The Corner

Re: The Return of Gingrich

I was struck by that same paragraph, and it sent me back to something Harvey Mansfield wrote right after Reagan’s first presidential election in 1980: “The debate in American politics today, one can say with little exaggeration, is within the Republican party between those with ideas and the prudent distrusters of ideas.”

Of course the scene today is wholly different. The right may or may not be out of ideas at the moment, but one thing is unchanged: The “prudent distrusters,” like the poor, shall always be with us, which is why Newt will always be necessary and significant.

Steven F. Hayward — Stephen F. Hayward is a senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of a two-volume political history, The Age of Reagan.

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