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The Best in Conservative Writing

March 11, 2021

You probably noticed that Mike Pence published a message at something called “Daily Signal” but wondered, as did I, what’s that?

The Daily Signal is a new online magazine originating from the Heritage Foundation, which had it heyday with publication of “Mandate for Leadership,” a brilliant call for conservative nominees in the Reagan administration.

As described at Wikipedia, “Both the Reagan–Bush and Carter–Mondale campaigns were approached by Heritage to discuss the project. However, they only received a reply from the Reagan–Bush campaign, and in July 1980, Reagan aide Edwin Meese was a surprise guest at a dinner held by Heritage for the project’s team chairmen and co-chairmen. There, Meese gave the Heritage study his blessing, which was seen as a sign of the Reagan administration’s receptiveness of the project.”

In fact, the Reagan Transition was populated by the best and brightest of the “Conservative Movement,” but with the ascendance of James Baker, George H. W. Bush’s campaign manager, and Mrs. Reagan’s influence over her husband and installation of Pendleton James as head of Presidential Personnel, it was clear that conservatives would not dominate the Reagan Administration.

I was present at a meeting of Reagan Transition “Team Leaders” where Jim Baker told us not to expect political appointments in a Reagan Administration.

That was 40 years ago and the Heritage Foundation, like the Conservative Movement, became a business. So don’t look for a revival of forces that were gathered at the Heritage Foundation in 1980.

Donald Trump is no Ronald Reagan and his former Vice President, Mike Pence, is quite devoid of new ideas as are so many Republican members of Congress.

We’re in a building mode that may take twenty-five years to mature. But even now two bright lights are visible. They are Gerald Russello at the University Bookman, Allen Mendenhall at Faulkner University Law School. Russello a practicing attorney has a good eye for new insights and features them at the Kirk Center’s University Bookman.

Mendenhall is an attorney, but so broad in his interests that I look forward to his posts at his Facebook Page. Journals I never knew existed are featured by Mendenhall and reveal important aspects of American culture. He is also a Trustee of the Philadelphia Society that once was a place where the “Greats” of conservative scholarship gathered. But that was in 1965-75. That too was more than 45 years ago.

These conservative scholars whose books we all read were supplanted by Talk Radio, tracts published by a diminished Regnery Publishers, a diminished National Review and journals like Daily Signal. My next book is an attempt to bring them back to life.

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