Modern conservatism is nothing if not self-contradictory. It stands athwart history yelling “stop”, but it would never interfere with the free market forces that drive history. It worships Burke and Oakeshott, but it distrusts anyone who’s read a non-Regenery book in the past year. It believes that Ivy League pedigree is a true mark of distinction, but finds that everyone at an Ivy League school — except Robert George and Harvey Mansfield — is a pinko commie. It rejects science and polling, but believes that a few surveys are all it takes to prove that feminism is a failure.
None of this is surprising. In fact, it is exactly what you would expect from the love-child of William F. Buckely and John Birch.
But it can make for an incoherent message. Part of the reason Republican attacks on Obama haven’t worked is that they alternate between describing Obama as an arugula-loving, elitist mastermind who will lead us to commusociafascism and as a watermelon-eating nitwit who will unwittingly cede our sovereignty to North Korea.
I think the same thing is happening with Sonia Sotomayor. They can’t even decide whether to make fun of her for eating Puerto Rican food or to paint her as a fancy-pants who only pretends to like it. It reminds me a bit of the mother-sister scene from “Chinatown”: she’s an elitist, no, she’s a wetback, she’s an elitist, no she’s a wetback. SHE’S AN ELITIST AND A WETBACK!
It’s hard to see how this is going to work.