As right wing America continues to tear itself apart, picking at ancient scabs that long since should have healed over but were actually hidden by the smallest of band-aids, a creeping anti-intellectualism – long a significant part of the conservative underbelly – has emerged and is making its presence felt in a most obnoxious way.
. . . I've got news for the anti-intellectuals. Conservatism is in flux. There is going to be a debate over where we go from here both ideologically and politically.
If you want to be part of this debate, you better learn that not everyone agrees with what your idea of "conservatism" might be and that those who disagree with you are not "elitists" or "snobs" or "soft" or "squishy" but simply think differently than you. Will you engage in the debate and try to convince people that they are wrong and you are right? Or will you continue to ignorantly skewer people who, at bottom, want the same thing that you do; a healthy, vibrant conservative movement with room for many different points of view and a belief in its primacy as a way to live and govern.-- RICK MORAN[T]he mechanisms for acceptable self-criticism on the right aren't very good, especially in election years. Any institution, even very good ones, that dedicates itself to simple self-preservation without the added step of self-monitoring is bound to face corruption, disarray, and discontent.
We will see a serious conservatism again when Bill Kristol and Karl Rove are banished from the Republican party and from the conservative media. The Republican implosion is primarily their doing, their achievement, their legacy. It was when McCain ceded his campaign to Schmidt and Palin (creatures of Rove and Kristol respectively) that he threw it all away. As long as they are given any credence, Republicanism will not recover.
McCain would be an outstanding president. In government, he has almost always had an instinct for the right cause. He has become an experienced legislative craftsman. He is stalwart against the country’s foes and cooperative with its friends. But he never escaped the straightjacket of a party that is ailing and a conservatism that is behind the times. And that's what makes the final weeks of this campaign so unspeakably sad.
-- DAVID BROOKS
There are at least two larger national lessons to be learned from what is likely to be the last gasp of Allen-McCain-Palin politics in 2008. The first, and easy one, is that Republican leaders have no idea what "real America" is. In the eight years since the first Bush-Cheney convention pledged inclusiveness and showcased Colin Powell as its opening-night speaker, the G.O.P. has terminally alienated black Americans (Powell himself now included, immigrant Americans (including the Hispanics who once gave Bush-Cheney as much as 44 percent of their votes) and the extended families of gay Americans (Palin has now revived a constitutional crusade against same-sex marriage). Subtract all those players from the actual America, and you don't have enough of a bench to field a junior varsity volleyball team, let alone a serious campaign for the Electoral College.
But the other, less noticed lesson of the year has to do with the white people the McCain campaign has been pandering to. As we saw first in the Democratic primary results and see now in the widespread revulsion at the McCain-Palin tactics, white Americans are not remotely the bigots the G.O.P. would have us believe. Just because a campaign trades in racism doesn’t mean that the country is racist. It’s past time to come to the unfairly maligned white America's defense.
-- FRANK RICH