Throughout his column, Douthat speaks of how libertarian values restrain fascism--they do. To equate them with conservative ideology, however, is a bit of stretch. Conservatives are not libertarians. Conservatism is not the ally of liberty. It is first and foremost the ally of the status quo and the past. Every attempt to expand human liberty was opposed by conservatives of the day.
In ostensibly promoting tolerance, the essential core of liberalism, left wing extremists have taken on an ill-advised and misguided campaign to enforce an extreme version of political correctness, a form of intolerance that is ironically self-destructively anti-liberal. There is no constitutional right not to be offended.
Bernie Sanders's role is to push Clinton to the left. To push her to actually serve the people. Otherwise, she more than likely will not. And inequality will continue to increase as it has steadily done over the last 30 years. Because as great as Obama was on some issues, he was pretty bad on inequality.
The word "conservative" means something different today from what it used to. Conservatives have traditionally understood the importance of stability--and the dangers of disrupting the established order. They considered it a responsibility to preserve their heritage and pass it down intact to the next generation.
To imply that Bernie Sanders' style of Democratic Socialism even stands on the same side of the political spectrum as the National Socialism of the Nazi Party shows not only a total misunderstanding of history and political theory, but more importantly, it underscores yet again the dog whistle politics of neo-conservatism.
Only the worshipers of big business could root against George Bailey. The too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks that brought us the 2008 financial collapse and the Great Recession, the Koch brothers and their like, with their Ayn Randian "selfishness is good" philosophy, have sadly brought us an economy utterly dominated by the Henry Potters of the world -- except on steroids.
While some people will remain opposed to same-sex couples getting married -- just as a dwindling handful still oppose interracial marriage -- every sign exists that marriage will go away as a political issue. Most conservatives, even dedicated culture warriors, will simply move on. The marriage issue isn't going to turn into a replay of the abortion issue.
One of the enigmas of our political landscape is the impoverished Republican. This is the American with very little money, and many unmet needs, who nevertheless votes for people and policies that will deny him or her assistance. Indeed, many of the reddest states in the nation are among the largest beneficiaries of government aid.
As the 2016 presidential election approaches, I feel uninspired by the Republican candidates who appear most likely to be pursuing the nation's highest office. With Democrats having at least one candidate who will likely be able to unite their base, I fear that Republicans may once again be without a visionary leader.