Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A good time to be a conservative
By William Kristol
Bien-pensant conservative elites and establishment-friendly Republican big shots yearn for a more moderate, temperate and sophisticated Republican Party. It’s not likely to happen. And probably just as well.
The Gallup poll released Monday shows the public’s conservatism at a high-water mark. Some 40 percent of Americans call themselves conservative, compared with 36 percent who self-describe as moderates and 20 percent as liberals.
The conservative number is as high as it’s been in the two decades that Gallup has been asking the question.
What’s more, fully 72 percent of Republicans say they’re conservative. Thirty-five percent of independents do so as well — and presumably the percentage of conservatives among independents who might be inclined, where the rules permit it, to vote in GOP primaries would be much higher.
The implications of this for the Republican Party over the remaining three years of the Obama presidency are clear: The GOP is going to be pretty unapologetically conservative. There aren’t going to be a lot of moderate Republican victories in intra-party skirmishes. And — with the caveat that the political world can, of course, change quickly — there will be a conservative Republican presidential nominee in 2012.