A reader writes:
The clip with Buckley and Chomsky was fascinating to watch and only emphasizes how far the Republican Party has fallen from its own intellectual tradition. As a centrist Democrat I respect the tradition represented by Buckley, Noonan, Brooks, Will, etc. They often present reasoned and clear arguments that provoke me to think more clearly about my own positions, sometimes changing them. Unfortunately, sometime after Reagan the Republican party changed its political philosophy to the belief that any Joe six-pack with common sense can run the country, consequently rejecting its own solid intellectual tradition. In the current GOP, being smart and thinking cogently about issues is now considered a liability. We are now seeing the apex of this philosophy in rise of Sarah Palin and the ugliness at the townhall meetings.
My headline is inaccurate on its face, since Buckley was an intellectual journalist and Palin a populist politician - apples to oranges. But when Newt Gingrich, an unquestionably smart guy who's been the brain trust of his party since the Republican Revolution, defends Palin's "death panel" on national television, the headline is apt.