E.J. Dionne delcares a “conservative crack up” today. The phrase has a fine pedigree going back years. In 1997 the Weekly Standard ran a big cover story/symposium on the possibility of a new “conservative crack-up.” That same year, for almost entirely different reasons Michael Lind — the man with his finger on the pulse of dead theories — surmised his own “conservative crack-up.”
Before that Bob Tyrell wrote “The Conservative Crack Up” which coined the phrase and in which the author claimed that conservatism started circling the drain after Robert Bork’s defeat. Before that, some folks like Joseph Sobran and Sam Francis claimed conservatism swallowed hemlock with the election of Ronald Reagan.
This is not to say that things are going peachy, but whenever I hear about conservative crack-ups I tend to become more optimistic about conservatism’s chances.