Matt Bors
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Looks like conservative writer David Frum will be exiting the National Review. An article in the Times today discusses the split in the context of the current debate within the conservative movement about their future.

In the Times article, Frum is quoted saying, “I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated.”

Frum seems to be in the camp of George Will, David Brooks, and Peggie Noonan--people who want to move conservatism into the 20th Century[sic] as opposed to putting forth candidates who think the earth is 5,000 years old, bash people who live in cities, and think Global Warming is a farce created by the Sierra Club to raise a few bucks.

But these are controversial progressive ideas to many in the conservative movement who seem intent on having Sarah Palin as their Bright New Star.

Back at the newly Frum-less National Review, Palin continues to enthrall. Kathryn Jean Lopez, the magazine's Online Editor, argues today that Palin should be Time magazine's Person of the Year. She predicts Obama will win the award--no surprise there--but goes on to claim that Time's silly choice of "You" a few years ago may have been a stealthy way to set the stage for Obama:
And, come to think about it, the ink-stained pundits at Time have already vaulted the former senator from Illinois to top-dog status. When, last December, they declared the 2007 champion “You,” they hit on one of the key ingredients to Obama’s successful strategy: he was so disciplined, so likable, so broad in his way of speaking that Americans were able to project their hopes and dreams for their country onto him, regardless of what he actually had to offer.
A few problems here. First, the "You" represented user generated content on the Internet and had nothing to do with Obama. Second, the 2007 champion was Vladimir Putin. "You" was chosen in 2006--a simple fact check any teenage YouTube content provider could have looked up in four seconds. But Kathryn filed her report from the Virgin Islands, so I'll let that sloppiness slide. She is obviously busy on a NR cruise ship asking Joe the Margarita Mixer if he too is frightened of the coming Socialist State.

So why Palin over the first African-American elected to the Presidency? Simple:
Time shouldn’t diss the not insignificant portion of the country that voted for Republican John McCain. And, specifically, they shouldn’t ignore the people who were energized by the addition of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to his ticket.
Obama also "energized" a "not insignificant portion" of America, but never mind that.

Awarding the Person of the Year to important people who make the world worse is not without precedent. Hitler and Stalin won back to back victories. But these people actually did things. Palin is the Governor of an incredibly small welfare state who was tapped to be Vice President for John McCain and is widely credited with dooming the ticket. She spent two months in the media spotlight during which time she made incredibly dumb and divisive comments while never holding a single press conference. The majority of the electorate, never ones for deep skepticism of folksy politicians, believed her to be unqualified to hold that office.

If conservatives want to double down on the cultural issues, I'm all for it. It provides me with entertainment and cartoon material. They'll only ostracize the growing number of Americans who don't think gays are evil or want a President who talks to god.

David Frum is right to be scared. Conservatives are going to have a hell of a time winning if they throw their lot in with the Sarah Palin crowd. But it's what they deserve. For decades the GOP has used resentment and fear to shore up a base of knee-jerk fanatics, using "welfare queens," gays, college professors, Muslims, and Mexicans to frighten white rural Christians into supporting them. No one should be surprised that an anti-rational mutant from their base has ascended ranks to party leader.

Me, I'm going to sit back and enjoy the show. I'm even thinking of getting a subscription to the National Review. The next few years should be entertaining.
11.17.2008 |