The “conservative opinion elite” is coming apart says Rick Perlstein in Newsweek.
But beneath the surface, some Republicans have been chafing at the ideological wages of right-wing populism. In intellectual circles, writers like David Brooks and Richard Brookhiser have argued for a conservatism inspired by Alexander Hamilton, the least democratic of the Founding Fathers, over one spiritually rooted in Thomas Jefferson, the most democratic…
Such discomfort has been dormant for some time. Under the influence of philosophical gurus like Leo Strauss and Irving Kristol, the sotto voce tradition arose of flattering the sort of voter who drove a pickup truck even if he wasn’t the sort you might want to socialize with…But Palin has raised the “class” question publicly among conservatives as seldom before.
For Perlstein, the “conservative opinion elite” is primarily populated by neoconservatives. But the timing of his piece couldn’t be any better for disproving his thesis that the “elites” are ditching Palin. This week’s Weekly Standard, the flagship neoconservative publication headed by Bill Kristol, devotes its cover story to defending Palin, who they argue has been the victim of unjustified media attacks. “She cannot be ignored,” the piece concludes, “Hurricane Sarah is about to descend on the Lower 48.”
Perhaps more revealing about the conservative landscape described by Perlstein, though, is that for the mainstream media elite, the Right consists of (neo)conservative elites and GOP activists of the talk shows. There isn’t room for thoughful traditional conservatives or libertarians (the latter apparently only consists of “nutty” tea party types).