The Conservative Decline, Continued

Today’s Salon column examines the pretensions of the Rove generation of conservative activists – and how the “emerging Democratic majority” predicted six years ago brought those great expectations to grief.

What have our dear wingers learned from this sobering experience? There’s a deep lesson for them in the public rejection of Sarah Palin, but they don’t seem to be getting it.

The best single essay on the conservative betrayal of their own intellectual tradition — and its ultimate expression in the Palin fiasco — appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition. Singling out the editors of the Weekly Standard and the National Review, Mark Lilla laments their descent to the Limbaugh common denominator:

“They mock the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists and praise the financial acumen of plumbers and builders. They ridicule ambassadors and diplomats while promoting jingoistic journalists who have never lived abroad and speak no foreign languages. And with the rise of shock radio and television, they have found a large, popular audience that eagerly absorbs their contempt for intellectual elites. They hoped to shape that audience, but the truth is that their audience has now shaped them.”

This superb essay should be required reading for the denizens of the Corner, especially lovestruck editor Rich Lowry, who still evidently wants us all to agree that the hockey mom sure is smart enough to be vice president.

The Conservative Decline, Continued