Brent Bozell found the homepage of washingtonpost.com funny today. William Kristol’s op-ed, titled "A good time to be a conservative," began with this thought:
Bien-pensant conservative elites and establishment-friendly Republican big shots yearn for a more moderate, temperate and sophisticated Republican Party. It's not likely to happen. And probably just as well.
But here’s how the Kristol piece was promoted on the Post homepage: "The GOP’s right turn: A more moderate, temperate and sophisticated Republican Party is not likely to happen."
By clipping Kristol’s opening clause, it sounds remarkably like The Washington Post on February 1, 1993: "Corporations pay public relations firms millions of dollars to contrive the kind of grass-roots response that Falwell or Pat Robertson can galvanize in a televised sermon. Their followers are largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command."
The Post disagreed with the notion it’s "a good time to be a conservative" so thoroughly that it’s not even in the page header, which said: "William Kristol - The future of the GOP is outside the Beltway."
Kristol surely upset the Post by suggesting the elected leaders of the Republican Party are not in vogue with the grass roots, and that the party’s 2012 nominee will most likely be a private citizen:
Even if Republicans pick up the House in 2010, the party's big ideas and themes for the 2012 presidential race will probably not emanate from Capitol Hill.
The center of gravity, I suspect, will instead lie with individuals such as Palin and Huckabee and Gingrich, media personalities like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and activists at town halls and tea parties. Some will lament this -- but over the past year, as those voices have dominated, conservatism has done pretty well in the body politic, and Republicans have narrowed the gap with Democrats in test ballots.
And next week, in real balloting, conservative Republicans are likely to win in Virginia, a state Obama carried. Meanwhile, a liberal Republican anointed by the GOP establishment for the special congressional election in Upstate New York will probably run third, behind the conservative Republican running on the Conservative Party line, who may in fact win.
The lesson activists around the country will take from this is that a vigorous, even if somewhat irritated, conservative/populist message seems to be more effective in revitalizing the Republican Party than an attempt to accommodate the wishes of liberal media elites.