Even now, Republicans are ignoring the storm clouds

Not so long ago, Republican leaders prided themselves on protecting middle-American minds from the liberal intellectual rot being spread by politicians and college professors they viewed as being hostile to law enforcement, contemptuous of constitutional traditions, indifferent to personal morality and accommodating to Russian tyrants. They claimed to be the intellectual heirs of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley Jr. Now those same politicians debase themselves daily in service to Trump.

.. “I faced great pressure because of Russia,” America’s president told the Russians. “That’s taken off. I am not under investigation.”
.. As a storm gathers over Washington and the world, Donald Trump’s Republican Party remains complicit in his frenzied efforts to undermine the American institutions and established values that conservatives once claimed to share.
And while the clouds overhead are cause for all to be concerned, it will be the husk of a once-proud Republican Party that will be swept away first by the deluge that is sure to come.

‘Epistemic Closure’? Those Are Fighting Words

The phrase is being used as shorthand by some prominent conservatives for a kind of closed-mindedness in the movement

.. referring to outlets like Fox News and National Review and to talk-show stars like Rush Limbaugh, Mark R. Levin and Glenn Beck — have “become worryingly untethered from reality as the impetus to satisfy the demand for red meat overtakes any motivation to report accurately.”

.. As a result, he complained, many conservatives have developed a distorted sense of priorities and a tendency to engage in fantasy, like the belief that President Obama was not born in the United States or that the health care bill proposed establishing “death panels.”

.. David Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, argued at frumforum.com on Friday that the problem was not media celebrities, but rather conservative intellectuals.

.. “Rush Limbaugh isn’t any worse than he was 20 years ago. But 20 years ago, conservatism offered something more than Rush Limbaugh. Since then, the conservative elite has collapsed. Blame them, not talk radio.”

.. To conservative and Republican loyalists, Mr. Frum is a Neville Chamberlain-type appeaser who is willing to accept a kind of liberalism lite.

.. At the moment, the people leading the way on the right are disparate grass-roots Tea Party activists who are operating without a leader or shared ideology.

.. “Every intellectual movement needs to constantly question itself; otherwise it becomes stale. But conservatives have sort of reached a position of intellectual closure. They don’t think there are any new ideas of particular interest to them. Their philosophy is fully formed. The only question is how best to implement conservative ideas in the political debate.”

.. the first generation of modern conservatives as the “era of the intellectual,” led by people like William F. Buckley and Russell Kirk, who laid down the movement’s theoretical and historical foundations.

.. The second, which began in the late 1970s and continued through George W. Bush’s administration, was the era of “applied conservatism,” he said. This was when conservatives started to build a large infrastructure of research organizations for scholars and experts who created policy initiatives.

A third generation of modern conservatives is now taking shape

.. Unlike earlier movement members who honed their arguments while out of power, he said, “Young conservatives in the late 1980s and early 1990s saw their movement go from strength to strength — and learned that conservatism was always right and that people who didn’t see that were fools.”