Angelo de Codevilla amplified his landmark essay on America’s new ruling class by explaining why the Republican Party could do nothing to stop its ascendance. In a new article Codevilla explained that much of the Republican party has become wannabee Democrat and therefore supine. They want the Democrat spoils also without bothering themselves with the distasteful mental contortions of the Democrat ideology.
The Democrats have been the party of income transfers for a long time. Their political genius has been to define the beneficiaries to include themselves and all their constituents. As Codevilla puts it, “it came to consist almost exclusively of constituencies that make up government itself or benefit from government. Big business, increasingly dependent on government contracts and regulation, became a virtual adjunct of the contracting agents and regulators … Republican leaders neither parry the insults nor vilify their Democratic counterparts in comparable terms because they do not want to beat the ruling class, but to join it in solving the nation’s problems.”
How did they come to cut such pathetic figures?
The Republican Party never fully adapted itself to the fact that modern big government is an interest group in and of itself, inherently at odds with the rest of society, that it creates a demand for representation by those it alienates, and hence that politicians must choose whether to represent the rulers or the ruled. The Republican Party had been the party of government between the Civil War and 1932. But government then was smaller in size, scope, and pretense. …
In sum, the closer one gets to the Republican Party’s voters, the more the Party looks like Goldwater and Reagan. The closer one gets to its top, the more it looks like the ghost of Rockefeller. Consider 2012: the party chose for President someone preferred by only one fourth of its voters – Mitt Romney, whose first youthful venture in politics had been to take part in the political blackballing of Barry Goldwater.
They are the party of ‘me too’. Or more accurately, ‘me next’. The complete emptiness of what has come to be known as the “stupid party’s” opportunism was described by Newt Gingrich in his denunciation of Karl Rove recently. Gingrich argued that Republican political strategy simply amounted to ‘paying Rove do the lying while pretending to stand for anything’ — in other words, shut up and let Rove win it — then take your turn at the swill trough and be generous. Gingrich wrote:
consultants have made an amazing amount of money asserting an expertise they clearly don’t have. They have existed in a system in which the candidate was supposed to focus on raising money and the smart consultant would design the strategy, spend the money and do the thinking…. First, Rove.
I am unalterably opposed to a bunch of billionaires financing a boss to pick candidates in 50 states. This is the opposite of the Republican tradition of freedom and grassroots small town conservatism.
After getting past the high-minded objections Newt zeroes on his core problem to content-less Republican politics. It ain’t working. It’s not even good for ‘me next’.
While Rove would like to argue his “national nomination machine” will protect Republicans from candidates like those who failed in Missouri and Indiana, that isn’t the bigger story.
Republicans lost winnable senate races in Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. So in seven of the nine losing races, the Rove model has no candidate-based explanation for failure. Our problems are deeper and more complex than candidates.
Handing millions to Washington based consultants to destroy the candidates they dislike and nominate the candidates they do like is an invitation to cronyism, favoritism and corruption.
Gingrich is right, but he is in fact late to the party. The idea that fightback would have to begin with taking back the parties — was begun earlier. One of those who adopted this insurgent, attack from the primaries strategy is well known to the Belmont Club: Leo Linbeck III. He is at least partially referenced in Codevilla’s new essay describing the revolt has been under way for a some time: “the groups that represent the country class’ pieces were mounting and winning more primary challenges to Establishment Republicans.”
Rove has predictably reacted by trying to crush the rebels while donning their mantle for advantage.
The establishment responded with its main asset: money. The New York Times reported a concerted effort by the Party’s biggest donors led by longtime Bush staffer Karl Rove (yes, the Rockefeller wing) to support Establishment candidates in the primary process. But establishment candidates are already better funded than dissidents, usually massively so. The establishment candidates who have survived dissident challenges have seldom done it through sheer cash, but rather by fuzzing the differences between themselves and the dissidents. Designating themselves formally as “establishment,” was almost sure to hurt them. Moreover to set up the Republican establishment as a separate caucus invites the dissidents to unite and present themselves united as an alternative. That is the natural path to the dissidents forming a new party while Republican leadership dissolves into the Democratic party. In sum, the value of the label “Republican” is problematic.
The upshot is that both the Democratic and Republican parties are in a state of crisis, which is logical given that, stripped of their outward differences they have largely become the same thing. The Democrats are embroiled in their own revolt as people wait for the payoff that never comes; the access that doesn’t quite materialize, the big slice from the disappearing pie.
Recently the White House press corps has risen in almost open revolt against the bullying, intimidating and manipulative tactics of its occupant, as described in a Politico article: Obama, the puppet master. Mark Steyn is giddy with schadenfreude and believes the press did everything to deserve the contempt with which they are being treated.
Essentially, Obama has achieved the same relationship with the press and the media and public information that the Soviet Communist Party had to jam radio transmissions and smash printing presses to achieve. Essentially these guys are volunteering to do for him what they had to be coerced into doing most self-respecting countries, and I think that’s the real issue here.
The media is sure to get slapped around even more because the cupboard is bare. The elites, as Codevilla calls them, are riding a falling trend down to zero. Just what happens when you get near zero was illustrated by an exchange between a tire manufacturer and the French government who were trying to get them to keep a bankrupt and unionized factory going. The French had strongarmed companies before. But this time was different. New York Times writes how the tire manufacturer responded to the French overture in these words:
“How stupid do you think we are?”
“I have visited the factory a couple of times,” Maurice Taylor Jr., the head of Titan International, wrote to the country’s industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg, in a letter published in French newspapers on Wednesday.
“The French work force gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They have one hour for their breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three.”
“I told this to the French unions to their faces and they told me, ‘That’s the French way!’ ” …
“Titan is the one with the money and the talent to produce tires. What does the crazy union have? It has the French government. You can keep your so-called workers”
The French were livid and promised to find ways to retaliate against Titan, but such promises of retribution — as are their offers to largesse and stimuli — are increasingly hollow. The elites ain’t what they used to be in terms of real power and influence. To be high handed you have to have the money to carry it off. Otherwise you wind up like those bankrupt British aristocrats who rent out the family castle to tourists while they live in the barn.
Probably nothing illustrates the fine mess things have become more than the election for Jesse Jackson Jr’s old seat. The one he vacated by acting crazy so that he could plead down charges for stealing money. The Democrats nominated to run for his seat have quit the race or are being pushed to from scandals of their own. The leading candidate is astoundingly, a black Republican, who the Republican Party doesn’t want to support — why? Because they’re all part of the same system, exactly as Codevilla observed.
Maybe to be a real Republican these days you don’t have to look any part. All you really need to qualify is to Just Say No to the way things are.