I don't want to spook Barack Obama. So I won't declare him the winner yet. Anyway, what would my declaration actually mean? Not much. In fact, nothing. The people would still have to go to the polls.

But there is one precinct where the numbers are already in, and that is the precinct of the smart conservative columnists who (whether they've actually endorsed Obama or not) have told their readers that to vote for McCain/Palin would simply be stupid.

I've made the point myself about Charles Krauthammer and David Brooks.

Then came the apostasy of Christopher Buckley, whose father fathered post-war American conservatism.

And the column by Peggy Noonan in Saturday's Wall Street Journal.  She is appalled by the crudeness of Sarah Palin and, more so, by the increasingly crude culture of American conservatism. Noonan has some authority here having been in on the birth of Reaganism, which was not especially intellectual but was also not crude or hateminded.

Much of the narrative of this disintegration of the mind of present-day American conservatism is told by Patricia Cohen in Sunday's Times.

Another sign of the unwinding of American conservatism was the interview on "Meet the Press" Sunday morning with Colin Powell.  Powell gave a clarion call endorsement to Obama. And he did this while endorsing the American invasion of Iraq and endorsing also "the surge," which he said explicitly had worked and had changed the judgement of the war. But Powell, also, was repelled by the ugliness of latter-day Republicanism. His words were responsible, eloquent, moderate and delivered with one uninterrupted elegant swoop. Still, he was against western intervention in Bosnia. And he fought the notion of gays being permitted in the military.