Republicans & ideological purity

William Kristol calls for an end to the “more-conservative-than-thou” discord in the Republican ranks and explains the difference between Ronald Reagan, who came to office as the leader of an ideological movement, and the normal state of politics, in which ideological movements use the candidates they have. Read Waiting for Reagan. Does he have a point?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • fw

    Reagan was reagan because it was about us and not about him.

    Bush and the clintons each in their own way are about bush and the clintons.

    McCain and Obama look alot more like Reagan.

    The are about ideas and principles, calling us to be our best us and to consider sacrifice.

    They are not about the past 16 years of power and ends sought desperately at all costs, by way of means seeking to be justified by those dubious ends. Painlessly though with no call to sacrifice. Only pork barrell to keep us quiet.

  • fw

    Reagan was reagan because it was about us and not about him.

    Bush and the clintons each in their own way are about bush and the clintons.

    McCain and Obama look alot more like Reagan.

    The are about ideas and principles, calling us to be our best us and to consider sacrifice.

    They are not about the past 16 years of power and ends sought desperately at all costs, by way of means seeking to be justified by those dubious ends. Painlessly though with no call to sacrifice. Only pork barrell to keep us quiet.

  • David Thompson

    Kristol makes a very important point in his article Waiting for Reagan, viz., that Reagan put forth first an ideology; being a politician was secondary. The implication seems to be that those running for office normally attach an ideology to their politics rather than attaching politics to their ideology. Ideology becomes a means to an end for them rather the foundation of one’s political views. Perhaps this is why we are not quite comfortable with most, if not all, of the candidates. Ron Paul and Thompson may be the exceptions. Too bad Thompson did not have a better start.

  • David Thompson

    Kristol makes a very important point in his article Waiting for Reagan, viz., that Reagan put forth first an ideology; being a politician was secondary. The implication seems to be that those running for office normally attach an ideology to their politics rather than attaching politics to their ideology. Ideology becomes a means to an end for them rather the foundation of one’s political views. Perhaps this is why we are not quite comfortable with most, if not all, of the candidates. Ron Paul and Thompson may be the exceptions. Too bad Thompson did not have a better start.

  • Joe

    David – you are spot on in my opinion. Remember that Reagan was giving speeches in the 1960s that played a major role in creating and defining the very movement that took him into the Presidency. He ended up being president not because he saw and opportunity to latch on to the movement but because he was the organic leader of the movement.

  • Joe

    David – you are spot on in my opinion. Remember that Reagan was giving speeches in the 1960s that played a major role in creating and defining the very movement that took him into the Presidency. He ended up being president not because he saw and opportunity to latch on to the movement but because he was the organic leader of the movement.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I think William Kristol wants others to be tolerant of the supposedly less ideologically driven candidates because such candidates better match his own neoconservative ideology.

  • http://www.oldsolar.com/currentblog.php Rick Ritchie

    I think William Kristol wants others to be tolerant of the supposedly less ideologically driven candidates because such candidates better match his own neoconservative ideology.

  • David Thompson

    Rick, I agree. This might have been the season for another try by Buchanan.

  • David Thompson

    Rick, I agree. This might have been the season for another try by Buchanan.

  • organshoes

    Granted power corrupts, but the desire — the lust — for power corrupts just as easily, and just as thoroughly.
    I think that’s what’s happened to the conservative movement. Many of its advocates have become too greedy for power and influence and widespread legitimacy, and have taken to watering down conservative principles to achieve that.
    Of course, watered down conservatism is pretty much an oxymoron. It’s one thing to compromise with moderates and liberals in the course of governing from a position of power, when you are a PRESIDENT Reagan. But it’s another entirely, to compromise from the sidelines, or from the background. That’s just weakness.

  • organshoes

    Granted power corrupts, but the desire — the lust — for power corrupts just as easily, and just as thoroughly.
    I think that’s what’s happened to the conservative movement. Many of its advocates have become too greedy for power and influence and widespread legitimacy, and have taken to watering down conservative principles to achieve that.
    Of course, watered down conservatism is pretty much an oxymoron. It’s one thing to compromise with moderates and liberals in the course of governing from a position of power, when you are a PRESIDENT Reagan. But it’s another entirely, to compromise from the sidelines, or from the background. That’s just weakness.

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