By contrast, just look at the way conservatives respond to their party’s looming disasters, and you quickly see the advantages of a little night-time incontinence. It was conservatives who, when the GOP leadership proposed a few no-brainer reforms to put the party on sturdier ground, went to elaborate lengths to show that the reforms were unnecessary. It was conservatives who, even as it became clear that Obamacare would enroll more than enough people to avert collapse, insisted the program was careering toward failure. They spared no fiber of intellectual honesty illustrating this point.
Pretty much the only time influential conservatives have piped up about the doom and destruction awaiting their party came on the eve of last fall’s government shutdown, which polls overwhelmingly predicted would damage the GOP. And even then there were as many influential conservatives egging on the Tea Partiers as there were yelling “stop.” A week into the shutdown fight, Rush Limbaugh announced that Republicans were winning despite the party’s “attempts to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”
Perhaps there’s no greater testament to the virtues of bed-wetting than a comparison between conservatives’ relationship to the Romney campaign and liberals’ relationship to the Obama administration. Both camps had well-deserved reputations for insularity. Obama rejected pleas to hire an outsider with a technical background to get the federal insurance exchange up and running, insisting that the health care aides who designed the law were best qualified for the job. Though it was well-known within the federal health care bureaucracy that the exchanges were a mess, no one thought to inform the White House, and the White House didn’t think to ask.