Moreover, it’s not very, well, conservative to wallow in victimhood. Conservatives are supposed to believe in personal responsibility, understand the world as it is and disdain a sense of entitlement. (Who told them they get a vote on every harebrained idea like defunding our anti-terrorist capabilities?)
Nor is victimhood a selling point with voters. Right-wingers may think ideological purity is what counts at the polls, but in fact voters, including conservatives, respond to positive, confident leaders who overcome adversity and don’t bemoan their own plight. They want politicians to console and assist actual victims, not claim the mantle of victimhood for themselves. (Maybe that is why New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continually leads in, albeit premature, 2016 presidential polling while Texas Sen. Cruz is barely ahead of Rick Santorum.)
In this regard, as in so many other instances (e.g. internationalism, immigration policy), the conservatives who consider themselves true interpreters of Ronald Reagan are the furthest from his ethos. Reagan laughed at liberals (“The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they’re ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”). He teased the press (cupping his hand as he made his way from the helicopter acting as if Sam Donaldson’s voice couldn’t be heard). He welcomed support from less conservative Republicans (my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy). To whine about any of them would have been considered unmanly and beneath the dignity of his office.