On the Boat

James Dobson responded to Kathleen Parker’s argument that social conservatives are a drag on the GOP, and right off the bat I think you get everything you need to know about the state of conservatism:

So, Kathleen Parker has determined that getting rid of social conservatives and shelving the values they fight for is the solution to what ails the Republican Party. Isn’t that a little like Benedict Arnold handing George Washington a battle plan to win the Revolution?

Whatever she once was, Ms. Parker is certainly not a conservative anymore, having apparently realized it’s a lot easier to be popular among your journalistic peers when your keyboard tilts to the left.

To be fair, Dobson does go on to address Parker’s argument in somewhat convincing fashion, although that probably has more to do with the fact that Parker’s original piece was pretty poorly argued than anything else. And I also remain somewhat unconvinced that Parker has much credibility to shun the culture war, she has, after all, written Save the Males, and, before her Palin apostasy, was best known for a column arguing that Obama wasn’t a “full-blooded American.”

But still, Dobson doesn’t miss the required step of staking out the boundaries of “team conservative,” making sure it leaves Parker on the outside looking in. It’s sort of tempting to ask why, she hasn’t really renounced any of her old arguments or embraced any liberal-progressive ideas, but we already know the answer. Parker demurred on the tenet of true-believership in criticizing the Palin pick and thinking that, perhaps, the GOP’s problem was something other than insufficient wingnuttery. And that will get you kicked off the right-wing boat every single time. Nothing is so important as toeing the “big issues” line, and in part because Dobson & Co don’t really know how to deal with the sort of center-right criticism Parker is offering, all they can do is pull the cocoon tighter. But of course, that just excludes more and more people, shrinking their coalition further.

At some point you have to wonder if it will dawn on them that the point of politics is expanding your coaliton.

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