(Jan. 20) I need to ponder a while. Maybe we all do.

Sorry to make this so personal, but 45 years ago, when I wasn’t even quite 12 years old, I mailed in a $1 contribution to Ronald Reagan’s presidential nomination campaign. In one way or another, I’ve never left the political-ideational battlefield since then, always in the conservative vineyards. One might think, therefore, that I would be full of advice today on where conservatism, the Republican Party, and the country should go from here.

One would think incorrectly.

I am faced with competing desires. I want to wish the best (for the sake of the country) to President Biden and to place hope in the palpable decency of the better angels of his nature. But I want to jump in with guns blazing against his immediate culture-war executive orders, against his radical vice president, and against the dichotomy between his soothingly centrist words and his agenda of identity politics, nun-crushing regulations, and radically open borders.

I am faced with competing desires. I want to say it’s time, Reagan-like, to create a conservative coalition by adding blue-collar workers to suburbanites and others, rather than, Trump-like, to attract the former by driving a wedge between them and the latter. But I want to reclaim principles for the conservative movement — free trade, smaller government, care for international alliances — that Donald Trump spent years trashing, while he lied to his “base” that those were the policies responsible for their despair.

I am faced with competing tactical and strategic predilections. I want Republicans to win back majorities in the House and Senate in 2022 in order to block any far-left policies that Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi haven’t already forced through. But I want dozens of the current Republicans out of office for the radical and dishonest nature of the Trumpism that some of them demonstrated….

[The full column is at this link.]


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