In the time of Twitter breaking news, Tinder, microwaves, On Demand, etc., patience is as dead as detectives wearing Fedoras and calling people “Mac.” But it’s key in politics, and conservatives have forgotten that.
Ronald Reagan – the real man, not the myth created with his name – understood the importance of patience. He almost won the GOP nomination in 1976 but lost to President Gerald Ford.
Although Ford was no conservative, Reagan didn’t turn on him. He supported him. When Ford lost, that opened the door to Reagan’s victory four years later. Had Reagan refused to support Ford, or actively criticized Ford and hurt him in the 1976 election, there’s a chance 1980 would’ve turned out differently.
Even as president, Reagan understood the importance of patience. His victories in dealing with Congress and the Soviet Union (not much of a difference there, in many respects) didn’t come immediately. Incrementalism was a key weapon – you take what you can get and keep fighting for the rest. What Reagan didn’t do was throw up his hands when he didn’t get all he wanted, leaving small victories on the table because total victory wasn’t, at that moment, obtainable.