Sullivan nails it:
What Rove never realized is that many of us fought hard for intellectual and moral respect for conservatism in college and grad school, only to have our efforts turned into a joke by the crassness of the Party Of Rove. There were only a few self-described conservatives at Harvard when I was there, and I spent a great deal of time losing friends, breaking up dinners, offending professors because I was a) right of center and b) obviously academically serious. And now I'm supposed to defend Sarah Palin? As vice-president? I mean: seriously?
Conservatives hate that their leaders are often portrayed as dopey empty suits who spout slogans and act without thinking. Everyone from Ike and Goldwater to Reagan to Bush 41 has been (mostly unfarily) painted as these sorts of mindless ideologues and breathless race baitors who survived on wedge politics and personal attacks. How sad then for intellectual conservatives like Andrew Sullivan see the stereotype become reality. How sad for everyone.