Ross Douthat writes:
It’s important, I think, to distinguish “talk radio conservatives” from “the base” writ large: The former is a subset of the latter, and…not a large enough subset to actually decide a primary campaign… The underlying theory behind the talk radio critique of Daniels is basically that you can’t trust a man who disarms liberals with his seeming reasonability, and what you need instead is somebody who takes the fight to the left at every opportunity. This is an excellent description of the qualities required … to be a good talk radio host. But when applied to the presidential scene, it amounts to a kind of politics of schadenfreude, in which actual conservative accomplishments count for nothing, the ability to woo undecided voters is downgraded or dismissed, and all that matters is how much a prospective candidate irritates liberals.
I think this interpretation, which casts blame upon specific conservative media figures, is both accurate and actionable. There’s a clear path for thinking conservatives to take to restore power to their side: criticize the crazy people on their own side. Or in other words, be Conor Friedersdorf.