These are the things that can be said with some degree of certainty about the candidacy of Sarah Palin for vice president of the United States. First, that picking her as his running mate was the only thing John McCain did all year that shifted, however temporarily, an unfavorable electoral landscape in his favor.Are we already on the alternate history beat, Ross? In the old old days, William F. Buckley would be around to laugh in young Douthat's face and make him do pushups, ever so gentlemanly, in front of the staff. Now? All the Palin fannishness isn't going anywhere, and if you're not with the program, you can just go write for The Daily Beast.
Most of the conservative intelligentsia was crammed onto the National Review post-election cruise this week, where they salved each other's campaign wounds by weeping over scrapbooks of the Reagan years and shocking Brent Bozell with a taser. While some had drunken sex with Kate O'Beirne to dim the pain of the McCain loss, NR editor Rich Lowry and whoever the crew could spare stayed in New York to churn out the issue of the magazine, the one to resurrect the conservative cause and state the mission for the next four years. Sadly, Sarah Palin got in the way.The guest list for the cruise was announced as: Mitt Romney, Victor Davis Hanson, Bernard Lewis, Mark Steyn, Christopher Buckley, William McGurn, Jonah Goldberg, Brent Bozell, Pat Toomey, Andy McCarthy, Rob Long, Deroy Murdoch, Byron York, Kathryn Lopez, Kate O’Beirne, Ramesh Ponnuru, Jay Nordlinger, John J. Miller, Darcy Olsen, and Fr. Robert Sirico. We doubt Christopher Buckley made it after his excommunication, but that's still a formidable lineup. Breadsticks and gambling money wasn't the only thing that got swapped, and I guarantee Victor Davis Hanson's wine selection was stellar and Rob Long spent most of the trip in a codpiece. Back in New York, the remaining crew put together the 'Renewal' issue. The mag starts off with a nice shot at the new chief of staff — "You just knew His right hand man would be called "Emanuel." In a way, I'm sure the National Review crew has to be happy: instead of defending George W. Bush's weekly bout of idiocy, they're now on the attack again. It's been so long, do they even remember how? (Yes they do!) One pol they won't be sinking their viperous teeth into is Sarah Palin. Where McCain gets a half-page sendoff from Jonah Goldberg on how bad his campaign was, Palin gets the full treatment from the publication's Catholic film critic and Dartmouth conservative wonderboy Ross Douthat. The co-author of the not-so-revolutionary conservative handbook Grand New Party has a tenuous grip on the reality of the election, opening his piece "Sarah Resartus" (shudder) with this gem: