I alluded to part of this when I mentioned his maverick ways in the Senate, but in view of the angry, mutinous rumblings of late from the base directed against the conservative punditocracy (which Ross Douthat talks about here) it's worth noting that a lot of the people (Kristol, Noonan, MacDonald, Parker, Will et al) who are moaning and groaning about Palin are the same people who were pushing McCain as the nominee back when most Republicans regarded him as the persistent thorn in W's (and our) side, and as welcome as a case of the clap. The general reaction from the grass roots, unsurprisingly -and as echoed louder and more forcefully by Mark Levin, Mark Steyn and others- is "WTF! You traitorous assholes!" You might almost think that these (largely Blue State, as Douthat points out) pundits were hoping for McCain to lose all along, and found Palin a disagreeable reminder that the Great Unwashed Redneck Base was still out there, lurking in the exurbs and trailer parks, waiting for a champion to come along and reassure them that Crazy Uncle John might have a few conservative bones left in his political body after all.
The other McCain traces the roots of this intramural dogfight to the unfortunate blurring of policy wonkery and political analysis.
The think tanks of Washington (and the offices of political journals) are crammed full of people who don't personally know any voters in Ohio or Florida or Colorado. Almost all the Republican intelligentsia are blue-staters. And their close friends are like them: Graduates of elite universities and residents of the urban Northeast. They are thus ill-equipped to understand what makes swing voters swing.
Writing about politics is easier than writing about policy. But understanding politics -- why is McCain losing? -- requires an insight into the lives and minds of ordinary people that they can't teach you at Harvard, and that you're never going to learn in discussions with policy wonks.
So maybe the answer is to get more pundits who don't hail from the Northeast Corridor. Douthat to the contrary, I don't think most of the GOP wants much to do with the wets/RINOs of the Northeast, since in the past they've had a bad habit of scoring a lot of own goals or even defecting in a fit of pique. We'll take our hard libertarian allies where we can find them, but this strikes me as a damn good time to get rid of wishy-washy "Republicans" who can be bought off by Harry Reid's buckets of pork. We can start with their allies in the press, many of whom haven't liked us since Newt Gingrich threw Bob Michel from the train back in the Reagan years.
UPDATE & BUMP: Tacitus tees off on Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker's columns from today. I don't have the heart to read Ms. Noonan's column; time was she made me feel kinda funny in the pants, but now she just makes me sad. Goodbye, Peggy; we hardly knew ye. (Ace)