Conservatism Wise and Unwise
Ross Douthat has wise words in the New York Times today:
Liberals look at the Obama majority and see a coalition bound together by enlightened values — reason rather than superstition, tolerance rather than bigotry, equality rather than hierarchy. But it’s just as easy to see a coalition created by social disintegration and unified by economic fear.
Consider the Hispanic vote. Are Democrats winning Hispanics because they put forward a more welcoming face than Republicans do — one more in keeping with America’s tradition of assimilating migrants yearning to breathe free? Yes, up to a point. But they’re also winning recent immigrants because those immigrants often aren’t assimilating successfully — or worse, are assimilating downward, thanks to rising out-of-wedlock birthrates and high dropout rates. The Democratic edge among Hispanics depends heavily on these darker trends: the weaker that families and communities are, the more necessary government support inevitably seems.
Likewise with the growing number of unmarried Americans, especially unmarried women. Yes, social issues like abortion help explain why these voters lean Democratic. But the more important explanation is that single life is generally more insecure and chaotic than married life, and single life with children — which is now commonplace for women under 30 — is almost impossible to navigate without the support the welfare state provides.
Or consider the secular vote, which has been growing swiftly and tilts heavily toward Democrats. The liberal image of a non-churchgoing American is probably the “spiritual but not religious” seeker, or the bright young atheist reading Richard Dawkins. But the typical unchurched American is just as often an underemployed working-class man, whose secularism is less an intellectual choice than a symptom of his disconnection from community in general.
Meanwhile, across the continent at the Los Angeles Times, Charlotte Allen makes Dick Morris look like a perceptive observer of American politics:
I've got a suggestion for cutting short the GOP angst: Sarah Palin for president in 2016.
You think I'm joking? Think again. …
Palin can more than keep up with the Democrats in appealing to voters' emotions. Hardly anyone could be more blue collar than Palin, out on the fishing boat with her hunky blue-collar husband, Todd. Palin is "View"-ready, she's "Ellen"-ready, she's Kelly-and-Michael-ready.
A Palin "war against women"? Hah! Not only is she a woman, she's got a single-mom daughter, Bristol, to help with the swelling single-mom demographic. On social issues, Palin, unlike Romney, has been absolutely consistent. And let's remember that most Americans, whatever their view of choice, disapprove of most abortions.
Gay marriage? Palin opposes it. But she is also a strong advocate of states' rights, and I'm betting she'd be fine with letting states and their voters grapple with the issue on their own. Remember that all of America didn't swing toward approval of gay marriage on Nov. 6. Three reliably blue states and their voters did. If she were smart, Palin would recruit a member of her impressive gay fanboy base — yes, she has one — to help run her campaign. I nominate Kevin DuJan of the widely read gay conservative blog HillBuzz, a Palin stalwart since 2008.
Palin's son Track is an Iraq war veteran, so she can be proudly patriotic without being labeled another George W. Bush, looking to do aggressive nation-building. She seems aware there is only one nation in need of building right now: America.
Furthermore, looks count in politics, and Palin at age 48, has it all over her possible competition, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will be 69 by election day 2016 and who let someone talk her into adopting the flowing blond locks of a college student, making her look like Brunnhilde in a small-town Wagner production. Men love Sarah Palin, and she loves men.
As requested by Allen, I've thought again, and I can only conclude: Yes, she is joking.