Ron Radosh: Thoughts on Conservatism at Restoration Weekend

Roundup: Historians' Take

Coming back from Restoration Weekend in W. Palm Beach, Florida- the annual gathering of the David Horowitz Freedom Center- I heard the leading conservative analysts, and many political leaders as well, present their views of what led to the disastrous defeat of Mitt Romney one short week ago. Politicians were represented by Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, among others, and the roster of prominent speakers included Charles Krauthammer, Bret Stephens, Steve Moore, Pat Cadell, Monica Crowley, Michael Reagan, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter and scores more. Everyone addressed the issues of what happened, and what can we do in the future. Eventually, all the videos of the events will appear on, and readers will be able to see and hear what was said. When they appear, make sure to watch Charles Krauthammer’s analysis- to me the highlight of the weekend, and Bret Stephens very important presentation on foreign policy and the Middle East. Both were brilliant and essential.

The event did lead me to think anew of the reasons for our defeat, and to consider the question once more of what reforms, if any, conservatism and The Republican Party in particular have to make. The speeches reminded me of the old Jewish aphorism- that when you hear two Jews arguing, you are listening to 20 different opinions. Michael Reagan began by talking about the need to build an inclusive movement and party, that does not leave out scores of Americans whom many conservatives seem to believe are beyond hope. His father, he reminded us began as a liberal Democrat and knew how to speak to those whose ranks he had left.  The next morning, Rick Santorum argued for putting the social issues many call divisive front and center, and denied that he and other candidates hurt Romney’s chances by seeking to destroy him during the primaries. And so it went, the entire weekend long.

So now, here are some of my own thoughts I came out of the weekend with....

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