[W]here have these party leaders been over the past five years, when all the forces that distort the G.O.P. were metastasizing? Where were they during the rise of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck? Where were they when Arizona passed its beyond-the-fringe immigration law? Where were they in the summer of 2011 when the House Republicans rejected even the possibility of budget compromise? [Cutting through the crap: Brooks hasn't been exactly consistent himself.]
I can answer that, Mr. Brooks. They were lounging in their cloakrooms' soft-leather, wingback chairs, breezing their eyes across conservative columns that dwelled, for example, on socioeconomic functions of "happiness," rather than conservative columns that relentlessly smashed the emergency glass and frantically rang the alarm bell: Has this party gone fucking nuts -- or what? Granted there have been a few conservatives, such as Andrew Sullivan, doing just that; but on the whole authentic conservatives have tended to sigh and tsk-tsk instead of unambiguously condemn.
And now, it may be too late. The Republican Party may be irredeemable as a conservative party. It, and the radical philosophy it has embraced in a smothering death-hold, no longer, as law professor Carl Bogus poignantly writes in his latest work, Buckley, embraces a conservative "philosophy of caution and prudence," or is aware of "the dangers of unintended consequences," or fosters "community -- a hallmark of Burkeanism," or rejects "military adventurism," or ponders the merits of "pragma[tism]."
More times than I care to recount I've written here lamenting the loss of a thoughtful conservative party. Reading such commentary as the above, I'd be heartened, at least a little, were it not for the aforementioned machine that's been working for decades to create a carefully ill-informed electorate; and the emergence of such heroically hateful and unrepentantly uninformed icons as Sarah and Michele and Rick and Jan, such disgraceful panderers as Mitt and Newt... and their lionization by the hordes of those of teabagger mentality. On what basis might we expect the edification of people who've been so carefully and effectively taught to laugh at expertise, to reject facts that run counter to their preferred beliefs, to see thoughtfulness as a failing? By what means might it occur, when they've been pre-programmed to reject everything said by anyone but a RWS™ or excreted by Fox "news"?