Ta-nehisi Coates has figured it out:
No one has conspired to deprive us of power over the past few decades. The American people aren’t stupid. We’ve sucked at articulating our message. If you have any interest in a more progressive country, we need to be honest. At the presidential level, at least, conservatives have hammered us. Give them their due. Don’t blame Rush. Don’t blame Kristol. Don’t denigrate states you’ve never visited. Give them their due. Give them their respect. Study them, and then get better.
The biggest question about conservatives post-November 2008 will be whether it will take us seven or eight years to figure this out too. Yes, the media is falling all over themselves to mollycoddle Obama, but don’t you realize how much this complaint makes us sound like the Kerry campaign?
I read Rod Dreher and Francis Fukuyama in the American Conservative‘s election symposium, and I think maybe conservatives can pull it off and possibly even right the ship by 2010. Then I remember that both of these thoughtful individuals—at different times, by different people, and to different degrees—have been expelled from the movement. And then I also read things like this, from Bill Kristol:
[W]e hope for a McCain-Palin victory, for the sake of the country. And also for the pleasure of seeing the dejection of the mainstream media, the incredulity of the leftwing triumphalists, and the humiliation of the pathetically opportunistic “conservatives” who’ve been desperately clambering on board the Obama juggernaut.
and this, from Max Boot:
So why then is [Anne Applebaum] casting a ballot of Barack Obama, who is, she admits, “the least experienced, least tested candidate in modern presidential history”? Apparently it’s because during his campaign McCain has made “a fatal effort to appeal to the least thoughtful, most partisan elements of his base.” What evidence is there for this charge?*
…and I note these things, and I wonder.
*(In answer to Boot, by means of a paraphrase of Church Lady, “Oh, I don’t know. Let’s see. Could it be…Palin?!?)