If you want to read a deeper discussion that helps explain why the GOP is now in a public mental breakdown, I remain proud of my 2006 book, "The Conservative Soul," which was widely scorned and reviled Tcs2 by the right when it wasn't outright ignored. If you want to know why a once decent, honorable, if erratic figure like John McCain came to pick a total unknown with a Down Syndrome baby as his replacement as war-president, you have to understand the immense importance of the Christianist base. McCain isn't one of them, however much he tries to re-tell his life-story to make it so. They know it, he knows it, and he needed a religious running mate. He might have succeeded with Pawlenty, who is a solid pick that a mature and responsible campaign would have selected in a heartbeat.

Instead - partly out of insane cynicism (did he really believe Hillary's voters would switch over to vote for Palin?), partly out of a shallow liking for a shallow reading of Palin's record, and partly out of pure negligence - he picked Palin, barely knowing her. And so religious fundamentalism, as it always will, swamps the frontal cortex required for effective governance and gives us this reality show disgrace as serious politics. Has America really come to this?

Yes it has. The debate over whether the Republican party is now unfit for public office at a national level is now resolved. The longer, deeper explaination for this is in my book. One day, we will revive real conservatism. Right now, we have to ensure that this insane circus masquerading as a serious political party is defeated.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.