The Corner

Lost Illusion

Central to the paleos’ mythology is the notion that they speak for the conservative heartland, while the “neoconservative” usurpers (every conservative they dislike) speak for nobody. One of the paleos once cracked that there were 35 neos in America, and 34 of them had newspaper columns. The huge popularity of Bush’s policy on Iraq among conservatives has exposed this self-image as a fantasy. I suspect that that is one reason for the paleos’ increasing rage.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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