On that note, I’d point out that Ronald Reagan ran to the right of President Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination in 1976; and we in the mainstream all called Reagan an extremist. Reagan lost and we said, Good riddance. Then four years later it was morning in America. Reagan was the greatest American leader of my lifetime, not that I ever agreed with him. But he had real ideas and he got big majorities to sign up for them.
If Obama loses this year, he isn’t going away. Obama is so smart that some compare him to that other Illinois politicians, Adlai Stevenson, who my parents adored because he was an intellectual, and who lost twice to Eisenhower in the ’50s. But Obama’s political gifts are greater. He’s like Reagan, not Stevenson, and like Reagan he’s leading a movement, whose core this time is progressive worldly leftwingers, mixed up with liberals, conservatives, the whole duststream of Obama’s comet. We’re not going away.