This speech by Ronald Reagan at the first CPAC is a must (re-)read for all Americans who care about the future of this great country of ours. Think about how dismal things were for America at this time. The specter of Watergate, a war-weary nation still grieving, and the Cold War were dragging down the national psyche. Reagan thought it was critical for conservatives to learn from the mistakes of politicians in both parties, while holding an eternally optimistic notion of the promise of our Republic. This is one of my favorite quotes from his January 1974 address
"The lesson of Vietnam, I think, should be that never again will young Americans be asked to fight and possibly die for a cause unless that cause is so meaningful that we, as a nation, pledge our full resources to achieve victory as quickly as possible."
That would have been a good lesson for Republicans to remember.