By Scott Galupo, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Against the better angel of my household (namely, my wife), who tells me I should stop paying so much attention to Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and all the other vandals who I believe are pulling conservatives over the lip and into the maw of a black hole of know-nothingism, paranoia, and class resentment, I'm going to take the Wall Street Journal's bait here.
I can't resist.
Because I'm kind of astonished.
Maybe I shouldn't be.
After conceding that she knows "very little about international affairs," Norman Podhoretz writes that Sarah Palin nonetheless holds the all-important opinion that "the United States has been a force for good in the world." Aside from the lunatic fringe of the left, who'd deny that? It doesn't necessarily rule out its obverse—that America has been a force for bad—in all cases.
Anyway, on to Podhoretz's conclusion: that he'd "rather be ruled by the Tea Party than by the Democratic Party, and I would rather have Sarah Palin sitting in the Oval Office than Barack Obama."
Fine. Grant that Barack Obama and his fellow Dems are needlessly apologetic about American power. Their foreign-policy instincts are all wrong, and they don't have the spine to win World War IV.
Grant all that, and more.
This doesn't change the fact that Sarah Palin is dismissive, if not downright contemptuous, of everything that once made Norman Podhoretz—and neoconservatism—great: analytic rigor, serious scholarship, a deep engagement with literature.
Before it became associated with Wilsonian adventurism abroad and a crude, sensational misreading of the political philosopher Leo Strauss, neoconservatism used to represent the right's attempt to compete with the left on its own turf: in the arena of social science.
Now Podhoretz seems to be saying, essentially, that conservatives need only gird themselves with sound instincts to win the battle of ideas. Cracking books, running numbers, parsing arguments? Meh. That's for snooty Eastern seaboard types.
The black hole just swallowed some more light.