Paul Krugman: [@paulkrugman][]: "A tweetstorm on conservative intellectuals, inspired by Ross Douthat's brave but I think incomplete essay. (Live from the Republicans' Self-Made Trump Hell)

Missing from the essay are two things, which I think are related flaws: any actual names of modern conservative intellectuals, and any acknowledgement of the huge role big money's influence, especially via lavishly funded think tanks, plays in conservative life.

Take economics, an area I know. Who are the right's intellectual leaders here? Judged by influence, you'd have to say Kudlow/Moore etc. The problem with these guys isn't failure to face up to populism; it's the fact that they are incompetent, dishonest hacks. But they thrive because they tell big donors what they want to hear. In fact, incompetence may be a feature, not a bug, for donors who want unquestioning dogmatism, with no risk of principled defection by someone with independent reputation.

And even economists with professional reps toe the line. Think of the "QE will debase the dollar" crew, not one of whom will admit error!

So the movement has bought itself apparatchiks posing as intellectuals. Independent thought (Bartlett/Frum) is excommunicated. So movement would be intellectually bankrupt even if it didn't depend on white nationalism to win elections. And this bankruptcy explains weakness in the academy: supply-side cranks, climate deniers etc don't get tenure but are what GOP wants

So reform not going to happen: paymasters don't want it. These days caring about inconvenient truth makes you a ... Democrat.

As I've been saying, it's not just failure to vet Trump until late in the game