If I may say respectfully, all of this is Ruling Class reasoning par excellence. What is interesting is that William F. Buckley, Jr. is being cited by both NRO’s Goldberg and the Wall Street Journal as supporting “the most conservative candidate who could win” in the Journal’s phrase. In fact, Buckley didn’t follow his own advice. He supported Barry Goldwater for the 1964 GOP presidential nomination over Republicans Nelson Rockefeller and Henry Cabot Lodge, either of whom, if nominated, would surely have managed a better race against the more liberal Lyndon Johnson than Goldwater, who carried a mere five states. Buckley personally challenged liberal Republican Congressman John Lindsay for the New York mayoralty in 1965. Lindsay was the Mike Castle of New York City — yet Buckley plowed ahead, winning 13.4% of the vote and ignoring pleas he might cost Lindsay the election…

Just last year, hearing the news that liberal Republican Arlen Specter had defected to the Democrats because the Christine O’Donnell of Pennsylvania — Pat Toomey — was clobbering him in GOP primary polls, South Carolina’s Senator Lindsey Graham took to the cameras to lecture conservatives that they had wronged Specter and Toomey couldn’t win. Why? Because in Pennsylvania we supposedly only elect GOP liberals. Toomey, as this is written, is leading liberal Democrat Joe Sestak by ten points.

The argument — used to justify nominating all manner of moderate Republicans at the presidential and state level from Specter on back to Reagan — is bogus. Conservatives can and have won elections in the Northeast. But more to the point: what if they lose? Is this election about having a Ruling Class candidate and member of the fraternity who’s a “good guy” (or girl) who immediately sets about continuing to build what Goldwater once described as “The Dime Store New Deal”? Or is it about moving the philosophical ball down the field as Goldwater and Buckley did, the latter who could easily have been described as an “itinerant conservative commentator and activist” to use the description applied to O’Donnell. Indeed, if conservatives had a nickel for every time Buckley was dismissed by the Ruling Class as a “conservative gadfly,” we would all be surviving Obamanomics in style.