While they were busy writing endless columns on such things as Obama’s manliness, whether or not Americans should wear jeans or whether or not Monica Lewinsky would bring down the nation, America’s famed band of “conservative intellectuals” failed to notice that the GOP was going insane.
They’re noticing now.
All across the nation, there are mainstream Republicans lamenting how the party has grown more and more insular, more and more rigid. This year, they have an excellent chance to defeat President Obama, yet the wingers have trashed the party’s reputation by swinging from one embarrassing and unelectable option to the next: Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum.
“Newt Gingrich said the American people have a right to demand two dollar and fifty cent gas prices. They have a right to demand lobsters grow on trees. This is economic nonsense.”
Once elected, those presidents curbed the id with the ego, common sense and reason. But now the G.O.P.’s id is unbridled. The horse has thrown the rider; the dark forces are bubbling. Moderates, women, gays, Hispanics and blacks — even the president — are being hunted in this most dangerous game.
But the remark also illustrates the Tea Party’s disconnect from reality. Except in the rarest cases, to work with one’s hands in modern America is to face a lifetime of very low-wage work. (And the exceptions do things that I suspect Tea Party activists would dislike almost as much as they dislike college: artisanal cheese-making, restoration of antiques, high-end floral arrangement, etc.—and anyway people who do those things typically have at least some higher education and often quite a lot.)
Yes, while the so-called moderate Republican columnists were sleeping, their party left them. More than that, their party is blaming them for their woes. So while people like Brooks, Dowd, Will & Frum will continue to spout what they consider conservative intellectualism, the simple fact is that they no longer have an audience. And their shrill criticism of the GOP is coming far too late for it to have any effect on political discourse.
Crossposted at William K. Wolfrum Chronicles