It's nice to see somebody else asking the same question I ask nearly every day when I see some GOP has-been pontificating on my TV: why are we listening to these people?
Turn on CNN and chances are you won't have to wait long to see the face of Stephen Hayes, who distinguished himself earlier this decade for his insistence, long after it was clear that the opposite was true, that "there can no longer be any serious argument about whether Saddam Hussein's Iraq worked with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to plot against Americans." He also penned a fawning biography of Dick Cheney.
Or pick up the Washington Post, the same paper that gave Mr. Gerson his post-Bush home, and you'll find a regular op-ed column from William Kristol, the tireless Iraq war champion whose offerings, worse than being wrong, are usually unreadable; Or there's Ron Christie, a little-known Bush and Cheney aide who has somehow become one of the cable networks' go-to guys for the conservative viewpoint - which he unfailingly expresses with the language his old bosses favored when they were in power.
All of these people, of course, are entitled to their views. But, besides outdated and discredited bluster, they add nothing to the current discussion.
He says there are many other more intelligent conservatives they could ask to appear, but I'm not persuaded these people actually exist. Certainly, there are very few who were not championing Bush as the second coming of Winston Churchill just a few short years ago. (He names the new NY Times columnist Ross Douthat, but I suspect once everyone gets a chance to know young Ross, they'll realize that he's just a bundle of "issues" masquerading as conservative iconoclasm.)
The problem is that conservatism has shot its wad and there's nothing left. It's not a matter of individuals; it's a matter of philosophy. No matter who they trot out to mouth their tired old saws and boring mantras, nobody wants to hear it.
All they've got is the right wing id --- the ranting Limbaughs and Becks, the racists, the gun nuts, the paranoid black helicopter crowd --- and a few lonely social conservatives who haven't figured out they were just fools for a bunch of sophisticated neocons and wealthy crooks. You can't put lipstick on that rabid pit bull.
h/t to bill