Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Is there a GOP "Establishment"?

I like Mona Charen.  I've even confessed in this very blog that I had a "thing" for her.  That hasn't changed.  (Shucks, as long as I'm confessing, I have a "thing" for almost all conservative women who are more or less my age.)  But I'm afraid in this piece about what she calls the "myth" of a "Republican Establishment" she's just wrong.

Look, no one imagines that there is anything like a secret GOP cabal that meets each morning via conference call to decide who will run, on what issues, taking which positions, etc.  Establishments don't work that way if for no other reason than they are made up of people who like all people are susceptible to personal and professional jealousies that often keep them at odds with one another.

As far as I can determine, that which best describes, if not defines, membership in the GOP "Establishment" are three things:  (1) An elite-school education, preferably Ivy League, (2) money, enough anyway, and  (3) an insular, at time almost incestuous "inside-the-beltway" or "DC-to-NY axis" worldview.  While an insularity borne of too much time in and around the nation's capital appears the most obviously definitive of the three traits, I'm not so sure that the undeniable "snobbish" quality of the Establishment springs first from its members' common scholastic pedigree and is the truest source of their cliquishness.  (It is also what sometimes leads its members to make common cause with liberal Democrats with whom they would otherwise disagree.)

At any rate, almost all of these people are at best extremely uncomfortable with, for lack of a better term, Tea Party conservatism.  So uncomfortable are they with it that even if it were inarguably clear that Tea Party conservatism were the surest path to electoral victory, they would still find some reason to argue against it, and would only begrudgingly acknowledge, much less accept its successes.

Finally, while I readily concede that there is no such thing as a formal Republican Establishment, it is not for that reason any less real or consequential than, for example, the "Main Stream Media", about which, I'm quite sure, Mona Charen has railed against very effectively through the years.  Which, by the way, is something I find very attractive in a woman.  But I repeat myself.

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