In search of the ‘Republican establishment’

In many ways, it seems like what Levin, Matalin and others refer as the “Republican establishment” could be seen as analogous to, or at least a subset of, Codevilla’s “Ruling Class.”

“The most revealing moment of our time, the defining event of our Establishment, came in September-October 2008, when everybody who was anybody agreed solemnly that some $800 billion to purchase big banks’ ‘toxic assets’ would save the US economy,” Codevilla told TheDC last week, arguing that he believes an establishment certainly exists.

“Three fourths of Americans disagreed and were deemed Neanderthals. But once the money was appropriated, the united geniuses changed their minds and used the cash for bailouts of favorite banks and industries. National Review and The Wall Street Journal, and Fox News signed on.”

“In sum,” he added, “these and similar worthies have agreed, mutatis mutandis, to the policies of the last generation that have given us a bloated public sector at home and no-win wars abroad.”

Will rejects the idea of an all-powerful Republican establishment, arguing that “[the establishment] died at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1964 when it did exist and threw its full might behind trying to get Pennsylvania Gov. William Scranton to stop the Goldwater steamroller and got steamrollered instead.”

“I just don’t see the coherence, the muscle, anything else,” he said.

He said some conservatives invest so much power in what he views as a mythical establishment because they “they are cultivating a sense of grievance.”

“I am afraid that conservatives as well as liberals like to cast themselves as victims and this is what they’ve decided to be victims of which is this nameless, faceless, shadowy establishment,” he said.

“You know, there is a certain kind of person who argues about the Kennedy assassination that the very absence of evidence of a conspiracy is proof of how cunning the conspiracy was.”

“Where are they going to meet?” Will asked of those who believe a meaningful Republican establishment exists.

“They actually don’t have to meet at all, although some are undoubtedly social friends,” answers Levin. “Hell, maybe they even go on cruises together, so I’ve heard. But given that they are presumably competent with cell phones, emailing, and, most of all, can read what each writes, and maybe link to them, they don’t have to meet at all.”

“This isn’t a conspiracy, it is the nature of things,” he added.