Identifying myself as a Republican was more of a gradual awakening than a lightning bolt. The values of limited government, personal responsibility, and a strong national defense were ideas that fit my thinking and instincts. . . . I gravitated more toward Reagan and Bush, not Dukakis and Clinton.But I still didn’t really understand why I was a Republican. That changed with what else — a book. Soon after I moved to Washington, a friend gave me a copy of What I Saw at the Revolution, by one of Reagan’s best speechwriters, Peggy Noonan. I loved her clear thinking and storytelling, the way she framed an argument, and how she used self-deprecating humor to describe working in the Old Executive Office Building with the worst furniture consigned to her office. From that office she helped craft Reagan’s speeches that inspired America and fully embraced our national exceptionalism.As I read, I started to realize what it meant to be a conservative. To me, conservatism was harder — there are no easy answers, reality and logic weigh heavy, and there is a definite core set of principles. Peggy helped me understand that it was okay to be a Republican and be a woman — the two weren’t mutually exclusive. That sounds strange to say now, but think of all the messages sent to young American women, from every angle — Republicans are depicted as evil, mean, and the enemy. Almost every book, magazine, movie, and TV show depicts conservatives negatively — it’s rare to read something positive about a Republican woman, and when you do, then it’s couched as how they’re the rare exception to the rule.
April 8, 2015 at 1:53 PM EDT