Rubin fever. Catch it!
I'm always looking for intellectual alms from the NY Times' Ross Douthat and David Brooks--some sign, some token, some little offering of conservative authenticity that at least whispers philosophical integrity, rather than screaming partisan hackdom.
My universe of hope was once larger. There was a time when George Will at the Post, for instance, would bleat a few genuinely conservative lines, and the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan would fondly resurrect something of the less-radical Gipper. Alas, now Will only hones his image as America's idiosyncratic curmudgeon; he can be Edmund Burke one day, and a tea-partying bomb-thrower the next. And Noonan? Well, poor Peggy, sad to say that along with Norma Desmond she has nostalgically slipped into a kind of stylistic exhibitionism, and little else.
That's leaves Douthat and Brooks. The latter has swelled to the nearly mythological. We watch as he regularly, even heroically rolls his breaking spirit up some steep and craggy hill of true enlightenment, and then, when he's just about there--when he's just about at the zenith, at the peak, the point of declaring, You know what, people? Real conservatism in this country is indisputably dead, dead ... dead!--he scrawls some damn fool apology for the pitiful state of contemporary conservatism, which is to say, pseudoconservatism, then back up the hill he goes.
Douthat? Diagnosis: Rubinitis, severe, inoperable for now. Prognosis: possibly incurable. Major symptoms: delirium, dissociation, political Tourette's, sick humor ... see today's column:
What Romney executed on Wednesday night was not just a simple pivot to the center....
Rather, what he did was clarify, elevate and translate.
Hmmm. I see, Mr. Douthat. Interesting. Let's ask for a second opinion. Here's that of Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson. It's short and rather brutal, but, unlike yours, Mr. Douthat, it is of this earth: "Romney ... buried clear contrasts with the president under a heaping pile of horseshit."
Let's face it. There are no conservatives left. There are pseudoconservative hacks, hobgoblins and humbuggers, but no conservatives. Unless you wish to call some contemporary liberals (e.g. Andrew Sullivan) the new conservatives (e.g. Andrew Sullivan), which they pretty much are--they're just trying to hold down the fort.