I've read Reagan's memoirs. One of the things that he had - as do I - was a strong distaste for nuclear weapons. These things are the ultimate in blunt instruments - and even the smallest suitcase nukes will create a lot of collateral damage. But this is not about discussing this. It is to point out that even Reagan had his heresies. Two big quotes from Barnes are in order.
The first one:
This is a reminder that is all too often needed for conservatives. What might fly in a think tank doesn't fly when one has to fight on a political battlefield. No plan survives first contact. None ever have, and it's a very safe bet that none ever will.
"The president works at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, not 214 Massachusetts Avenue N.E.," a Bush administration official says. The Massachusetts Avenue location is the site of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank.
The second point, a two-parter:
One, conservative presidents--indeed, conservative elected officials at all levels of government--will always wander from conservative tenets. The test is whether there's a flip side, a strengthening in the fight for conservative aims. And second, even the most sainted conservatives--Reagan, for instance--harbor nonconservative thoughts. If this is an insurmountable problem for conservatives, my advice is, get over it.The first part is not quite accurate. There is no monopoly of truth held by conservatives. I happen to agree with them more often than the left, but they are not the end-all and be-all of truth. But the second part is dead on target - and his advice is something that some people need to take in mind.
Certain people on the right - and I will name, Polipundit and Michelle Malkin in particular - have gone close to a conservative variation of Bush Derangement Syndrome - this derangement is particularly visible over immigration. But for what? Since 2000, Bush has been quite clear about where he stood on immigration. There has been no lies about where he has stood (contrary to one rant by Polipundit, which sounds more like an argument from DailyKos than reasonable debate). To a lesser extent, while Ed Morrissey seems to have some difficulty getting over it, as Barnes suggests, he does raise a valid point.
The current Democrats are not worthy candidates. Some want a censure resolution or impeachement proceedings over programs like the NSA's effort to listen in on terrorist communications. I can also easily imagine the Democrats cutting off funds for this as well. We can expect that they will also pull the rug out from under the democracy in Iraq in the process - tantamount to the same actions toward South Vietnam in the wake of Watergate. We can expect them to return to the failed process of treating al-Qaeda as a law-enforcement problem and giving state sponsors of terrorism like Iran a pass (and selling Israel down the river as well).
In this case, the Republicans need to stay in power - and they have to do so even to the point of what some might label "pandering" or with the pork barrel. It is because the Democrats have proven, both during the Clinton administration and by their conduct to date, that they are dangerously incompetent in the area of national security. And if conservatives can't get over disagreements on immigation or spending, then they are placing the country at risk on issues that can only be described as small potatoes when compared to national survival.
I'm probably going to have to swallow a very big disagreement with George Allen on immigration in order to keep out a Democrat who is likely to be very soft in the war on terror. It is very doubtful that I will support him for President in the primaries, largely due to Mitt Romney's emergence as a solutions-oriented governor. But Senator Allen is better than Senator Webb (Webb in particular, since he was opposed to taking out the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Iraq) or Senator Miller.
Will conservatives see that a Republican is better than the current crop of Democrats?