Cultural Revolutions

An Election Footnote

An election footnote. Ron and Nancy Reagan must have thought long and hard before campaigning against Oliver North. After all, the 11th commandment, "never criticize a fellow Republican," may be the only one this show-biz duo hasn't broken. But campaign they did, Ron by calling North a liar in the primary and Nancy by repeating the charge in the last weeks of the race. What followed in each instance—derisive laughter from North's supporters—confirmed what many had already suspected: Ron and Nancy are irrelevant. Nancy, after all, was last heard of running the White House via a San Francisco astrologer and having intimate lunches with Frank Sinatra when Ron was out of town. As for Ron, this is the man who captivated conservatives for two decades before his presidency. He was the living embodiment of everything they hoped to achieve. Now he's a vague memory from a bygone era.

Every so often, some conservative magazine or newspaper tries to revive the zombie of Reaganism. The Wall Street Journal, for example, republished the text of Ron's speech for Barry Goldwater in 1964. "This is the issue of our time," he said, "whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite" should run our lives. Ron was right, but the effect of publishing this speech was to underscore the fantastic...

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