In a post earlier today — here — I spoke of a conductor who used his podium as a political platform. He said that January 20, Inauguration Day, would be “a new beginning for our country.” That reminded me of 1980: for “A New Beginning” was Reagan’s campaign slogan. He also liked to quote Thomas Paine: “We have it within our power to begin the world anew.”
Conservatives hated that statement, of course. George Will called it, with justice, the most un-conservative statement ever uttered. Of course, conservatives had a lot of problems with Reagan: as a backslider, a transgressor, an apostate, not a “true conservative.” They were in a perpetual state of upset with him, both on domestic policy (spending, tax hikes, amnesty) and on foreign policy (accommodation to Gorby, etc.).
The great quip was, “None of this would be happening if Ronald Reagan were still alive.” A prominent conservative intellectual wore a Darth Vader mask when he went to see the president, to remind him that the Soviet Union was an evil empire. Another prominent conservative called Reagan “a useful idiot for Soviet propaganda.”
Now, however, I see conservatives refer to Reagan as “Ronaldus Maximus.” He is the Great Exemplar, our True North, and so on. I look forward to seeing what my fellow conservatives, many years from now, have to say about George W. Bush . . .