Should-Read: My view is that the principal cause of the political homelessness of right wing policy intellectuals is of their own making. They are wandering in the wilderness of Sinai with no manna coming down from above because of their own past sins. Their last chance, I think, came in 2009-2011. They could have crossed the aisle then. They could have said:

  1. Bernanke's quantitative easing policies are a sensible and reasonable gamble, and we support them.
  2. The cap-and-trade proposal, while far from ideal is a market-based attempt at a solution to a serious problem, and we support it.
  3. Obamacare is a proposal that, now that there is no longer a public option in it to serve as a Trojan horse for single-payer, we would be 100% behind had it been proposed by a President Romney, and so we support it.

If they had done that, then their political masters would now regard them as disloyal opportunists. But their political masters would also fear them—if they had been effective in shifting hearts and minds by their aisle crossing. But there does come a point where oderint dum metuant is the watchphrase. And I think, for them, they had reached that point in 2009-2011

Instead, the right-wing policy intellectuals either went mute or went all in in opposition, simply to demonstrate how obsequious was their support for their political masters. And their political masters concluded that the right-wing policy intellectuals were of no account: in the complex task of balancing factions to maintain a coalition, you spend no time and no energy at all appeasing people you are guaranteed to fall in line whatever you do and whatever you say.

Now right-wing policy intellectuals have, I think, a choice:

  1. They can continue to prostitute themselves to their Republican political masters while having next to no influence on policies.
  2. They can join those professional centrists think tanks that will have them—but will have them only if they are genuinely convinced that they are hiring people who are genuine aisle crossers—and spend the next decade crossing the aisle back-and-forth rather than playing for a team, and hope to acquire enough influence to be a group that can then bargain with the Republicans for reinclusion in a decade or so.

The second almost surely won't work: there is already an oversupply of professional centrists, after all. Of course, the first only "works" in a peculiar sense.

Peter Suderman: There isn't a political home for people on the right who care about policy: "A recurring theme of 2017 is how frustrated right of center folks who care about policy are with Republicans...

...That frustration is not unrelated to Trump, but it extends beyond the president to much of the rest of the party. And it's compounded, I suspect, by the growing sense that there isn't really a political home for people on the right who care about policy...