The Corner

Timing Is Everything

I’m halfway through Lewis Lapham’s long screed against conservatives and all their works in the latest Harper’s, and thinking about bugging out from the article. It is notable for this bit of prescience: “[T]hje rich man’s dream of heaven. . . placed Ronald Reagan in the White House in 1980 and provides the current Bush Administration with the platform on which the candidate was trundled into New York City this August with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the heavy law enforcement, and the paper elephants. The speeches in Madison Square Garden affirmed the great truths now routinely preached from the pulpits of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal–government the problem, not the solution; the social contract a dead letter; the free market the answer to every maiden’s prayer–and while listening to the hollow rattle of the rhetorical brass and tin, I remembered the question that Hoftstadter didn’t stay to answer. How did a set of ideas both archaic and bizarre make its way into the center ring of the American political circus?”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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