“Even forty years after President Reagan’s first inauguration, we all remember him with a special respect and affection. He was exactly the man America needed at a crucial moment. We appreciate him only more from a distance of time. To this day, whenever I’m asked to describe my political outlook, there’s no term that fits more comfortably than “Reagan conservative.”
“The eight years of the Reagan presidency stand as evidence of all that those ideas can accomplish. Just think how different the world would look today, without this one man whose arrival in American politics still seems providential.
“It’s a measure of his impact that there are statues of the man, not just here in Simi Valley, but also in our Capitol Rotunda, in London, in Gdansk, Poland, and in Warsaw, in Budapest, in Berlin near where the wall used to be, and in many other places where Reagan will always be an honored name. Our fortieth president now belongs to another era. But the ideas he championed – they’re universal. They are as hopeful and compelling as ever.”
“Once again, we conservatives find ourselves at a crossroads. And here’s one reality we have to face. If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere. Voters looking for Republican leaders want to see independence and mettle…
“We win majorities by directing our loyalty and respect to voters, and by staying faithful to the conservative principles that unite us. This was true even when the person leading our movement was as impressive, polished, and agreeable as they come.”
“In 2020, the country wanted a nice guy who would move to the center and depolarize our politics. Instead, we got a nice guy pursuing an agenda more leftist than any president in my lifetime. These policies might have the full approval of his progressive supporters, but they break faith with the middle-of-the-road folks who made the difference for him on Election Day.
“For conservatives, this painful existence as the opposition can actually be an opportunity. Out of these years can come a healthy, growing, and united conservative movement, a movement that speaks again to the heart of a great nation.”
“At the start of 2020, the United States was seeing such incredibly powerful and inclusive economic growth. We saw increased revenue from a broader tax base, capital and jobs coming back to America, the best wage growth for low-income earners in more than a decade, and unemployment at a 50-year low, for every demographic.
“These historic reforms were a triumph of practical conservative policy, a model of the shared prosperity and upward mobility we have always talked about. It was the populism of President Trump in action, tethered to conservative principles….
“I’m proud of the longstanding promises Republicans made good on in those years. By any measure, it is a plus that we are now a party that more working people can identify with, a party that takes American sovereignty and the security of our border seriously. We’re the party that has no illusions about China and its influence in the world – and that, too, is a change for the better.”
“As the left gets more ‘woke,’ the rest of America is getting weary. It’s exhausting. And we conservatives have to be careful not to get caught up in every little cultural battle. Sometimes these skirmishes are just creations of outrage peddlers, detached from reality and not worth anybody’s time. They draw attention away from the far more important case we must make to the American people.
“Culture matters, yes, but our party must be defined by more than a tussle over the latest grievance or perceived slight. We must not let them take priority over solutions – grounded in principle – to improve people’s lives.”
“The debate here is between the dependency, conformity, and enforced poverty of socialism, versus the life-changing opportunities that only free enterprise gives. For conservatives, we’ve been down this road before, and once again we have the winning case.”
“As long as America stays confident in the ideals of our founding, our country will forever stand as the alternative to tyranny of every kind. And even after the setbacks of 2020, it will be up to the conservative movement, as it always is, to serve those ideals with conviction, heart, and respect for the American people.”