But “the legacy conservative media had gone native,” he alleged more dubiously. “They were just as dismissive of voters and just as out of touch with the rest of the country as the leftists and progressives they had long railed against. For all the Buckley quotes and superstitious invocations of Reagan’s name, it was all just a cover for a movement that was exhausted and out of ideas, and whose standard bearers and media defenders had largely accepted the premises of the progressive left.”
What of all the staffers at National Review and The Weekly Standard who explicitly reject the premises of the progressive left, and would object that they opposed Trump to honor conservative principles? “The pleas of standing on principle sound like nothing so much as the buggy whip manufacturers explaining that the automobile is just a fad,” Buskirk said, as if political history has a linear trajectory, and opposing morally fraught changes is as pointless as opposing amoral changes in consumer technology.
Buskirk’s formulation is populist in the most anti-conservaive way. In his telling, being “out of touch” with something that is popular is itself a mark against someone, an ethos many Claremonters would ridicule if it was uttered by a leftist. “We’ve passed the inflection point,” Buskirk insisted. “The fact that new journals have been founded tells us that time has already come and gone, that we’re now into a new era.”