I think I have it on pretty good authority that the comparisons between Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan are legitimate. Not because have any special insight, but because Ronald Reagan’s own conservative son wrote the following about Sarah Palin in an essay entitled “Welcome Back, Dad”:
I’ve been trying to convince my fellow conservatives that they have been wasting their time in a fruitless quest for a new Ronald Reagan to emerge and lead our party and our nation. I insisted that we’d never see his like again because he was one of a kind.
I was wrong!
Wednesday night I watched the Republican National Convention on television and there, before my very eyes, I saw my Dad reborn; only this time he’s a she.
And what a she!
In one blockbuster of a speech, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resurrected my Dad’s indomitable spirit and sent it soaring above the convention center, shooting shock waves through the cynical media’s assigned spaces and electrifying the huge audience with the kind of inspiring rhetoric we haven’t heard since my Dad left the scene.
This was Ronald Reagan at his best — the same Ronald Reagan who made the address known now solely as “The Speech,” which during the Goldwater campaign set the tone and the agenda for the rebirth of the traditional conservative movement that later sent him to the White House for eight years and revived the moribund GOP.
Last night was an extraordinary event. Widely seen beforehand as a make-or-break effort — either an opportunity for Sarah Palin to show that she was the happy warrior that John McCain assured us she was, or a disaster that would dash McCain’s presidential hopes and send her back to Alaska, sadder but wiser.
Obviously un-intimidated by either the savage onslaught to which the left-leaning media had subjected her, or the incredible challenge she faced — and oozing with confidence — she strode defiantly to the podium and proved she was everything and even more than John McCain told us.
Much has been made of the fact that she is a woman. What we saw last night, however, was something much more than a just a woman accomplishing something no Republican woman has ever achieved. What we saw was a red-blooded American with that rare, God-given ability to rally her dispirited fellow Republicans and take up the daunting task of leading them — and all her fellow Americans — on a pilgrimage to that shining city on the hill my father envisioned as our nation’s real destination.
… Welcome back, Dad, even if you’re wearing a dress and bearing children this time around.
Personally, I don’t like comparing people. There will never be another Roanld Reagan, just like there will never be another Sarah Palin. But Michael Reagan understands what was important about his dad. Conservatives don’t wax poetic over Reagan because of his budgets. The American people didn’t love Reagan because of his backroom deals with Rosty and Tip. And history doesn’t remember Reagan because he served eight years as governor.
History remembers special moments. People are inspired by special moments. Special moments made Reagan great. “The speech” made him great. A “shining city on a hill” made him great. “Tear down that wall” made him great. In an era of malaise, Reagan’s ability to connect with people, inspire them, and make them feel good about their country made him a transformative figure. He changed the course of history because he changed the way people looked at their country.
No, Sarah Palin is not another Ronald Reagan, but she does share some rare gifts with Reagan. Reagan’s own son sees it. If you have an issue with that, tell Ronald Reagan’s own son that you know more about Ronald Reagan than he does, if you dare be so arrogant.
If a conservative leader preaches conservatism and no one listens, was conservatism actually preached?