This is our house

In response to criticism of the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum following her endorsement of Barack Obama, David Frum asks: “How small has the house of conservatism shrunk when it can find no room for Anne Applebaum. . .this generation’s greatest living expert on the crimes of communism?”

One can be a conservative and sit this election out (though that would be a bad decision). One can also be a conservative and vote for Bob Barr (also a bad decision). But I don’t see how one can be a conservative, as that term is currently understood in common political discourse, and vote for a candidate who, according to the non-partisan National Journal, has the most liberal voting record in the Senate.

An Obama administration would almost certainly be to the left of the Clinton administration. It might well be to the left of any U.S. administration ever. A person who votes to bring on that administration may be admirable in many respects. He or she may have been a conservative recently. He or she may become a conservative soon, and should be welcome in that event. But if the term “conservative” is given its ordinary, contemporary meaning, how can he or she be considered a conservative now?

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