What is a Reagan conservative?

The conventional wisdom is that the Reagan coalition was an alliance of economic conservatives, national defense conservatives, and social conservatives. Some say that in this election the Reagan coalition is coming apart.

Joe Carter, though, who just finished a stint with the Huckabee campaign, challenges that tripartite classification of conservatives. He says that it might apply to the insular world of Washington think tanks and pundits. But he argues that in the heartland of America one finds few of those distinctions. A conservative there embraces all three of those positions. Reagan’s genius was in mobilizing ordinary Americans and turning their home-grown conservatism into a national movement. Reagan was in many ways a POPULIST, which is not some advocate of a liberal agenda but someone who is an advocate for the ordinary American. Mr. Carter maintains that Huckabee’s populism is very much in the tradition of Ronald Reagan.

Read what Mr. Carter (former editor of the World blog, by the way) has to say by clicking the evangelical outpost: The One-Legged Stool:
this
. I don’t know whether you are ordinary or extraordinary, but let me know what you think.

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.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    Interesting that he has the same problem with defining social conservatives as I’ve had. His other important point, though what good it will do I don’t know, is that people have forgotten or don’t understand what it means to be a Reagan conservative. And the Bush presidencies have muddied those waters even further, as people had tended at first to think of Bush, sloppily, as a neo-Reaganite, whatever that means.

    Remember also the Reagan Democrats! His home-town, common sense approach appealed across party lines. I don’t think that will happen in this next election. I am not yet convinced that Huckabee can translate into a populist. Although with a name like that, you’d have to be from small-town America to vote for him, eh? “Yeah. Knew a few Huckabee’s. They lived out North Freedom way; some of ‘em farmed, one fella ran a feed store. What’s he doin’ in politics?”

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    Interesting that he has the same problem with defining social conservatives as I’ve had. His other important point, though what good it will do I don’t know, is that people have forgotten or don’t understand what it means to be a Reagan conservative. And the Bush presidencies have muddied those waters even further, as people had tended at first to think of Bush, sloppily, as a neo-Reaganite, whatever that means.

    Remember also the Reagan Democrats! His home-town, common sense approach appealed across party lines. I don’t think that will happen in this next election. I am not yet convinced that Huckabee can translate into a populist. Although with a name like that, you’d have to be from small-town America to vote for him, eh? “Yeah. Knew a few Huckabee’s. They lived out North Freedom way; some of ‘em farmed, one fella ran a feed store. What’s he doin’ in politics?”

  • kerner

    It’s also interesting that, in Reagan’s day, being able to attract “Reagan democrats” was considered a virtue. Now, when McCain is attractive to “independents”, people say that it’s because he’s not conservative enough.

  • kerner

    It’s also interesting that, in Reagan’s day, being able to attract “Reagan democrats” was considered a virtue. Now, when McCain is attractive to “independents”, people say that it’s because he’s not conservative enough.

  • fw

    A Reagan Conservative would obviously NOT be Ron Paul…..wow.

    http://tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e2f15397-a3c7-4720-ac15-4532a7da84ca

  • fw

    A Reagan Conservative would obviously NOT be Ron Paul…..wow.

    http://tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=e2f15397-a3c7-4720-ac15-4532a7da84ca


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