Rod Dreher, a genuine social and religious conservative whose disagreements with President Obama are more profound and more numerous than those of most Republicans, has nonetheless had enough:
Watching the school-speech insanity blow up on the right, a friend who has been deeply involved for decades at the top of Republican politics, e-mailed to say that she was done. The conservative movement is hurtling off a cliff – and she was bailing out. Take me with you, said I. And that was before last week's "You lie!" infamy....
Despite what Sam Tanenhaus says, conservatism is not dead. Rather, it's undead. The conservative movement is herking and jerking like a zombie, dedicated to little more than frenetic gestures execrating Obama, and to regaining power. To what end? Given that they're birthing a conservative party whose instincts are dictated by loudmouths, reactionaries and crackpots, and overseen by cynics, it's dispiriting to contemplate.
Where can those who wish to think and debate clearly about a serious politics of the right go? The degenerate form of populism now dominant on the right loves to praise "freedom" – but it has no use for freedom of thought, or thinking much at all. In turn, increasing numbers of thoughtful conservatives have no use for it.