Paul  Weyrich

Ever since Ronald Reagan passed away, when even liberals seemed to appreciate him and his role in history, there has been a demand among rank-and-file conservatives that we find another Ronald Reagan. It goes back to the time when George H. W. Bush broke his pledge, “Read my lips: No new taxes.” It was more of a wish than a demand and confined more toward the politically conscious. What was a wish had become a demand since even liberal commentators found it in their hearts to say kind things about Reagan upon his death, leaving it to the far-left ideologues to trash him.

Ordinarily decent second-tier candidates such as former Governor Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin or Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas might have been able to surpass a weak first-tier, which has a lot of problems.

But that second-tier is not given a second look because these candidates aren’t Saint Ron. I was very much active politically during the entire Reagan Presidency. The effort to bring evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics worked, not only giving Reagan a landslide win but also producing the first Republican-controlled Senate in almost thirty years. While I recall the Reagan Presidency with great fondness I never got hooked on the notion that we must have a Reagan clone to save the nation. Reagan was perhaps guided by the Good Lord because he certainly was the right man for that era. With William J. Casey as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Paul II as Pope and Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of Great Britain, Reagan and his allies helped the Soviet Union to implode. It has been a mere thirty years since the evil empire began to unravel. Yet adults born in or after 1987 have no clue how dangerous the Soviet Union was not just to this country but to the entire world.

We now face a different enemy. Whereas the Soviet Union was a conservative power in that it never invaded unless it were sure it could prevail, today we face a radical power that is more than willing to take chances even if anticipating temporary failure.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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