Right On Red November 07, 2008 On Thursday, 20 or so fundraisers, grassroots organizers and political strategists met in Virginia to discuss the future of the conservative movement, soon to be in exile from the federal government. Ross Douthat, senior editor at The Atlantic and author of Grand New Party, says a split is emerging in the center-right mediasphere over what to do next.
sort of their infrastructure building mostly through D.C. think tanks which conservatives had long dominated. And on the liberal side and the progressive side, there wasn’t really anything.
BOB GARFIELD: But the right would say that the left has always had that infrastructure, called “the media.” [LAUGHS]
ERIC BOEHLERT: Right, and then that’s certainly been sort of the talking point and the propaganda from the right for almost four decades. But I would just go ask any veterans from the Clinton Administration if they thought for eight years the D.C. press was sort of on their side, as they chased down Whitewater [BOB LAUGHS] and impeachment and Travelgate.
ERIC BOEHLERT: I mean, they were at war with the press for eight years.
More Excerpts:
BOB GARFIELD: Well, what role do you suppose that they will have in the reconstitution of the conservative movement?
ROSS DOUTHAT: Kind of the same role that you’ve seen on the left, actually, during the Bush years, whether it’s this leftward turn that MSNBC has taken or the exploding left wing blogosphere – the Netroots, Daily Kos and so on. These are not hard-hitting intellectual places. They are sources of left wing populist anger against the excesses of the Bush Administration.
Talk radio and Fox News and so on will become sort of a focus for rock-ribbed Republican partisan mobilization. You know, the genius of the Obama campaign was that it managed to piggyback on that kind of angry left wing grass roots, but he himself projected a unifying post-partisan image and message to the rest of the country. And that’s what the Republicans will have to do. It’s very hard to pull off, and it’s very easy to see that kind of anger pulling the party downward into a permanent minority status. But it could go either way.
BOB GARFIELD: Well, that’s what I’m so fascinated in is this question of anger pulling the party downward.
ROSS DOUTHAT: There’s definitely a sense in which partisan media creates a sort of cocoon. For years, conservatives always talked about the liberal cocoon and they would say liberals who just read The New York Times and The New Yorker, and so on, never really understood that there was a world beyond those institutions. And so, you have the film critic Pauline Kael’s famous line about, you know, how could Nixon win? I didn’t know anybody who voted for him, right?
ROSS DOUTHAT: But as conservatives have built up their own infrastructure, they’ve also built up their own cocoon. And you’ve seen this over the last four to six years, where for a long time, in the midst of the Iraq War, if you turned on Fox News and listened to talk radio, all you heard was that things were going well and the liberal media wouldn’t report the good news. That kind of cocooning, I think, is usually the source of political defeat.
BOB GARFIELD: Ross, thank you very much for joining us.
ROSS DOUTHAT: Hey, it was a pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
BOB GARFIELD: Ross Douthat is a senior editor at The Atlantic and coauthor of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream.

Comment by Susanthur:
I enjoyed this article because it explained and cleared up some things for me. I live in Louisiana, the deep, deep south and just about everyone is Republican. After 5 years of Political Study, I found myself voting Democrat in this election on the anti-war issue after my husband’s many Military deployments. No one here can understand my position and some are very angry because of my vote. I hear from so many that I do not know what is going on and my vote is very wrong and very, very mistaken. These statements are from people that are big Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Hannity fans. I on the other hand get my info from various locations. I love Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers, Gwen Ifill/Washington Week, Meet the Press,McClatchy Newpaper, New York Times, Times Picayune, Time and US News Report Magazine,FactCheck.com, American Prospect, Council on Foreign Relations, Washington Post—I could go on and on. I seem to not get enough info -not enough hours in the day.
So, this concept of building up a sort of Cocoon was fascinating.
But my question is —who is in the cocoon?
Me or everyone else here in Louisiana? And if I am in my own self made Infastructure/Cocoon/Bubble and really do not know anything about what is really going on —where do I go for some truth?
I really am beginning to believe—NO ONE really knows anything what is really going on.
I did see trust was a very big issue for me these past few years. I was fed-up with Bush and Cheney and I had no trust for the people that was in power.
I like what I see in Obama–his decency, the calm and adult behavior, his respectful attitude. Some of my trust is back even though I know all politicians lie. As a matter of fact, if you are human–you lie. All humans and governments, lie. Not a judgment —just a basic fact. And because of this basic fact, I will keep my Independent Voting Status.
I do know one thing for sure as of right now.
I have hope for America again and I am happy. I would never want to go back to what we had the last eight years. The last five for me as a military family member was pure—HELL.