H/T: Jonah Goldberg, NRO
I'm a fan of Ronald Reagan, there's no doubt about it. But I must admit to deviating from Conservative orthodoxy when it comes to my admiration. You see, while I am a fan of his time as President, I find that the true genius of Ronald Reagan was evident in the 50's and 60's when he was sort of a roaming spokesman at large for Conservative ideas that had gone out of fashion.
This audio tape is evidence of that genius. No one wrote this stuff for Reagan...he did it himself. He was deeply steeped in the ideas and ideology of Conservatism, and he knew of what he spoke. Listen to the edge in his voice....listen to the rhetoric....this is a man at the top of his rhetorical game, a man who even then was showing the kind of mettle that would eventually rally the Conservative cause.
And yes, I'm sorry to all the Sarah Palin supporters out there--it is exactly on this point that I find Governor Palin to be lacking. Yes she's a fresh political face. Yes she can wow a crowd. Yes she has refined political instincts. But at the level of mastery, at the level of confidence, at the level of knowing upon what here ideas are based...I find her lacking. Ronald Reagan led a movement that he essentially created, and he did it with words he conjured from ideas he truly understood. I'd be thrilled if Sarah Palin could emerge to lead Conservatives into ascendancy. I just don't think there's enough there there. Yet.