I understand the urge of Ross Douthat to defend GOP primary voters given the roaster of second rate GOP Presidential Primary candidates. And there is merit in what Ross is arguing about.
But the fact of the matter is GOP voters have at crucial juncture shunned reasoned voices. No amount of justification can wash away South Carolina victory of the 'garbage can' I mean Gingrich. Bulk of GOP voters have allowed the whole debate to be dominated by crass social issues and insane economic and foreign policy prescriptions.
It is true that the larger share of blame goes to those 7 GOP leaders Ross mentioned - Huckabee, Daniels, Jeb Bush, Christi, Paul Ryan, Jindal and Marco Rubio; all those who ducked 2012 primary. The reason I say this is does anyone recall any of these leaders chastisizing 'policy nonsese' propagated by these presidential nominees? Who of GOP leaders and party leaders have said that:
- tax cuts in all cases would not take us out of deficit,
- GOP cannot advocate extreme anti-immigration policy; and
- just notching one up in anti-Iran sabre rattling is no policy in the end.
Except for some gingering protests and noise by Jeb Bush and Bobby Jindal about immigration, none of these leaders have even attempted to correct the course of GOP; the extremist course charted by jokers of primary and by many other GOP Politicians.
In the end defending successfully GOP Primary voters hardly add any value. May be mainstream media and generic Public could be blaming 'GOP primary voters' unfairly. But that is all besides the point - what most Americans are lamenting is inability of GOP to 'connect to people' and to debate policies which can make their day to day life better without being ideological all the time. GOP is simply not functioning as a political party - conveyor belt for people's aspirations to power centers. Needless to say, loss of GOP and this dysfunction in a two party democracy creates a void and spares Democrats easy. None of that is good for Americans in the end. One political engine of ours is not working and not showing any signs of coming to a life - that is enough to worry about rather than bothering subtlety of whether it is leaders or voters.