October 3, 2007


Defiant Spirit Needed (NICHOLAS WAPSHOTT, October 3, 2007, NY Sun)

[I]t is not merely Lady Thatcher's electoral technique that her visitors Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Mitt Romney, have come to emulate but her link to what, after seven years of neo-conservatism in the White House has come to be thought of as The Golden Age of Conservatism, when Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Mrs Thatcher was in Downing Street, and all was well with the world.

For eight full years Reagan and Lady Thatcher overlapped, and their bond of friendship and common understanding of what needed to be achieved provided an admirable clarity of purpose, the absence of which has provoked a wave of nostalgia for those long lost sunny times. For Mr. Giuliani, as with the others, the Thatcher meeting was ceremonial, an act of obeisance that subliminally demonstrated to old fashioned conservatives back home that, notwithstanding his views on social issues and his personal life, he is a true believer.

In Britain, where Lady Thatcher has long been a contentious, divisive figure she has in recent times overcome years of unpopularity and emerged as the Grand Old Lady of Downing Street. For much of the electorate, too young to remember her assertive and combative style of government, she symbolizes the good old days, when leadership was certain, enemies were beaten, and problems solved.

Which is why it was so canny of Gordon Brown, the Labour prime minister, to praise Lady Thatcher for being a "conviction politician" — that is someone who does not need polls and think tanks to suggest policies — and invite her round for tea at 10 Downing Street. The event turned out to be all that Labour strategists, preparing the way for a snap election which will likely be announced next week, could have wished for.

The Republican hopefuls though -- unlike Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and George W. Bush -- are too timid to adopt her Third Way solutions to the social welfare state. They like her credentials, but lack her convictions.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 3, 2007 11:30 AM
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