Idealism and politics do not mix well. The most principled politicians are obliged by the nature of governing real human beings in an imperfect world to practice the craft of statesmanship and the virtue of prudence. This non-utopian reality does not sell well in any election cycle, certainly not in one following a great conservative uprising. The grass-roots repudiation of neo-socialism was to have birthed a true “son or daughter of Buckley.” Though the field does offer several competent statesmen capable of governing the nation, generalized disappointment provokes poignant longing for the great Ronald Reagan.
The memory of the now-divinized Reagan, posthumously purged of the scars of pragmatic political give and take, conjures such nostalgia for “Morning in America” that even the Golfing Marxist and his courtesans have sought legitimacy by laying rhetorical wreaths on the Gipper’s tomb. Understandable. Pardonable.
It would, however, be not only impolitic, but certifiable madness for any candidate to claim to be the reincarnation or vicar of Ronald Reagan. The unworthy and those only slightly touched dare only the alchemy of drawing attention to some likeness between their own ideology and record and that of the great Midas.
Only the ersatz-Republican Rochester’s Wife has climbed on the electoral battlements and actually claimed for himself the title of “He Who Stood with Reagan.” In early September of 2011 Congressman Ron Paul sought to discredit Governor Rick Perry with an ad called Trust vs. Rick Perry: