A.B. Stoddard's recent column in The Hill makes the convincing case that former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) will not run for president. It is better that he does not, as a third Bush, like a second Clinton, might be called "restorationist." It hopes to reawaken a flagging generation and a bygone era and weakens the body politic by defaulting to nostalgia.

Probably conservatives suffer this worse than Democrats — a sense of discomfort in present time with the desire that the world stay the same, that everything was just right the way it was. Listen to Rep. Steve King's (R-Iowa) comments on the floor of Congress yesterday, in which he used the word "exceptionalism" three times in less than 30 seconds. The tendency is to be corny, stale, crass, disapproving of outsiders, provincial, narrow and damn proud of it. It brings a real danger of detachment, and threatens to descend again to a new age of Coolidge and a hundred years of sleep. A dynamic, eloquent and able new arrival like former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb (D) can sweep this like a prairie fire.


Yesterday we heard this: "Anyone who believes in the values of this country should be called to action right now" - a virtually perfect declarative sentence from New York Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioUS attorney opposes release of inmates in DC Britain releases 4,000 inmates to curb spread of coronavirus  NYC landlord tells tenants in 18 buildings to skip April rent MORE. It marks his crossing the Rubicon — in this case, the Hudson River — to a greater purpose beyond New York City.

And as Fox News reports, next week de Blasio will bring about two dozen U.S. mayors to New York to lay the groundwork for President Obama's executive action on immigration, including mayors from Detroit, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia, in a coalition entitled "Cities United for Immigration Action."

Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott (R) and the governors of the 17 states are bringing a challenge to Obama's immigration action. De Blasio's action, countering with a group of big-city mayors, is a master stroke of political leadership.

De Blasio brings creative instincts to a party still stuck in the Clinton era. The sad and stupid events that led to the death of Eric Garner this week brought a festering national situation of poverty, abuse and tragic ineptitude directly to his door, as if it were recruiting him, calling him to to action.

But these two forces — the consolidation of heartland states forming sympathetic coalitions on states' rights issues, matched now by de Basio's counter-coalition of urban mayors in alliance with the federal government — could bring major crises of governance in the decades ahead. Conservatives should take a hard look at their bench.

Ann Romney has suggested that Mitt, the 2012 Republican nominee, may run if Jeb Bush does not, as they represent a similar middle ground. There are reports this week that Romney fundraisers have recently gathered, suggesting that he will. Certainly he should, because America is at the edge of a crisis which could descend quickly to urban vs. country or Hamilton and the "empire state" vs. Jefferson and the heartland. Events suggest the Jacksonian era and the Nullification Crisis of 1833 which led to division and war some 30 years later.

It is becoming increasingly clear that ours is a time of turning. Possibly as in the magnificent new film "Birdman," we face a harsh return from illusions embraced as truths for years, even decades. This state of change must be encountered; it has to be put in order.

It is what Romney does; it is what he has always been the best at doing.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at quigley1985@gmail.com.