Some of us knew Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. And some of us may have voted for them. But Ike, Barry and Ronald wouldn't have gone drinking with this current crowd. (They would have started too many fights.)
Karen Tumulty tells us How the Right Went Wrong:
. . . .The Iraq war has challenged the conservative movement's custodianship of America's place in the world, as well as its claim to competence. Reagan restored a sense of America's mission as the "city on a hill" that would be a light to the world and helped bring about the defeat of what he very undiplomatically christened "the evil empire." After 9/11 Bush found his own evil empire, in fact a whole axis of evil. But he hasn't produced Reagan's results: North Korea is nuclear, Iran swaggers across the world stage, Iraq is a morass. "Conservatives are divided on the Iraq war, but there is a growing feeling it was a mistake," says longtime conservative activist and fund-raiser Richard Viguerie. "It's not a Ronald Reagan?type of idea to ride on our white horse around the world trying to save it militarily. Ronald Reagan won the cold war by bankrupting the Soviet Union. No planes flew. No tanks rolled. No armies marched."There you have it: read no further. What holds the Republican party together, at its very core - which Chuck Schumer calls the economic royalists - is the culture of greed.
Then there are the scandals and the corruption. The dismay that voters expressed in last fall's midterm election was aimed not so much at conservatism as at the G.O.P's failure to honor it with a respect for law and order. And now that subpoena power gives the Democrats their first chance to shine a light into the crevices of an Administration and its very unconservative approach to Executive power, the final years of Bush's presidency are likely to be punctuated by one controversy after another. The past weeks alone have produced a parade of revelations: leftover questions about Vice President Dick Cheney's role in the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby case; the betrayal by neglect of the war wounded at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and veterans hospitals across the country; the connected dots showing that the White House and the Justice Department exploited the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act, of all things, to engineer a purge of U.S. attorneys across the country.
Conservatives are in many ways victims of their successes, and there have indeed been big ones. At 35%, the top tax rate is about half what it was when Reagan took office. . . .