[Excerpt] From the perspective of the early twenty‑first century, we can chide the good professor for not carefully considering the consequences of what he wished for half a century ago. For it is clear that the force of this conservative movement in America was in fact “stronger than most of us [knew]” or could have imagined in 1950, or, indeed, in 1968. This conservative “impulse”, those “irritable mental gestures”, has largely restructured American political thinking with a force and popular approval that remains stunning to consider. The growth of the conservative movement since 1945 was also accompanied by the slow fragmentation of liberalism and, taken together, these developments raise a fundamental question: Does the New Deal, its policies and its legacy between 1933 and 1972, constitute the long exception in American political life, as opposed to the new norm? In short, was Richard Nixon the last liberal?