And You Say Conservatism Is Dying?

by Mona Charen

Strangely, chatter about the “death of conservatism” is circulating this fall. I say “strangely” because we are in the midst of the greatest left/liberal moment in living memory. Liberal policies are careening out of Washington and mowing down innocent bystanders. This is the greatest opportunity since the Carter administration to illustrate to voters why conservatism is to be preferred. So it’s downright weird that at this moment, we are being asked to ponder how far we have fallen from the glory days of William F. Buckley and Milton Friedman. “How awful for you,” say those who never sympathized with conservatism, “that you have been reduced to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.”

This is rubbish. Conservatives have always had populists as well as intellectuals. In the 1970s there was Buckley, yes, but also Howard Jarvis and Richard Viguerie. We had fewer radio voices because the Fairness Doctrine limited free speech. Now we have a chorus where once we had only a few soloists. Besides, why don’t those crying crocodile tears for conservatism’s supposed decline fret that liberalism is represented by the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow? I’ll see your Rush Limbaugh and raise you an Al Franken and a Michael Moore.

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