However heady the 1980s may have looked to everyone else, they were for conservatives a testing and disillusioning time. Conservatives owned the executive branch for eight years and had great influence over it for four more; they dominated the Senate for six years; and by the end of the decade they exercised near complete control over the federal judiciary. And yet, every time they reached to undo the work of Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon — the work they had damned for nearly half a century — they felt the public’s wary eyes upon them. They didn’t dare, and they realized that they didn’t dare. Their moment came and flickered. And as the power of the conservative movement slowly ebbed after 1986, and then roared away in 1992, the conservatives who had lived through that attack of faintheartedness shamefacedly felt that they had better hurry up and find something else to talk about …The Conservative Movement is really upset, it turns out, because the policies they long for are more or less completely out of tune with what most Americans want. Or, as Douthat prefers to rather crazily phrase it , "American political reality really does seem to have a liberal bias." (Isn't reality, by definition, unbiased??) In other words, if most people don't agree with me, they must be biased.
I recommend reading some of the comments, where NYT readers chop Douthat into little pieces. Here are a few of my favorites for amusement:
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