voters Revolt

The Reagan administration had its pragmatists and its so-called ideologues. It had James Baker as well as Ed Meese. Reagan carried moderate states like Connecticut, Wisconsin and Washington, as well as conservative ones like Wyoming and South Carolina.

But then a great tightening occurred. Conservative institutions and interest groups proliferated in Washington. The definition of who was a true conservative narrowed. It became necessary to pass certain purity tests — on immigration, abortion, taxes and Terri Schiavo.

An oppositional mentality set in: if the liberals worried about global warming, it was necessary to regard it as a hoax. If The New York Times editorial page worried about waterboarding, then the code of conservative correctness required one to think it O.K.

Apostates and deviationists were expelled or found wanting, and the boundaries of acceptable thought narrowed. Moderate Republicans were expelled for squishiness. Millions of coastal suburbanites left the party in disgust.

And still the corset tightened. Many professional conservatives do not regard Mike Huckabee or John McCain as true conservatives. “I’m here to tell you, if either of these two guys get the nomination, it’s going to destroy the Republican Party,” Rush Limbaugh said recently on his radio show. “It’s going to change it forever, be the end of it.”

Some of the contributors to The National Review’s highly influential blog, The Corner, look to Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney to save the conservative movement. Their hatred of McCain is so strong, it’s earned its own name: McCain Derangement Syndrome.

Yet a funny thing has happened this primary season. Conservative voters have not followed their conservative leaders. Conservative voters are much more diverse than the image you’d get from conservative officialdom.

In South Carolina, 34 percent of the Republican voters called themselves “very conservative,” but another 34 percent called themselves only “somewhat conservative” and another 24 percent called themselves “moderate.” Only 28 percent of the primary voters there said that abortion should be “always illegal.” This, I repeat, was in South Carolina, one of the most right-wing places in the country.

And John McCain, the great hope of the Republican Party, won 33% of the vote, a whole third. Much less than he received in 2000.

One might say that that the voters did in fact revolt -- against McCain.


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posted by Ace at 02:30 PM

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