The Party of Burr
That's basically the thesis of my new essay, The People v. the Democratic Party, now available on Amazon from my PJ colleague Roger Kimball's Encounter Broadsides. The first review went up today, over at the lively website of the Ancient & Noble Order of the Gormogons. Some excerpts from the review by "the Czar," one of its erudite contributors:
The book begins with the premise that the Democratic party was effectively founded in an act of crime—the murder of Alexander Hamilton by Aaron Burr, and how this links to the founding of Tammany Hall, the eventual spoils system of Andrew Jackson, and so on down the line to today’s party. Along the way, Walsh covers the Democrats’ presistent racism to maintain or acquire power, financial entanglements, manipulation of the media, and more, while showing the continuing pattern that repeats every generation...
The point is that the Democrats have not changed in two-hundred years, even though they alter their shape: their shift from pro-slavery to forcing blacks to live on government programs seems like a 180° irony but is no different than the virulent anti-Communist Democrats of the past suddenly embracing radical socialism today: find out where a group is disenfranchised with Republicans, promise them whatever they want in exchange for a vote, and then backstab them once elected. This logic seems tortuous as the Czar puts it here, but Mr. Walsh guides you through it expertly.
Criticism? Well, really, only one. In the conclusion, Mr. Walsh elects to quote a stanza from Milton’s Paradise Lost, which we confess was like hitting a speed bump hidden around a highway curve. The stanza is clever, and underlines a point, but struck us as a strange distraction from the fast-moving text of the rest of the book. A line or two would have sufficed, but a dozen lines of blank verse iambic pentameter is a thwack in the face. We might have edited that out entirely.
So if you can live with that—and you’re gonna have to, because the book’s in print—this book is a superb and swift read.
For whom does the Czar recommend this book? If you are fairly new to politics, or want to learn more about suppressed history, this book is a gem. Inexpensive, too—and did we mention owning it is a click away? This is the sort of stuff that a lot of people would prefer you not read; so even if you already know the sordid history of the number 2 party, you will enjoy Mr. Walsh’s infrastructure thoroughly, as we did.
Also, if you’re a Democrat, you ought to read this book. We didn’t mention it above, but a small portion of this book strongly suggests that the Democrats need to go. This is not a mere partisan challenge; rather, like the Tea Party has begun a serious and increasingly successful reformation of the Republican party, it might be time for Democrats to start a similar reformation of their own.
Exactly. Here's my conclusion:
After more than two centuries, it’s time to send the Democrats the way of the Federalists, the Whigs, the Know-Nothings, the Dixiecrats, and the other splinter parties and factions that litter American political history. No law says a given political party is eternal. And yet as long as the party of Burr continues to thrive, its loaded gun is no longer pointing at a man but at a whole nation.
Is there a place in the American political system for a truly loyal opposition – one that does not seek “fundamental transformation” of our constitutional Republic but rather its betterment and continuance? Of course there is.
But is there a place for a criminal organization masquerading as a political party?
If our nation is to survive, not any more.
Full disclosure: As the full review notes, I'm Twitter-friendly with the Gormogons, although I've never met any of them in person. I do have a cordial email friendship with one of the members (not the Czar), who's reviewed my work favorably in the past.