IN case anyone got here late--not that I'm suggesting you are the sort of person who'd've got here early and stuck around--I put the quotes around "conservative" above. Kristol couldn't find enough honesty in his entire career to've done so. I do, in perpetuity, inspired by Nabokov's claim that "reality" was the only word in English which should always be surrounded by quotes. "Conservatism", obviously, lacks the cosmic implications; I'd be more than willing to drop the quotes if it would drop the pose. That offer's forty years old at this point, and has been met by the Doppler-shifted sound of goose-stepping in the opposite direction.
And let's be clear about this: it's Italian goose-stepping, by and large, all bluster and pretend big balls and so stupid you'd send your army into the world's largest desert with trainloads of pasta for rations (True, by the way). It's not my intention to toss around "Nazi" or even "Fascist" the way an arsonist tosses around an accelerant, not like a Goldberg, or even someone who knows what he's talking about. The Right is soft. It's been soft since Reagan (at least), since it retreated into its Whiteness and its sense of entitlement and its perpetual faux-disgruntlement. The Right's had eight years now to go marchin' off to war, having been handed a Pearl Harbor moment it couldn't have scripted any better. Noticed a shortage of "conservatives" in that time? I'm not saying there aren't nuts out there, of course, of every stripe, most of them too apolitical to bother with being apolitical; I'm saying that average public gun polisher , while perhaps not the best advert for a well-balanced weapon and a well-balanced mind, is probably only a major concern if your sister's married to one.
Take, for example, Bravo Company Billy:
The implications of this [a Gallup poll showing 40% of Americans self-identifying as "conservative"] for the Republican Party over the remaining three years of the Obama presidency are clear: The GOP is going to be pretty unapologetically conservative. There aren't going to be a lot of moderate Republican victories in intra-party skirmishes. And -- with the caveat that the political world can, of course, change quickly -- there will be a conservative Republican presidential nominee in 2012.
Y'know, first of all, we are well beyond the time when anyone should be asking what Bill Kristol imagines he has to sneer about, beyond a tidy income for doing nothing whatsoever, and inevitably getting that wrong, and ask why reasonable Republicans--and there must be some, even now--haven't wiped it off his face for him. Second, if you still had "Hubris" on your list of possible explanations for Republican behavior that do not, per se, avail themselves of perpetual juvenility and debilitating sexual psychosis, scratch it off; one is supposed to learn something when Hubris leads to complete disaster. Finally, it takes a Gallup poll for you to conclude that the next Republican presidential nominee will be "conservative"? As opposed to fucking what, exactly?
Supposing you imagine Perpetual Aggrievedness is the "conservative" meal ticket. Then what? Between 2012 and 2016 you're going to roll back whatever excuse we've made in place of health care reform, tax-cut our way out of the Bush Deficit that's rebounded back to you, and invade Iran? On the strength of a 2009 Gallup poll ?
And, sure: in my lifetime the American voter has reelected Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, and the gerrymandered Republican sinecure district whose rump bumps my own keeps reelecting Dan Fucking Burton. There's no idiocy left that could surprise me. But anyone who puts words on paper for a living--even if every last one of 'em is false--has got to understand at minimum that "consequences" is in the dictionary for a reason.