Douthat’s Eye-Grabbing Debut NYT Column

“Cheney For President” is the attention-grabbing headline of Ross Douthat’s inaugural New York Times column today (web only). Once Douthat has your attention, you learn that he thinks Cheney should have run for president in ‘08 not so much because he was the best man for the actual job but because it might have been “an instructive test” of the “political viability” of the form of “conservatism that’s ascendant in today’s much-reduced Republican Party, from the talk radio dials to the party’s grassroots,” which Douthat defines as a “conservatism of supply-side economics and stress positions, uninterested in social policy and dismissive of libertarian qualms about the national-security state” and of which “Cheney happens to be its diamond-hard distillation.” And then? When Cheney “went down to a landslide loss,” Douthat argues, “the conservative movement might – might! – have been jolted into the kind of rethinking that’s necessary if it hopes to regain power.”

(Also: Douthat’s column has links— real links that take the reader not to other stories the Times has written that are vaguely, maybe on-topic but to actual articles or posts at other publications that underscore/explain points Douthat is making! Hooray!)

Not surprisingly, lots of comments on the column so far (some in praise, some hung up on the headline, some of the so this is the Times’s conservative? variety.)

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.