And while the American people are generally conservative in values (deeply and broadly religious, respectful of property rights, not particularly envious of the rich, jealous of individual liberties, sentimental for the family, patriotic, proud and insistent to bear arms, willing to fight for God and country), conservative politicians should not forget that Americans are not ideological conservatives -- they are practical and distrustful of Washington.
Reagan shared Americans' radical impatience. He didn't defend past Republican policies, foreign or domestic; he immediately rejected bipartisan detente with the Soviets and set about defeating them. While he was agreeable, he didn't agree to the traditional appropriation process, but sought and achieved radical, nearly across-the-board spending cuts as soon as he arrived in the White House (with the Gramm-Latta bill of 1981).
Reagan was -- and appeared to the American people to be -- as different from the former Republican Party politicians as he obviously was from Jimmy Carter and the Democrats. In 1984 he was able to credibly say, when he was told that people want change, "We (the Reagan administration) ARE the change."
There is much wrong with American government today, and there are deep and worrisome conditions emerging. People are concerned about the impact of globalization on their jobs and wage rates. They are appropriately fearful about the reliability and affordability of health care and retirement pension delivery systems. The world appears (and is) dangerous, and that danger seems to be currently poorly managed.
While bold, conservative answers to such worries would probably trump conventional liberal ones, if Republican candidates for president merely -- and complacently -- repeat 1980s-style conservative policy maxims, it's my guess an impatient citizenry will go with the more urgent-sounding Democratic Party call for change.
Americans are about to display their radical electoral impatience with failing government. If Reagan were running today, he would be the boldest candidate in the field of either party. But so far no Republican candidate has caught the radical temper of the times.
Is there not one Republican candidate today who is visibly impatient to, with conservative principles and values, "begin the world over again"?
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.