Paul  Kengor

It has taken me a couple of weeks but I think I’ve finally gotten handle on why Sarah Palin’s bravado Republican convention speech was such a smash among conservatives: After nearly eight years of watching President George W. Bush curl up in the fetal position each time he was savaged by the angry left, it was positively invigorating to see a conservative Republican finally fight back—and with wit and charm. Palin was a throwback to Ronald Reagan, with that unique ability to deliver a memorable dig with a smile. She went on offense, entertainingly and engagingly so, and it was fun to watch.

At the same, Palin made herself prey for the secular left. They don’t like her. They despise her simply for what she represents. Her nice life of happy choices angers them. They are eager to destroy her. This gives the hard left pleasure, albeit only momentarily, as their restless hearts seek another void.

She will witness their hatred when she turns on the TV, picks up a newspaper, or walks by a magazine rack. What’s the solution to deal with their revulsion? Ignore it. It is what it is; always the same.

Turn off the TV: As George W. Bush told reporters in the early weeks of the invasion of Iraq: “I don’t have time to sit around watching TV.” Smart.

Don’t read the New York Times, which harbors the worst of prejudices: a concealed one. At least conservative talk-radio is open about its biases.

The one politician who had this ability more than any I’ve encountered was Ronald Reagan—a truly liberating quality for a conservative Republican. I could point to numerous examples, but here’s one of my favorites, shared by the late columnist Rowland Evans.

Evans was having lunch with Reagan in 1987, six years into his presidency, a milestone by which the previous five presidents had been defeated, resigned in disgrace, refused to consider reelection, or assassinated. Somehow, Reagan was shining through, making it look easy, and was enormously popular. Evans, a tough old newsman, was in awe. He looked Reagan in the eye and said, “You know, Mr. President, I’ve known you for more than twenty years. I first met you in 1966, and the amazing thing is that you don’t look any older now than you did back then. How do you do it?”

In response, Reagan offered a parable: