I've met David Frum's departing assistant, Noah Kristula Green, only a couple of times, but he seems an impressive young fellow and this blog wishes him well as he heads off to other lands. Andrew cited his farewell post, wherein he asks why conservatives can't:
-Embrace gay marriage with the same enthusiasm as David Cameron? ("I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.")-Have a Values Voter Summit be about all voters of faith and not merely be an Evangelical Christian convention?-Would it really be so hard for the GOP to renounce Austrian economics and support monetary stimulus in an emergency? (As Milton Friedman would have done.)-Could the pro-life movement change priorities from criminalizing abortion to working to find effective ways to disincentivize it?-Can Republicans acknowledge that a Tax Credit is just as bad a subsidy?-Can Republicans learn how to do the effective ethnic outreach needed to win minority groups in elections? If even Canadians could learn how to do this...-And is it so hard to admit that Fox News is clearly produced with an eye towards the geriatric population and that it doesn't do a good job of speaking to Americans who are not yet 50?
Sullivan's answer is "religious and political fundamentalism" and the notion that conservatives today are "deeply uncomfortable with the modern world, and more at ease with the politics of resentment and radicalism than the politics of inclusion and moderation."
I agree with all that but I think the foundational problem, the more I've been thinking about it, is the need to think of liberals (and gays and "ethnics" and so on and so on) as enemies, haters of America and freedom, all that rubbish. The need to crush. The idea that compromise is impossible.
In other words, the main issue isn't ideological per se, in the sense of being about positions (although of course the positions are far more radical than even a few years ago). The main issue is the mindset--the view that this is war, and liberalism must be vanquished. That comes straight from talk radio.
How does that change? Hard to say. A few electoral ass-kickings in a row, I suppose. Nothing else. If Obama is reelected and then it's Hillary for eight years after that, maybe by 2024--when Texas and Georgia will both probably be toss-up states by the way, and the Democrats have 400 electoral votes in their gunsights--they'll finally figure out that their war posture isn't working.