Principalities & Powers

You Say You Want a Revolution

With a none-too-whopping lunch of 51 percent of the popular vote packed into their bellies, the nation’s “conservatives” quibbled and preached to one another about the true meaning of the 2004 presidential election even before the 51 percent had made it all the way down their political esophagus.  “Now comes the revolution,” beamed Richard A. Viguerie, a faded star of the first (New Right) revolution that never quite happened back in the 1980’s, to a small clutch of “movement conservatives” in Arlington, Virginia, on election night.  “If you don’t implement a conservative agenda now, when do you?”  Mr. Viguerie—and other conservatives—may not really want an answer to that question, but they will soon get one.

As the New York Times noted two days after the election, conservatives were ebullient about Mr. Bush’s victory—and why not?  For some little while, it was beginning to look like the President would go the way of Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter, with John Kerry ousting him and his neoconservative war wonks from the West Wing and sending the whole crusade for global democracy back to the Commentary editorial offices.  Mr. Bush’s last-minute and razor-thin victory erased those thoughts.  “Movement” stalwarts who, a few months before, were vowing not to vote for Mr. Bush and refusing...

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