If Rick Perry wants to win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, he is going to have to convince Republican primary voters that he is as talented a politician as Ronald Reagan. In 1980, Republicans were angry about the state of the country. President Carter was seen as embarrassing and incompetent. The economy was in the tank and many analysts thought Mr. Carter would be a pushover when he ran for re-election.
There are those who grasp genuine grassroots power. Though he has only been in office since January, Rep. Tim Scott - a self-described "strong conservative" - already is a canny, amiable presence on the 2012 campaign trail.
Thursday night's GOP debate in Ames, featuring eight presidential candidates, may be the oddest in memory.
I had the honor of speaking last weekend at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, at which most of the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination were the star attractions. The conference, led by Ralph Reed, brought together the nation's leading "social conservatives."
You might have seen the vicious Mediscare video by now entitled "America the Beautiful." If you haven't, you should. It's from folks who just the other day were chanting the mantra of "civility." It's a taste of what the left will be serving up as 2012 approaches.
In light of the results of the special election in upstate New York, where Democrats scored an upset victory by accusing Republicans of wanting to "end Medicare," the GOP is being urged to abandon the effort spearheaded by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to reform this most giant entitlement program. Lyndon B. Johnson once ran an ad accusing Barry Goldwater of wanting to blow up the world. In this election, Democrats followed up with an equally subtle pitch showing grandma being pushed over a cliff. What liberals won't do in pursuit of the Great Society.
Another member of the founding generation of the modern conservative movement left us this past week. William A. Rusher was a tireless advocate for conservative causes spanning half a century and had careers as a successful attorney, associate counsel for the Senate internal security subcommittee and a syndicated columnist.
It is a poignant and historic moment: Conservatives have paused to mourn the death of William A. Rusher, the editor of the National Review for 31 years and an intellectual and ideological stalwart who helped shape the movement for more than five decades. He died Saturday at 87.