“At the same time, and perhaps with even more consequence, the center of political conservatism was moving ever west. Through such figures as Goldwater and Reagan, the American West was transformed into the vital center of the conservative impulse. Though the primacy of the East Coast conservatives remained, the status quo could not last. As conservatism absorbed heartland influences, it began changing to a more individualistic, more libertarian, more religious, and more American form. Almost unacknowledged, the division between American western conservatism and the European-influenced northeastern variety became deeper and wider with every year.
And at last (as was inevitable) a candidate appeared who embodied that division, a candidate with no connection to coterie conservatism, a candidate wholly of heartland America, a candidate who was as much a challenge to traditional conservatives as she was to the left.
And so isolated had the Northeast Corridor conservatives become, so deeply embedded in their Jamesian parallel universe (which can best be pictured as kind of a conservative version of the old Steinberg New Yorker cover, with E.35th St. and Allen Jay Lerner’s townhouse looming as the center of the earth while, off on the horizon, we see a dot labeled, ‘Nascar races’), that they couldn’t recognize her clear conservative stance, couldn’t recognize her personal courage, couldn’t, in the end, be bothered to stand with her when she and her family were victimized by the most repellent political attack of our epoch…
The Northeastern urban conservatives must find some way to connect with the rest of the country. If not, they’ll end up much like the ‘conservatism’ expressed by Andrew Sullivan (whose main outlet, it should be noted, is a European paper) – obsessive, strange, and isolated, existing in dream world with no connection or influence to anything else.”