Palin takes on Rove as a "Good Ol' Boy." That's interesting, don't you think? Douthat sketches two possibilities for the future:
[I]f O’Donnell’s likely general-election fate becomes a cautionary tale about the limits of caring only about ideological purism, then the lessons of Delaware in 2010 might serve the party in good stead come Iowa and New Hampshire in 2012. But of course, it’s equally possible that O’Donnell’s defeat will be blamed on her abandonment by the party leadership, rather than her own failings as a standard-bearer (I’m sure that will be Mark Levin’s line!), in which case rather than taking the edge off the base’s anti-establishment mood it could just end up getting spun into an ever-more-powerful narrative of populist grievance.
I think Palin is now the GOP leader, and has now ousted even Rove. So these nuances will be lost in the aftermath. This is a radical, cultural revolt that the elites have no way of controlling, and which they have encouraged at every turn.
What also strikes me is how O'Donnell disproves the notion that the tea party is uninterested in social issues. O'Donnell is a fundamentalist fanatic - a social reactionary of almost comic proportions. She opposes legal abortion in cases of rape and incest, opposes masturbation, women in the military and sees gays as "curable". And yet there seems no tension between her and the fiscally-oriented tea-partiers. This hope that somehow they can mean the down-playing of Christianism seems like wishful thinking to me. And the idea of these people running foreign policy on the basis of religious doctrine, Greater Israel, institutionalized torture and anti-Muslim bigotry, is terrifying.
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