May 21, 2008


The Fall of Conservatism: Have the Republicans run out of ideas? (George Packer May 26, 2008, The New Yorker)

The era of American politics that has been dying before our eyes was born in 1966. That January, a twenty-seven-year-old editorial writer for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat named Patrick Buchanan went to work for Richard Nixon, who was just beginning the most improbable political comeback in American history.

Huh? You can make a convincing argument that the epoch began in 1964, when Barry Goldwater began a systematic Republican (as opposed to conservative) assault on the Second Way or you can argue, plausibly, that it began with Reagan, who was the first successful candidate to run against it and who ushered in an era during which conservatives or Third Wayers have controlled the White House, one or both chambers of Congress, and/or the courts for nearly three decades now. What you can't do is make a sensible argument that Richard Nixon, a pretty standard issue liberal Republican, was the pivotal figure of these times. If anything, the LBJ/Nixon years appear to be an accidental final spasm of liberalism made possible only by Lee Harvey Oswald.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 21, 2008 12:54 PM

The left is obsessed with their theory that the recent GOP dominance at the national level is due to Nixon attracting all those racist Southerners, when actually the primary cause is Roe. But they can't admit that, because they have convinced themselves that Roe is both morally and politically right. Such self-delusion is similar to the way they can't admit that the reason why there are no massive protests against Iraq is that there is no draft, because then they'd have to admit that the primary cause for the anti-Vietnam protests was cowardice.

Posted by: b at May 21, 2008 6:41 PM

I'm old enough to remember the Nixon administration, but I still don't get it: why does the Left hate Nixon so? He was one of them. Wage-price controls, the EPA, institutionalized affirmative action, large and complex welfare programs, personal hostility to Israel, talking nice to the commies--Nixon embraced them all. Even his alleged paranoia was no different than what you hear from the likes of Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell these days.

Posted by: Mike Morley at May 22, 2008 6:10 AM

Mike: The left hated, and still hates, Nixon because he helped prove Alger Hiss was a communist spy.

Posted by: b at May 22, 2008 11:12 AM

Well, 1966 was the year Ronnie got hisself elected governor of California...

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at May 22, 2008 12:18 PM

Mike, nicely and succinctly said, but the left hates Nixon because he hated the Soviets who are their heroes.

Posted by: erp at May 22, 2008 3:35 PM

Opposite. He was unbothered by the USSR but hated the intellectual class communists, as he should have.

Posted by: oj at May 22, 2008 7:53 PM

He hated them too.

Posted by: erp at May 23, 2008 9:10 AM

He tried saving them. Reagan hated them.

Posted by: oj at May 23, 2008 11:10 AM