While some conservatives see this season of soul searching and (some would say) self flagellation as a cathartic step toward moving past the GOP’s “civil war,” others advocate a competing theory. It goes like this: It’ll all work out. Things were really bad for the GOP in the 60s and 70s, too — but that led to Reagan’s election…
A little cheery optimism can be healthy — but there’s also a danger in assuming a savior will simply emerge to make everything better. And that’s what my latest column for The Week is about.
Of course, Republicans wouldn’t be the first group of people to yearn for the good old days. This is a normal human impulse. And this excerpt from my column may help put that in perspective:
“In what became a famous rant, then-Boston Celtics Coach Rick Pitino challenged fans to look to the future. “Larry Bird is not walking through that door, fans,” he said. “Kevin McHale is not walking through that door, and Robert Parish is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they’re going to be gray and old. … And as soon as they realize that those three guys are not coming through the door, the better this town will be for all of us…”
“Similarly, it might be good for conservatives to realize this: Barry Goldwater is not walking through that door. Ronald Reagan is not walking through that door…”
This strikes me as good advice. You can revere your greats, but you’ve got to look to the future. But whether it’s Bird or Reagan, they aren’t walking through that door any time soon.