After seeing a fellow National Review columnist told off by her editor ("embarrassing and outrageous") and readers ("my mother should have aborted me ... I should 'off' myself"), neocon David Frum has decided he is taking his anti-Sarah Palin views and following Christopher Buckley out the conservative journal's door. And amid the nasty internecine feuding on the National Review's website and elsewhere, he sounds more than a bit scared of what's left of the crumbling conservative movement:
I think a little more distance can help everybody do a better job of keeping their temper... I am really and truly frightened by the collapse of support for the Republican Party by the young and the educated.
Frum has his fans outside of conservative circles — Slate's Jacob Weisberg told the Times he was "the most interesting writer they have" — but editor Rich Lowry professes not to be worried about his or Buckley's departure, or all the online infighting, because the Obama administration will turn feuding conservatives into anti-Obama cranks who subscribe to his magazine. Which is basically the same thing Fox News says, and reflects the prevailing conventional wisdom.
And yet Obama's election only seems to have accelerated blame and recriminations within the right wing over why Republicans lost; what aspects, exactly, of an Obama administration are objectionable; and where the conservative movement goes from here. Conservatives may still have intact alliances, but that doesn't mean they're out of the wilderness. Or more appropriately the jungle.