OH, I SEE THE DIFFERENCE. Over at the Corner, they�ve been trying to poke holes in E.J. Dionne�s Post column today about the collapse of conservatism. The most beguiling entry is by Kate O�Beirne:

E.J.'s eulogy for conservatism�recognizes that moderates in the largely conservative party have to be accommodated. True. That's the fate of a governing majority party. The alternative - a destructive purge to purify the ranks of the minority party - is on display in Connecticut.

Hmmm. I guess she means like the way Lincoln Chafee is being tolerated in the Republican Party. In fact, the GOP is tolerating Chafee into a primary next month. He�s in a tight-as-a-tick race against a winger named Stephen Laffey, who has the endorsement of the Club for Growth and whose candidacy against Chafee is closely analogous to Ned Lamont�s challenge to Joe Lieberman. So if what�s going on in Connecticut now is a �destructive purge to purify the ranks,� then what exactly is next month�s Rhode Island primary? Sheesh.

Best of all: Last February 6, the editors of the National Review, i.e., a lot of the same scruffs who write on the Corner, made an endorsement in the Rhode Island race -- for Laffey!

--Michael Tomasky