Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire.
I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green & pleasant Land.
In regard to attitude, America's conservatives could do worse than to be moved by those lines of William Blake from another place and another time on behalf of a similar sacred cause then not yet realized.
Conservatism always has been and always will be a force to reckon with because it most closely approximates the reality of the human condition, based, as it is, on the cumulative judgment and experience of a people. It is the heir, not the apostate, to the accumulated wisdom, morality and faith of the people.
As a force in electoral politics in any given season, conservatism, like all ideas and causes, is hostage to the effectiveness of the party that carries its banner, the candidates and leaders who articulate its principles and programs, and the engagement and spirit of the people who are its natural adherents.
A dispassionate critique of the performance of each of those elements would have to conclude that the core of the conservative people -- our natural adherents -- were inflamed with both passion and knowledge of conservative principles. It was the party and the candidates, leaders and conspicuous advocates (with some honorable exceptions) who failed both in their visions and their performances a cause that yearned to be well-led.
But fate (if you are a classicist) or the mystery of God (if you are religious) also has played its part this season. Only once since FDR-Truman has the American electorate elected the same party to the White House three times in a row (Reagan, Reagan, Bush -- 1980-1992). And by the way, only once since 1896, when Grover Cleveland declined to run for re-election and William McKinley won, has the American voter not elected the same party to the White House at least twice in a row (Carter, Reagan -- 1976-1980).
Moreover, the Republican Party, our reluctant champion, naturally (if, in a few instances, unfairly) was held to account for two unpopular wars, manifest corruption and managerial incompetence, a collapsed housing market that resulted in a 20-50 percent crash in the home values for most Americans, and a financial crisis that threatens world prosperity and has reduced the value of the average American's stock portfolio by about 40 percent.
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.