The Establishment’s attacks on Sharron Angle have a familiar ring.
They didn’t like him.
To be more precise, they thought him an extremist, un-electable, an ultra-right wing nut, dumb, ignorant and, more to the point, not one of their crowd.
One out of six was absolutely correct.
Ronald Reagan was not one of their crowd. Ever.
The “crowd”” was The Establishment. The Establishment as it appeared in all of its various incarnations during Ronald Reagan’s political life. First it was the California Republican Party Establishment. Then the Liberal Establishment. Followed by the national Republican Party Establishment. Next up was The Eastern Establishment. Last but not least was the Washington Establishment.
And in each and every case save one (1976), Reagan — and more to the point today — the people who came to be known as “conservatives” or “Reaganites” beat those Establishments like a drum.
In the wake of the Nevada Senate primary victory of Republican Sharron Angle (and the emergence of South Carolina’s Nikki Haley and the continuing popularity of Alaska’s Sarah Palin — not to mention other conservatives around the country), yet again The Establishment resurrects exactly the same now very old and tired alarms once raised about Ronald Reagan himself.
Who are these people?
Believe it or not, Webster’s Dictionary actually provides a definition for “the Establishment” (although they don’t capitalize that initial “T”). Definition: “The people and institutions constituting the existing power structure in society…the dominant or controlling group in a field of endeavor or organization.”
It’s hard now, impossible even, for many to understand the scorn and derision Reagan first faced when he emerged on the national political scene. Let’s go back and take a look at what was once said of the man now revered by the American people as the greatest president in American history, according to a Gallup Poll taken a month after Barack Obama took office.
On January 22, 1965, which is to say two days after Lyndon Johnson was inaugurated and the liberal Great Society was launched in earnest — three months after LBJ’s landslide defeat of Barry Goldwater — the New York Times was already on Reagan’s case.
In just one story alone, in which Reagan was said to be weighing a race for Governor of California the following year, the liberal line that would follow Reagan for the rest of his active political life was already in evidence.
• “Conservatives” the piece said, were looking to Reagan as a way out of the “wreckage” of the 1964 election. Times Translation: Here goes the right wing again. Who created the Republican wreckage in the first place? Conservatives, that’s who. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, that’s who. Why in the world would the GOP ever turn to a Goldwater supporter like Reagan for anything?
• “Republican organization leaders in California,” said the paper, were skeptical that Reagan, an actor, was “going anywhere.” Times Translation: The guy is an actor, has no substance and he’s an extremist to boot. Get serious.
• Why was Reagan a joke? First, said the Times, there was that televised Goldwater speech in October, 1964. Times Translation: We have Reagan on film saying wacko things — on television for God’s sake — that are (in the paper’s words) “a brisk denunciation of the welfare state and Communist appeasement.” The Times used this quote from his Goldwater speech, in which Reagan urged standing up to Soviet Communists, to illustrate just how nutty an out-of-the-mainstream extremist Reagan was:
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?