Jewish World Review Dec. 28, 2011/ 2 Teves, 5772
Conservative establishment divided against itself
By Jonah Goldberg
I've made a disturbing discovery: I am a member of the conservative "establishment." I feel like
Largely in response to the real and perceived excesses of the Bush years and the overreach of the Obama administration, the base has become more populist. In particular, the rank and file of the
In 2010, the tea parties and the conservative base (not always synonymous terms) tried to cull as many RINOs from the herd as they could in the primaries. They were extremely successful, with only a few stumbles.
Things are messier this time around. And to some extent this is to be expected. Presidential primaries rely on much larger pools of voters than primaries in midterms. Moreover, rather than a single
Each of them has tried to play the populist card, not just against the liberal media establishment but also against the so-called conservative establishment. "I believe it is a deliberate attempt to damage me because I am not, quote unquote, the establishment choice," explained
Though he never intended any of this,
In 2008, Romney was the conservative alternative to
It's difficult to catalog all of the oddities. Hugely successful, powerful and rich conservatives are lambasting the establishment as if they are in no way part of it. Gingrich has gone from being too establishment to too anti-establishment faster than you can say "
Frankly, I can't blame anyone for being underwhelmed by Romney, or begrudge anyone their frustration with the field. What's harder to understand is how nobody has noticed that the conservative establishment, which includes many of my friends denouncing it, has become vastly more conservative over the last two decades. It's more pro-life, more pro-Second Amendment, more opposed to tax increases.
The political corpses of RINOs litter the roadside of this great migration. Rockefeller Republicans went out with 8-track tapes, leisure suits and
The mere fact that there's something one can meaningfully describe as a conservative establishment today is a victory, never mind that it is more conservative than it has ever been. But a conservative establishment is useless if it doesn't bring the nation with it. The frustration on the right stems from the fact that none of the candidates seems up to that task.
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