In an interview with POLITICO today, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace questioned Peggy Noonan’s “conservative bona fides,” following her recent editorials criticizing of Mitt Romney’s campaign.
“Peggy Noonan has bashed George W. Bush, based Mitt Romney, wasn’t crazy about McCain. So, [her] conservative bona fides I’m not sure I take too seriously,” Wallace told POLITICO’s Patrick W. Gavin. “[Columnists] like Peggy Noonan, sometimes they’re New York City’s idea of conservatives.”
TAC’s Dan McCarthy nails it:
Chris Wallace is as plain as can be: Fox defines “conservative” as “supports whomever the GOP nominates.”
— Daniel McCarthy (@ToryAnarchist) September 21, 2012
Whence the slur “RINO” for anyone on the Right who questions the groupthink. It’s really something to see how reflexively the Right loves to hunt heretics. Peggy Noonan may be wrong in her judgment of the Romney campaign, but see, Chris Wallace is not saying that she’s wrong. He’s saying that by criticizing the GOP nominee, she proves she’s Not One Of Us, and therefore ought not be listened to. Argumentum ad hominem may be a logical fallacy, but to the hive mind of movement conservativism, it’s an epistemological strategy.
UPDATE: Daniel Larison, also right:
It’s important to compare their reaction to the campaign incompetence’s to the one that movement conservative activists and bloggers have typically had. Where Douthat, Noonan, et al. are willing to acknowledge blundering by the candidate in the hopes of getting him to stop doing more of it, the latter are praising him for his mistakes, egging him on to commit more, and pretending that the election can be won by doing even more of what Romney has been doing in the last week. The former recognize incompetence when they see it and want to eliminate it. Predictably, the campaign has reacted by rejecting their advice and thereby confirming the judgment that it is incompetent.
But … but … everybody knows that these RINOs only want to get invitations to Georgetown cocktail parties!