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Rick Perry And The Return Of Conservative Identity Politics

If Rick Perry wins the Republican nomination, or even the presidency, one of the less significant but more annoying ramifications will be the return of conservative identity politics. The Bush years saw the full flowering of this branch of right-wingery, which is devoted to exploring and nurturing the cultural grievances endured by white people in the "Heartland" at the hands of cultural elites.

National Review editor Rich Lowry has a column, pegged to Perry, reviving the trope. It's far from the most extreme sample of conservative identity politics, but it nicely capture the its style:

Texas governor Rick Perry is about to stride purposefully through every cultural tripwire in the country.
He may not become as despised as Sarah Palin, but that’s because he’ll never be a pro-life woman — the accelerant for the conflagration of Palin-hatred. The disdain for Perry won’t burn as hot, but it’ll burn just as true. He’ll become a byword for Red State simplemindedness in the New York Times and an object of derision for self-appointed cultural sophisticates everywhere. ...
Perry will be branded as a backward, dimwitted, heartless neo-Confederate. A walking, talking threat to the separation of church and state who doesn’t realize people like him were supposed to slink away after the Scopes trial nearly 90 years ago.

Much like left-wing identity politics, conservative identity politics has a postmodern approach to objectivity. There is no such thing as truth, only truths from the perspective of a social group. Are figures like Palin and Perry simpleminded? In the world of conservative identity politics, this question can only be answered within the context of liberal elite cultural biases.

I would argue that the perception of Perry as simpleminded stems primarily from the fact that he says a lot of crazy, stupid things, and is only loosely related to his Texas upbringing, Eagle Scout membership, and so on. Lowry's column lavishly and extensively details the cultural signifiers, presenting these as the entire body of relevant information. But, of course, I myself am a coastal liberal elitist, so the mere fact of my objection to conservative identity politics merely serves to further confirm its truth.