Today's Douthat column is downright sad. It marches formidably up the challenging hill to a new conservatism's gleaming city, whereupon Douthat has absolutely nothing to say about one new conservative's revelation of having nothing to say.
"Republicans [must] apply their principles more creatively, and think about policy anew," declares a confident-sounding Douthat. Thus "it’s fitting, perhaps," he continues in an ever more confident vein, that Sen. Marco Rubio has delivered "a speech that tried to do just that."
Well, this is getting exciting, no? Sounds promising, right? So here we go--let us catch some of that Douthat-excitement:
The speech didn’t offer the kinds of policy breakthroughs the party ultimately requires. Rubio ... stopped short of the leaps Republicans need to make on taxes, health care and other issues.
But his tone [see definition here] and themes represented a very different response to an electoral drubbing than the kind of [right-wing] retrenchment Republicans embraced four years ago.
Let's review. Rubio's speech was "very different," although it lacked any ideas on taxes, health care and other issues.
One wonders. Are Douthat & Friends trying to fool us again?--or are they trying to fool themselves again?