And today’s Republican party is not very conservative: At a time when the welfare state is — inevitably — collapsing of its own weight, Romney and Ryan run as its guardians. They’ve come to praise Caesar, not to bury him. Still, the truth is increasingly irrelevant. Contemporary American politics is about emotion and perception. And this is a game Republicans will never win — and not, as they would have you believe, because the deck is stacked against them. Certainly, the media, the academy, and most of our society’s major institutions are heavily influenced by progressives, if not outright controlled by them. It is therefore a given that elite opinion will portray Republicans as villains. Yet, that longstanding challenge for Republicans has never before been an insuperable one. In America, at least until now, the avant-garde has never been able to tame the public. It has always been possible to run against elite opinion and win — if you make a compelling counter-case. Today’s Republicans do not. Indeed, they cannot, because they have accepted the progressive framework. Their argument is not that the welfare state, deficit spending, federalized education, sharia-democracy promotion, and the rest are bad policies. Their argument is not that Washington needs to be dramatically downsized. It is that progressive governance is fine but needs to be better executed...Today’s Republicans are worried about what it looks like. Winning is secondary. What matters most is that they not appear too mean on a stage they’ve allowed their bare-knuckles opponents to set. Their consultants tell them: "It’s not what you stand for; it’s how you get to 50 percent plus one. So soften your edges, drop the philosophy crap, and if you need to show the media some backbone, find a conservative to bash."The whole thing is good reading.