Emmett Tyrrell

Now two former Bush speechwriters, David Frum and Michael Gerson, have come along and prescribed Big Government for what supposedly ails modern American conservatism. Norquist has a better idea, namely keeping the conservative movement -- the dominant political force since the Reagan administration -- true to its principles, foremost of which is limited government. He knows that Big Government is an inefficient tool for reform and a threat to personal liberty. What is more, Big Government still is viewed with suspicion by a majority of Americans.

In a terrific new book, Norquist explains how conservatism can remain dominant. He identifies the voting blocs that have made conservatism a powerful and salutary force in modern politics: anti-tax activists, gun-rights defenders, home-schoolers, religious conservatives, and members of the investor class. He calls them members of the Leave Us Alone Coalition and names his book "Leave Us Alone: Getting the Government's Hands Off Our Money, Our Guns, Our Lives." Contrary to Frum and Gerson, who believe Americans have tired of opposing limited government, Norquist cites trends that suggest this coalition has a long life ahead.

He notes that the investor class is growing, as is the number of conservative people of faith. Red states are becoming more populous, while blue states are losing population. The home-schooling movement is growing, and thanks to conservative organizers on campus, ever-larger numbers of well-trained conservative activists are graduating from college and continuing their political activism after graduation. He thinks the conservative young are more effective than their liberal peers. He believes public policies in our growing economy are expanding the size of the investor class, one policy being the growing number of individual retirement accounts. Finally, Norquist believes that the liberals, who he says compose the Takings Coalition, have few policies that are attractive to the American majority or capable of solving the problems they supposedly address.

To those who think the conservative moment has passed, may I introduce Grover Norquist?


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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