The Corner

The Latest Compromise

Can we now just admit that everyone is settling in this race. For the last month or so we’ve heard a lot of posturing about the “conservative establishment.” I’ve been pretty skeptical about the uses and abuses of the term. But now that Rick Santorum has replaced Newt Gingrich as the anti-Mitt frontrunner, the term seems even more stale. Santorum has many strengths (and weaknesses), but let’s not insult our intelligence. He is no Washington outsider. The guy has been a fixture of the conservative and Republican establishment — however you want to define the term — for decades. A congressman, senator,  radio show host, author, Fox News contributor, leader in the 1994 Contract with America movement, activist, lobbyist, earmarker, endorser of Arlen Specter: This is not some tea party unknown.

I don’t think all of those things are damning (though some are!). Then again, I don’t think the conservative establishment is a term of derision the way some do (the Republican establishment, I’m iffier on).

The simple fact is that none of these candidates are ideal and nearly everyone not writing-in Calvin Coolidge is compromising. The problem is people don’t want to admit they’re compromising. And so they create ideological theories and narratives about tainted motives to explain why the other guys are compromising and why their own candidate is purer than pure.

They are all compromise candidates. All of them. They always are, of course. But this time around they’re a bigger compromise than usual.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now. @jonahnro

Most Popular

Culture

Krauthammer’s Take on Life

Dear Reader (And members of the Remnant everywhere), My plan was to do something new this week: Write a “news”letter in which the number and ratio of consonants to vowels in each word advanced in accordance with the Fibonacci sequence until, like a pointillist painting, seen from afar this “news”letter ... Read More
PC Culture

When PC Comes Back to Bite You

Political correctness run amok is a popular topic on the right these days. Indeed, the conservative bookshelf is chock full of best-sellers devoted to the topic. Subject matters vary. One may focus on the hypocrisy of campus speech codes, another on the revisionist attempt to indict our founding fathers, yet ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Charles Krauthammer, R.I.P.

It’s not often that the loss of an opinion writer can be said to be a loss for the country, but that is true of Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist who died yesterday. In a fractured media environment where almost no one commands universal respect, where crudity of expression and ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Time Stands by Misleading Cover Photo

Time magazine on Friday defended its decision to feature a photo of a crying toddler who was never separated from her mother on the cover of its July issue detailing family separations at the border. “The June 12 photograph of the 2-year-old Honduran girl became the most visible symbol of the ongoing ... Read More