Ronald Reagan: What Happened?

A noted author who has written six books on U.S. Presidents, including Nixon Agonistes and Reagan's America, and is Henry R. Luce Professor of American Culture and Public Policy at Northwestern University

Ronald Reagan did not build a structure; he cast a spell. There was no Reagan revolution, just a Reagan bedazzlement. The magic is going off almost as mysteriously as the spell was woven in the first place. There is no edifice of policies solid enough to tumble, piece by piece, its props being knocked out singly or in groups. The whole thing is not falling down; it was never weighty enough for that. It is simply evanescing.

To measure the disenchantment we must remember the power of the trance being dissipated. The Republican Convention of 1984, the love-in at Dallas, was...