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It's Not 1980 Anymore
Weekly Standard ^ | Nov. 8, 2011 | Bill Kristol

Posted on 11/07/2011 9:02:47 PM PST by guitarist

**For every Southern boy 14 years old, not once but whenever he wants it, there is the instant when it’s still not yet two o’clock on that July afternoon in 1863, the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out and Pickett himself with his long oiled ringlets and his hat in one hand probably and his sword in the other looking up the hill waiting for Longstreet to give the word and it’s all in the balance, it hasn’t happened yet, it hasn’t even begun yet, it not only hasn’t begun yet but there is still time for it not to begin against that position and those circumstances which made more men than Garnett and Kemper and Armstead and Wilcox look grave yet it’s going to begin, we all know that, we have come too far with too much at stake and that moment doesn’t need even a 14-year-old boy to think This time. Maybe this time with all this much to lose and all this much to gain: Pennsylvania, Maryland, the world, the golden dome of Washington itself to crown with desperate and unbelievable victory the desperate gamble, the cast made two years ago .  .  .

—William Faulkner, Intruder in the Dust

For every American conservative, not once but whenever he wants it, it’s always the evening of November 4, 1980, the instant when we knew Ronald Reagan, the man who gave the speech in the lost cause of 1964, leader of the movement since 1966, derided by liberal elites and despised by the Republican establishment, the moment when we knew—he’d won, we’d won, the impossible dream was possible, the desperate gamble of modern conservatism might pay off, conservatism had a chance, America had a chance. And then, a decade later—the Cold War won, the economy revived, America led out of the abyss, we’d come so far with so much at stake—conservatism vindicated, America restored, a desperate and unbelievable victory for the cast made so many years ago against such odds.

But that was then, and this is now. Now is 2012, and it seems clear that 2012 isn’t going to be another 1980. The reality seems to be that we’re not going to have a chance to replay that election, with (at least in the hazy glow of retrospect) a compelling conservative leader of long standing but ever youthful, a man who stood tall and spoke for us and for America, riding gracefully to victory over the GOP establishment in the primaries and over decadent liberalism in the general election. Assuming the presidential field stays as it is, 2012 won’t be a repeat of 1980.

Which is not to say that 2012 can’t be a good, even a very good, election for conservatives and for the country. There are other models for victory. In 1992 an incumbent president was soundly defeated by an impressive though flawed candidate who emerged from a weak field, after leading lights in his party refused to run (Cuomo, Bradley, Gore, Gephardt). Bill Clinton doesn’t provide a model of successful governance for the next Republican president—the next president is going to have to lead, not accommodate—but he does suggest another, less elegant model than 1980 for the defeat of an incompetent incumbent.

And then there’s 1932, when a not particularly distinguished four-year governor who’d zigged and zagged back and forth to be acceptable to large parts of the Democratic party, and whose political career was at first based partly on his last name, defeated another incumbent. Franklin Roosevelt did turn out to be a consequential president—because of the nature of the challenges he faced, because the country was ready for fundamental change, because there was a movement behind him (or ahead of him) that was full of ideas and energy, because there were strong representatives of that movement in Congress and in statehouses, and because he rose to the occasion.

These other models for conservative success in 2012 need to be studied for their lessons and adapted to our times. Reversing Obama’s weakness abroad, repealing Obamacare, restoring solvency and prosperity and limiting government at home, these are tasks too important not to be achieved because of our nostalgic disappointment that we will not, in 2012, replay a moment that is not to be again—and that perhaps never truly was.

Still, for every conservative of a certain age, there is the instant when it’s Election Day 1980, and the brigades are in position behind the rail fence, the guns are laid and ready in the woods and the furled flags are already loosened to break out. .  .  .


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bachmann; cain; gingrich; perry; reagan; romney
I hope Conservatives can grow up and avoid temper tantrums. All the Repub's have some faults, Romney's flips to the eccentricities of some of the others. But whoever wins, FOR GOD'S SAKE, support them next Nov., and let's retire Obama. It's too important of an election to sit on the side and complain about the Republican (after the primary, in any case.)
1 posted on 11/07/2011 9:02:50 PM PST by guitarist
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To: guitarist

I’d settle for another March 1968!


2 posted on 11/07/2011 9:10:16 PM PST by research99
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To: guitarist

Don’t let *mmmmf* *mmmmf* hear that or you’ll get e-lynched.


3 posted on 11/07/2011 9:14:43 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (ya don't tug on Superman's cape/ya don't spit into the wind--and ya don't speak well of Mitt to Jim!)
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To: guitarist
Oh how I remember 1980. Back when I was young and thought the right president (and Mr. Reagan WAS the right President), could solve all our problems.

Truth be told he DID solve some of the problems, be he didn't solve ALL of our problems. Back in those days I thought “it couldn't get any worse”. Boy did I have a lot to learn.

We will never have a perfect candidate. Mr. Reagan was about as close as we have come in my lifetime. I will be happy to see the guy currently destroying our country out. I would have said the same thing in 1980. I do hope we are able to nominate a Conservative! Oh Sara, Oh Sara, where art thou?

4 posted on 11/07/2011 9:14:56 PM PST by coldtexan (30 below keeps the RIF RAF out)
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To: guitarist
But whoever wins, FOR GOD'S SAKE, support them next Nov

I'd be more open to that plea if I thought we the people were having any say in who is nominated. I've come to the conclusion that the GOP liberal elite are going to put Romney in the seat and the hell with the voters.

They are going to ram Romney down our throats, knowing that he can't win after they do that. The bastards would rather lose the election than permit a conservative to become the nominee.

The GOP leadership is going to reelect Obama, not the Democrats. There should be a new circle in hell for them.

5 posted on 11/07/2011 9:15:31 PM PST by ChildOfThe60s ( If you can remember the 60s....you weren't really there)
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To: guitarist

Ok Ok. .stop with the moralizing. . screw Kristol. . .the true conservatives are being assaulted BEFORE THE PRIMARIES. We don’t want Romney and, by God, we are going to work to get a genuine conservative in the White House. FULL STEAM AHEAD! Hand-wringing while the game is in the second quarter is what losers do. . “oh God, we’re behind by a field goal. . that’s it WE CAN’T WIN”. . .geez. ..go curl up on a blankie will ya. Remember. . .IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL ITS OVER. and it’s not over for Herman Cain. . .he can be the next Reagan. I don’t give a damn about the media circus and I sure as hell don’t give a damn what Kristol thinks.


6 posted on 11/07/2011 9:18:09 PM PST by McBuff
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To: guitarist

Man, I hope a new conservative jumps into the Republican primary soon.
Somebody young and fresh and not sleazy or goofy.
As it is, anybody but Romney (or Huntsman or Paul) is going to have to do, but it could be so much better. Jim DeMint? Sarah Palin?

Scott Walker?

I guess at this point I’m hoping for Perry. I guess.. (shrug)


7 posted on 11/07/2011 9:24:12 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: guitarist

I’ve had this feeling,looking at the numbers from the Ohio polls on Kasich’s bill, looking at how the flame fired by taxes and the debt has dwindled as people fear loss of their entitlements, that conservatives really lost this fight in Nov. 1936 when America reelected Roosevelt, almost by acclamation. Americans really want the goods that a govt can dispense with tax dollars, and many if not most seem willing to take from others to do it while willingly surrendering their liberty to the state that provides. If I am wrong, how is it that no GOP candidate, save Goldwater, ran on the promise of repealing the New Dea? And President Reagan, victor over the USSR, never effected one significant victory in dismantling the New deal?


8 posted on 11/07/2011 9:26:23 PM PST by xkaydet65 (IACTA ALEA EST!!!')
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To: guitarist

Not Mittens. The GOP Rinos picked the wrong socialist, conservative hating horse again. I’m an independent.


9 posted on 11/07/2011 9:26:37 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: guitarist

Its a weird mixture for me of politics and prophecy; I know how it ends but exactly where are we in that mix? I keep a foot in both camps.

Evangelical Patriots.

Push come to shove..


10 posted on 11/07/2011 9:29:54 PM PST by One Name
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To: guitarist

Romney Never. He’s no better than Ford or even Carter.


11 posted on 11/07/2011 9:30:17 PM PST by Fledermaus (Romney as president will just destroy the country slower than Obama.)
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To: xkaydet65

It’s true. In the end Reagan wasn’t able to do much on entitlements. But his appointment of Scalia was worth all the effort of getting him elected. Anyone who’s interested should read Scalia’s dissents from the many idiotic Supreme Court rulings of the last 25 years.


12 posted on 11/07/2011 9:31:03 PM PST by guitarist
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To: guitarist

I think it’s crazy to say that the establishment is forcing Romney on us. It’s up to us to decide. Vote for the best candidate in the primary, and vote for whoever is the Republican alternative to Obama in November.


13 posted on 11/07/2011 9:32:29 PM PST by guitarist
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To: guitarist

If this madness doesn’t turn around, we could be headed for another 1865. As volatile as things are, that would be very bad news.


14 posted on 11/07/2011 10:33:32 PM PST by KoRn (Department of Homeland Security, Certified - "Right Wing Extremist")
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To: xkaydet65

Perry is on record as opposing the New Deal.


15 posted on 11/07/2011 11:10:23 PM PST by wiley
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To: guitarist
I don't know who will get the nomination, but whoever he is, do not expect 2012 to be an easy election for us. The election is still a year from now, which is very far away in political time. There's time for 0bama & Co. to create narrative to help him re-elected. Morever, those low disapproval numbers include liberals who thought he's not liberal enough. So, they will vote for him when the time comes.
16 posted on 11/07/2011 11:33:04 PM PST by paudio (0bama is like a bad mechanic who couldn't fix your car; he just makes it worse. Get somebody else!)
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To: KoRn

Not this time. Remember that Appomatox was time out, a long one, but time out just the same.

0bambi thinks he can subjugate us by pitting one against the other. He and his fellow travelers think that they can control the mobs of malcontents and America-hating scum. St. Paul exhorts us: “For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap.” Galatians 6 True then, true now.

All that remains is THE spark.


17 posted on 11/08/2011 3:10:06 AM PST by NTHockey (Rules of engagement #1: Take no prisoners)
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To: ChildOfThe60s
I've come to the conclusion that the GOP liberal elite are going to put Romney in the seat and the hell with the voters.

Where are the ELITE in THIS picture??


18 posted on 11/08/2011 3:44:11 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: McBuff

You tell ‘em!!

Wake up and smell the VICTORY!


19 posted on 11/08/2011 3:45:12 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: Lancey Howard
Somebody young and fresh and not sleazy or goofy.


Aw...  shucks...
 


20 posted on 11/08/2011 3:46:07 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: McBuff

“.....and I sure as hell don’t give a damn what Kristol thinks.”

Good post, and that line highlighted all needed to be said. Thanks for that.


21 posted on 11/08/2011 3:50:41 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: xkaydet65

Ohio Issue 2 will lose because of union demagoguery as opposed to a true addiction to entitlements.


22 posted on 11/08/2011 4:03:21 AM PST by RockinRight (One year from now, we have an opportunity to take our nation back.)
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To: guitarist
In the end Reagan wasn’t able to do much on entitlements.
 
But SHE is not the problem!
 
‘She’ didn’t VOTE for a single on of these things she’s being given.
 
 
 
WE have allowed all of this to happen; because we are ‘compassionate’ and want the ‘children’ to do better.
WHEN will we WAKE UP and realize that whatever we SUBSIDIZE; we get MORE of??
 
 
 
 
 
It’s simple; let’s use CHOICE just as the ABORTIONists do.
 
ANYONE can make a MISTAKE, so the GOV’T (us taxpayers) will help you with that one; and then
tell you what your CHOICEs are: you can have ALL the kids you want from now on; but WE will NOT pay for them,
OR, you can CHOOSE to get the FREE (Subsidized by us taxpayers) tube tying.


23 posted on 11/08/2011 4:13:39 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: guitarist
Shout it from the rooftops!

It’s up to us to decide!

24 posted on 11/08/2011 4:14:27 AM PST by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going)
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To: guitarist

I will not vote for Romney.

His election will do nothing to advance our interests.


25 posted on 11/08/2011 4:16:07 AM PST by Jim Noble (To live peacefully with credit-based consumption and fiat money, men would have to be angels.)
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To: coldtexan
Truth be told he DID solve some of the problems, be he didn't solve ALL of our problems.

At the risk of showing my age...I was a senior in highschool, too young to vote by a few months. But, Reagan was President during my flight into the 'real world.'

Funny, I did not and still do not view him as our solving problems. I view him and inspiring me, our country, to solve our own problems. He didn't just give us hope that 'someone' would rescue us, he inspired us to rescue ourselves.

26 posted on 11/08/2011 4:21:37 AM PST by EBH (God Humbles Nations, Leaders, and Peoples before He uses them for His Purpose)
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To: guitarist

November 6, 2012 will be the Picket’s Charge of the GOP if Romney is the candidate.


27 posted on 11/08/2011 4:30:25 AM PST by Rebelbase (Yes we Cain!)
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To: EBH
You are sooo right. I was 18 at the time and Mr. Reagan was my first vote.

His speeches made me want to stand up and CHEER! He was INSRIRING and made me proud of my Country. When I read anything he had written, It caused me to think.

Ronald Reagan was a GEM and a truly GREAT man.

Your point is well made and I should have said as mush when I posted. Thank You

28 posted on 11/08/2011 5:07:23 AM PST by coldtexan (30 below keeps the RIF RAF out)
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To: coldtexan

We are ‘his generation.’ Right now we have the children of the 1960’s-70’s running things. The generation of the 80’s had two roads. One group was the children of the ‘me generation’ the other was the generation of Reagan.


29 posted on 11/08/2011 5:22:47 AM PST by EBH (God Humbles Nations, Leaders, and Peoples before He uses them for His Purpose)
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To: McBuff
Well stated! The "concern trolls" are everywhere, and are nothing more than the hidden corrosion which lurks beneath the otherwise beautiful conservative "paint job" of any of our fine conservative candidates running.

I like Cain. I like Perry. I like Santorum. I like Bachmann. Romney or Gingrich only if we must, and if we find we must, it is only becuase our other guys didn't have the staying power for the whole race. We will face that fact only IF we must!

That said: every one of them a damn site better than the Carter II that we have there now.

Onward to victory in 2012!

FReegards!


30 posted on 11/08/2011 5:35:46 AM PST by Agamemnon (Darwinism is the glue that holds liberalism together)
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To: Jim Noble

Based on who his advisers and co-workers are now, it would be expected that his supreme court appointments might be as good as W’s (Roberts and Alito), and almost certainly would be nowhere near as bad as Obama’s. To someone who understand how the country works, that’s enough reason to crawl over broken glass to vote for any of the current Rep’s over O.


31 posted on 11/08/2011 6:45:09 AM PST by guitarist
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To: guitarist

Screw the RNC! I want a CONSERVATIVE not a REPUBLICAN!!!

I am sick and tired of being told by the Republican party that we conservatives had better support whatever liberal piece of trash RINO they throw at us or else. Well, or else what, dipshits??? We’ll get the RINO liberal or the DNC liberal?? What the Hell is the difference???

Romney?? Liberal, Obama like Romney??? Romney gave Taxachusettes Hillary Care, and gave power to the rise of Obamacare. All the same crap! Is that crap what the RNC thinks we are supposed to support?

This is not an 8th grade girl’s club whose only job is to “win”. This is our country the RNC keep playing around with. This isn’t party-over-country. The RNC had better step up and stop playing around.

I’ll ONLY give my vote to a candidate I can support. If neither candidate is anything but a liberal, I’ll write in a name.


32 posted on 11/08/2011 6:54:57 AM PST by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: guitarist

If I wanted to take Bubba and FDR as role models, Bill, I’d be a Democrat.


33 posted on 11/08/2011 6:54:59 AM PST by RichInOC (Sarah Palin is at war with the left. Most Freepers are just playing the video game.)
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To: guitarist

And again, Kristol doesn’t get it. Ronald Reagan wasn’t perfect, either. No candidate is. Yes, 1980 ::was:: amazing. Morning in America.

If you’re trying to convince conservatives that Mittens should get our vote if he is the nominee, you’re you-know-whatting in the wind. It’s not happening.


34 posted on 11/08/2011 6:58:30 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: guitarist
Based on who his advisers and co-workers are now

Therein lies the problem. Now. The person he's running as now is not the same Romney before he decided to run as a conservative candidate. What'll he change into next? He's not trustworthy.

35 posted on 11/08/2011 7:11:06 AM PST by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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