This especially rings true.
To a greater degree than some readers of this magazine may care to admit, the conservative movement has grown prudish, crotchety, God-obsessed, conspiratorial, retrograde, and insipid. Somebody needs to stand athwart and yell “stop.”
I write this as someone who thinks the Obama administration is wreaking long-term damage on the United States at home and abroad. So it’s all the more depressing that the conservative movement and its organs in politics and the media failed to pass what ought to have been an easy test: winning a winnable election. If the GOP could not defeat an incumbent president who had saddled himself with high unemployment and the most unpopular legislation in modern history, how do they expect to defeat Hillary Clinton should she run in 2016?
Ronald Reagan has now become the patron saint of the conservative movement, and rightly so. Reagan was neither a scold nor a prig. He was a pragmatic idealist who knew how to combine humor with moral purpose. His personal correspondence shows a mind capable of engaging an argument at its deepest levels and extracting philosophical meaning from everyday experience. He lived in his times and could change his mind without betraying his convictions.
Of how many leading Republicans can that be said today? The future of conservatism depends on many things, but surely one of them lies in somehow producing many more Reagans and far fewer Akins.