Yes, I said it was an important blog post; I hope that Douthat will go ahead and make the same point in a column. It’s important because Douthat, who has one of the most impossible jobs around as a New York Times conservative columnist, believes that he can get away with this harsh of a criticism of Republican rising stars without risking his conservative credentials. If he’s right, that’s good news; of course, the bad news is that it has to be said in the first place.
There’s really nothing about conservatism, either in general or in its Republican Party Goldwater-influenced version, that makes plausibly viable policy impossible. Ronald Reagan ran on a policy-rich platform; even George W. Bush did. That Republicans have become significantly less substantive than Bush in 2000 is an embarrassment to them, and bad for the nation; it’s good to have a highly visible conservative voice say so.