Rich Tucker

It must be difficult to work at The New York Times, surrounded every day by true believers in conservative ideals. Luckily for the rest of us Sam Tanenhaus, editor of the paper’s “Book Review” and “Week in Review” sections, has emerged from that hothouse to write for us, the little people, a small book titled “The Death of Conservatism.”

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More in sorrow than in anger, Tanenhaus begins by claiming that, in the realm of ideas and argument, “conservatism is most glaringly disconnected from the realities now besetting America.” Oh? “Conservatives remain strangely apart, trapped in the irrelevant causes of another day, deaf to the actual conversations unfolding across the land, in its cities and towns, in red and blue states, in the sanctuaries of the privileged and tented ‘Bushvilles,’” he writes.

Indeed, I drove my 1930 Chrysler Imperial through a “Bushville” just the other day. It was filled with lean hobos heating tins of lima beans over open fires. Very sad. Most of them used to be Chrysler stockholders, apparently, until they lost their fortunes when the Obama administration raced that company through an extra-legal bankruptcy and turned 55 percent ownership of it over to the UAW.

But speaking of tins, Tanenhaus seems to have a tin ear. It’s liberals, after all, who are disconnected from the conversations going on around the country.

For example, media elites assure us that the economic worst is behind us. “Some companies came through the recently ended recession with flying colors,” opened a story on Slate magazine on Nov. 7. Break out the bubbly; the recession is over! Except -- it doesn’t feel over. Unemployment is 10.2 percent. Americans aren’t living in “Bushvilles,” but most worry about jobs.

How have liberals in Congress reacted? They’ve passed bills that destroyed valuable assets (cash for clunkers), would implement new taxes in an effort to stop phantom global warming (cap and trade legislation) and would impose expensive new burdens on employers and workers (through mandatory health insurance).

Not to worry, though. Once they’ve dealt with health care and saved the planet, they’ll tackle employment. “During the Senate Democrats’ lunch Tuesday (Nov. 17),” The Hill newspaper reported, “Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) announced that an initiative focusing on jobs would soon be a priority.” No hurry, apparently.


Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for Townhall.com.