I am in India as I write this. Business trip, third time here. Used to it by now, and as long as I sanitize fanatically I can get by for the week.
Jet lag takes its toll, but I do have lucid moments. Here is one, as I read Peggy Noonan's latest WSJ op-ed piece. I hope you can view it without subscription. My reply to her:
Well, Peggy, you have done it again. Confused wishful, wistful thinking with reality.I predicted some time ago the demise of both parties, starting with the Republicans. My reasoning was that Republicans have been winning elections mostly as a result of refugees from and ever left-leaning Democratic Party, finding no place else to turn. But, the big tent can't satisfy all constituent interests, and so must collapse. We saw this in 2006, and obviously again in 2008.
If any one human being was responsible for turning what was an outright military victory in Vietnam into an utter between-the-tails cut and run defeat, it was Uncle Walter, when he declare the war lost after the Viet Cong destroyed itself in the '68 Tet offensive. But to you, his was responsible journalism.
You are right, in that the 20-30 crowd cannot lead. They are as clueless a generation as we have had, and their leader is now our President. And he leads accordingly, with all the sound bite pap and fury he can muster. He sells used cars, but not enough. He sells his hometown as an Olympic Village, but not well enough. He apologizes, and imagines it engenders global respect. Clearly, it does not. The planet is not, in fact, healing.
We have bright people with solid voices. But, the barnacles of the establishment can neither fathom nor tolerate their message, since it does not reflect Eastern Liberal Republicanism. Of course, I refer to Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, J C Watts and many other voices of red-state flyover country.
It will take failure of both the Left and of the old guard Republicans for the new voices have their full effect. The old guard, along with the inane children of the Left, must exhaust themselves and all fall down in order for sanity to rise up and be heard. Only when we are completely sick of the old will we be willing to listen to the new.
Does it make anyone else wonder how, in the 21st century, we can still be taking Socialism and collectivism seriously? How we can imagine American conservatism to be somehow "fascist", while the Left takes over entire industries with impunity? It can only happen if people are either ignorant, or not paying attention.
The new kids on the Left are clearly ignorant. They still think Hoover was a laissez faire capitalist and FDR was an economic saviour. That JFK saved us from the Cuban Missile Crises, when he in fact created it and lost the resulting battle.
The old guard Republicans are simply not paying attention to their own history. They loved Reagan when he won, but disdain his intellectual bequest. We got Bush and Bush instead. And Obama.
Conservatism is not dead. It is like a green bush that has been pruned severely. The Left imagines us dead and gone, that they are on the rise and have the American political wind at their back.
But, we are not gone. Every tea party meets denial and disdain from the Left and from the old Republican guard, but we know who we are. We are finding our voice in the middle of that unregulated rabble on radio and TV you seem to despise and fear. Every tea party is "racist", "over the top", "mob action", whatever. But every one gets bigger, more meaningful, and more powerful.
We are called ugly names, but no matter. We know who we are.
America is a fundamentally right-of-center nation. We know this, and we are on the rise.
Is the Right dead? Not hardly. What is needed is for the Republican Party to become, at its core, a conservative party. The establishment Republicans, such as Peggy Noonan, don't like conservatism much. They prefer a more genteel, tame sort of Republican who is willing to compromise.
The reality is, every time Bush (43) "reached out", his hand was slapped back. The hard Left is not inclined to compromise, unless it is part of a planned betrayal.
The only solution for conservatives is to take back this weakened party, remake it along the lines of Reaganism and Milton Friedman, and offer it to the American people.
Americans respond positively to conservatism when it is offered openly, honestly, and without apology. Recall the "Reagan Revolution", empowered by disaffected Democrats.
There is a conservative core in America, living and breathing outside party boundaries. But, we need a vehicle for political effect, and clearly the Democrats don't offer this to us. Republicans do, as long as we can discourage RINO bullshit.
For example, vote against any Republican congressional candidate who voted for TARP, regardless of how otherwise "conservative" he or she may have been. Having voted with Bush does not a conservative make. Consider the Stimlus, the Omnibus Earmark Bill and cash-for-clunkers along the same lines as TARP.
I know I have made my choice in Nebraska's 2nd District: Matt Sakolosky. How can you tell he is viable, against a 6 term establishment Republican incumbent? Because it has gotten personal already. Deeply so. And when that happens, you know they fear you.
And keep ranting, fearlessly. They hate it, and we need it. It's cathartic, and quite healthy.
Back to my jet lag...