The Last Conservative?

Commentary by Pete du Pont

Host intro: Where have all the conservatives gone? Commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis says he only knows of one.

After the '94 elections, a new conservative class was supposed to emerge: young, articulate, dynamic. The showcase was supposed to be the response to the president's state of the union message.

But Christie Whitman's appearance was unremarkable. Bob Dole's was a disaster.

This year, J.C. Watts of Oklahoma hit a home run. He told America he didn't get his values from Washington, but from growing up in a poor black neighborhood where money was scarce but dreams were plentiful.

He talked about small-government. He stressed family values, hard work, character. He asked if more legislation is the answer, why has the racial divide grown -- the kind of talk that makes the quota crowd climb the walls.

Great speech. So here's my question: why is he one of the few conservatives talking like this? Why have so many in the house and senate lost the fire for reform. How could Newt Gingrich say -- with a straight face -- that president Clinton is more with us than against us? Why have conservative visionaries gone mute? This is the time to sell the message, not shelve it.

Those are my ideas. And at the NCPA, we know ideas, and a few more guys like J.C. Watts, can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Host outro: Coming up tomorrow, Pete du Pont reviews a new book about a favorite topic: money.