"What are you doing?" I recall asking him.
"It's the Movement," he exclaimed, joyously. "The Movement!"
That was my first encounter with the word as a battle cry for conservative conservative Republicans. And although Ronald Reagan was narrowly defeated by a sitting Republican president, Gerald Ford, he would be triumphantly back in 1980 as the godly icon of the Movement Class - a phenomenon that has again revealed itself from the ashes of last Tuesday's GOP disaster. Op-Ed pages, talk show gurus and eager Movement politicians are now ganging up for their born-again opportunities to lead the party to righteous victory in 2012. They'll all be at the Republican Governors Association in Miami beginning tomorrow to seek out the nearest TV camera to offer a Good Housekeeping remedy for the party's ills.
I doubt that they will come up with a workable solution as each wiggles to find a special place of prominence on Olympus when the great mentioning game begins to identify a format for what is now generally regarded as a regional party. And a racially and ethnically barren party. Not a single African American in the Republican House and Senate delegations. Only one Republican Jew in the U.S House, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, who is somewhere to the right of Rush Limbaugh and wants to be the minority leader. At the same time, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, has instructed the bishops to confront Barack Obama on abortion, a conservative light switch.
The star attraction will be Gov. Sarah Palin, who hasn't convinced the Movement Class that controls the party that she is a political liability. She'll be at the convention as a speaker and as a source of a number of national interviews. But she isn't quite ready to announce her candidacy for president in 2012. In an interview with Fox News, she said she is awaiting word from God that He will open a door for her candidacy. That should settle the commotion of where the party will go from here. Conservatively speaking, it's a start.