This deviation expresses itself in different ways. First, in the confusion between Jeffersonian populism -- a salutary mistrust of economic power allied to political power--and class-based populism, which is what Republican leaders promote when they scorn America's coastal and big-city culture. Second, in the contradiction between a low-tax, low-spend policy and an interventionist foreign policy that, by definition, is costly--as every empire in the history of mankind eventually and painfully found out. Last, in modern-day Puritanism, which started, perhaps understandably, as a reaction against the cultural excesses of the 1960s but ended up turning into what H.L. Mencken described decades earlier as "grounded upon the inferior man's hatred of the man who is having a better time."
These fundamental deviations from conservatism crystallized in the Bush administration. The result was the biggest growth in government since the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, a loss of international prestige and, in purely political terms, the alienation of millions of people who could have been attracted to the Republican Party had its libertarian roots been preserved in dealing with social issues.
Hear, hear. And the Palin pick was the clearest illustration the Party could have given of the anti-intellectualism which has become so pervasive among the religious right and movement conservatives.
Read the whole article. Good stuff.