Yesterday, it was leaked that Bill Kristol’s much-heralded “conservative alternative” savior candidate was none other than David French.
Just another National Review writer. Iraq vet, Harvard Law, etc. Writes columns at National Review, and no one outside that publication’s readership has really heard of him.
To be honest, when my friend and mentor Michael Lind forwarded me the article about it, my first thought was “did Breitbart add a satire section?”
As I saw more and more articles about the announcement accumulate, the sheer surrealism of it all faded and the pathetic truth emerged: the conservative movement is the sick man of America, still clinging to life and jabbering at the up-and-coming yung’uns, but no longer relevant as a real creative force. Oh sure, Senator Sasse and Speaker Ryan will continue to push conservative policy agendas nationally, and Louisiana and Kansas will lumber along as the worst-governed states in America save California and New York and Illinois; but their true believers will continue to dwindle, and the policies that actually get enacted will look a lot more like Donald Trump than Mitt Romney.
The conservative voices that criticize Progressive Republicans, then, are wailing in the wind- they’ll attack us because of our ideological impurity, and their high priests will attempt to exorcise us and, failing that, excommunicate us. In my world, that of the Washington intelligentsia, the clueless cognitive elite will lag behind the country’s ascendant Trumpism and continue following Bill Kristol down the stale path of Reaganism.
So shooting down old-style conservatism won’t be too hard- the movement is now the province of country-club types and a few die-hards.
It’s the ethno-nationalism of Trumpism we have to worry about.