Speaking of conservatism, Ratchel Maddow has pointed out that "It doesn't make sense anymore to talk about the relationship between the extreme fringe of the conservative movement and the modern Republican party, because you can only discern a relationship between two things that you can tell apart" (1).
Having defined the conservative opposition, we can now consider the concept of being "brain dead" (2). The terms usually mean "having irreversible loss of brain function as indicated by a persistent flatlining during an electroencephalogram. In less formal usage, the terms mean "extremely stupid".
Frank Rich has recent warned us that "In the annals of American excess, there often arrives a moment when those with too much money, too much clout and too much hubris just can't stop themselves from tempting the fates. They throw an over-the-top party in public, or parade their wealth and power before the press, and the next thing you know their world, and sometimes ours, has crashed" (3).
Steven Hayward, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, has recently pointed out that at present, "the conservative movement has been thrown off balance, with the populists dominating and the intellectuals retreating and struggling to come up with new ideas. The leading conservative figures of our time are now drawn from mass media, from talk radio and cable news. We've traded in Buckley for Beck, Kristol for Coulter, and conservatism has been reduced to sound bites" (2).
Moreover, the right wing does this to themselves. Just consider that ever-alert pundit, Bill Kristol, who is more than willing to make statements that would tag his IQ at the level of an imbecile, just above a loaf of bread. He can't actually believe the rot that comes out of his own mouth. He is just a loyal conservative who knows where his money comes from.
According to Frank Rich, "President Obama has done conservatives a great favor, delivering CPR to the movement with his program of government gigantism, but this resuscitation should not be confused with a return to political or intellectual health. The brain waves of the American right continue to be erratic, when they are not flat-lining".
"Conspicuously missing are the intellectual works. Of course, it's hard to say whether conservative intellectuals are simply out of interesting ideas or if the reading public simply finds their ideas boring. At best, the right is badly divided over how to fix the economy and handle Iran and Afghanistan. So for the time being, the populists alone have the spotlight" (3).
Here, one must even question Frank Rich's grasp of reality. How on God's good Earth does he consider Beck and Limbaugh to be "populists"? I would have judged Obama's campaign rhetoric as being much more populist in nature.
Populism is defined as a belief system in which the "adherents of a political party seek to represent the interests of ordinary people." Beck and Limbaugh do not represent "ordinary people". They only appeal to ill-educated and ignorant conservatives. We have here an example of a typical mainstream journalist seeing one thing and calling it another - mostly aimed at keeping the arguments unresolved.
It is, of course, in the fiscal interests of the mainstream press to keep all political issues unresolved so that advertising money can be begged from those on both sides of the argument. As a result. the mainstream press continues to provide right wing fools and criminals with voice and credibility (6), to be essentially useless as a "friend of the people".
"A nation, like a person, has a mind--a mind that must be kept informed and alert, that must know itself, that understands the hopes and needs of its neighbors--all the other nations that live within the narrowing circle of the world". Franklin Delano Roosevelt
I feel obligated to interject here a note on human thought. Albert Einstein showed us the immense value of looking at reality from differing "frames of reference", i.e., points of view. There is no "right" and no "wrong" point of view. All points of view have merit just for being human points of view (Your dog doesn't have them, you know).