I am familiar with the lonely feeling of being in a crowded room and realizing that everyone around you is absolutely out of their goddamn mind.
And I strongly suspect that a lot of conservatives look at the carnival freakshow that is the Tea Party and know exactly what that feels like. The conservative movement has always had an image problem.
Pre-Gingrich and ‘Contract with America’, a conservative conjured up images of old, well-heeled white men in a country club sipping 40 year scotch in cashmere sweaters. The ideological faces of the movement were people like Safire and Buckley, pretentious stuffed shirts who fancied themselves intellectuals. True, there was a lunatic fringe – the Birchers, McCarthy – but mainstream conservatism tried to keep it at arm’s length.
Now the driving intellectual force of a conservative is a gaggle of AM radio nutbars…
The new image of the average conservative has less to do with country clubs than with trailer parks, NASCAR infields, and barely literate adults in histrionics and stupid hats.