American Conservatism Right Now–Less A Movement Than An Industry

In the context of trying to make sense of the Palin phenomenon and her recent resignation, Andrew Sullivan perfectly sums up the problem with the current state of America’s right wing establishment:

And this helps explain the broader problem with American conservatism right now. It is less a movement than an industry. From Fox News to talk radio to conservative publishing houses, it has created an alternate and lucrative media reality that is worth a fortune to those able to exploit it. Alas, these alternative media thrive on paranoia, hatred of liberal elites and growing extremist rhetoric made worse by a hermetically sealed echo chamber of true believers. Anyone criticised by the left or even by the establishment right is a martyr in this world. In America, martyrdom sells. And Palin is a product worth lots of money.

She wants some of it; and she has no actual interest in governing America (even though she’d love the title of president). She referred to giving up her “title” as governor, not her “office”. In this, she is the ultimate Republican of this degenerate moment: all culture war, no policy; all identity politics, no engagement with practical answers to difficult public problems; and all hysterical opposition to Barack Obama, no actual alternatives offered.

Since even epic scandals heighten celebrity rather than diminish it, Palin’s future is secure. Her party’s? Getting bleaker by the day.

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