Celebrity Politicians, Savvy Sergeants

“We need another Reagan.”

I’ve heard that too many times to count.  Don’t get me wrong: I think another Reagan would be a good start—but only a start.  Everyone should recall that Reagan, even during the six years that the Republicans held the Senate, was able to do little to trim back the size of the federal leviathan, let alone abolish programs that had been around only since the days of LBJ and Nixon (not to mention the Department of Education, signed into existence by Jimmy Carter a little more than a year before Reagan’s election). 

Take a look at Reagan’s speech at the Republican National Convention in 1964.  The entire speech is on YouTube.  Reagan is brilliant.  The speech is brilliant.  Two years later he was elected governor of California.  If only he had become president back then, when he still had all his mental faculties and acuity.  Nonetheless, without the troops in the trenches, I’m not sure what he could have done.  Great leaders and great leadership can inspire and rally, organize and direct—but without a strong base, not much will happen.

For most of our history we’ve had presidents who were anything but celebrities, and the country did just fine.  The American culture of enterprise, individualism, hard work, family, religion, and racial homogeneity were firmly in place and kept...

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