The Turning Point
In the decades to come, historians may well look back on the partisan passage of Obamacare during President Obama's first term and its disastrous implementation in the second as a Pyrrhic victory, the beginning of the end of the Progressive project to "fundamentally transform" the United States of America. Whether Senator Ted Cruz ultimately succeeds in his quest to defund Obamacare this time, his electrifying quasi-filibuster yesterday and today nevertheless marks a turning point in modern American political history -- the day when conservatives turned their back on the collaborationist Republican Party and finally fought back.
It's been a long time coming. The tottering bonzes of the GOP were so mesmerized and intimated by a young upstart named Barack Hussein Obama back in 2008 -- even though they should have seen him coming as long ago as 2004, when he became the inevitable nominee of a party that could finally put its money where its mouth had long been -- that they were utterly incapable of mounting any effective opposition to him. What little pushback there was came, almost by accident, from Sarah Palin, John McCain's running mate, who was quickly muzzled by the establishment apparatchiks and then marginalized by a compliant and vicious media. The Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party protects its own:
John McCain’s former senior adviser Steve Schmidt says he has “deep regret” for helping to create a “freak show” wing of the Republican Party when he had a hand in bringing former McCain running mate Sarah Palin to the national stage.
Schmidt said Monday on MSNBC’s “Hardball” that it’s time for the GOP to stand up to the “asininity” embodied by Palin and others.
“For the last couple of years, we’ve had this wing of the party running roughshod over the rest of the party. Tossing out terms like RINO, saying we’re going to purge, you know, the moderates out of the party,” Schmidt said. “We’ve lost five U.S. Senate seats over the last two election cycles. And fundamentally we need Republicans, whether they’re running for president, whether they’re in the leadership of the Congress, to stand up against a lot of this asininity.”
Well, one man's asininity is another man's principles, but principles are something the PBFP doesn't much understand. The only principle that counts to them is maintenance of office; long ago they realized there's no percentage in bucking the system. Far better (for Republicans) to pretend to be "conservative" during election season -- especially in the Senate -- only to return to "Senate comity" once safely past the shoals of the electorate. In the winter, they're Buddhists, in the summer they're nudists, to quote the late Joe Gould.
No longer -- Cruz's "filibuster" has changed all that. For Republicans, the year is suddenly 1968 and they are in the same position the Democrats were back then. This time, there's no pitched battles in the streets of Chicago as Obama's mentor, Bill Ayers, and others went up against Mayor Daley's pigs and came out broken, bloodied but unbowed as they fought for control of the party of slavery, segregation, sedition and secularism. Four years later, they had replaced Hubert Humphrey with George McGovern as part of their long march through the institutions.
Something similar is happening right now to the GOP -- although this being the Republicans, the fighting is symbolic and not visceral. But the hatred is. It speaks well of Senator Cruz that, even before his stunt, he was widely loathed by the PBFP establishment, whose cowardly members couldn't wait to knife him, anonymously, to Chris Wallace of Fox News. But happening it is. Earlier today, over at NRO, I posted some bullets points regarding how I think things stand on the right side of the aisle at this moment. Some excerpts:
- After his disgraceful attacks on Cruz, including his reach-across-the-aisle, dog-in-the-manger response today, this should be the end of Senator John McCain as a voice of influence in the Republican Party. Ditto his mini-me, Senator Lindsey Graham. Indeed, the entire Old Guard of business-as-usual “comity” fans passeth. When you care more about what the other side thinks, it’s probably time either to switch teams or step down.
- There is new leadership in the GOP, whether the party wants to admit it or not: Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, and the others who stepped into the breach to spell the senator from Texas.
- The Cruz faction in the Senate, and its allies in the House (whose leadership is now up for grabs), must now press their advantage. The louder the Democrats squawk, the more they are wounded; the one thing they’ve long feared is a direct assault on their core beliefs as translated into actions, and the deleterious effects of Obamacare, just now being felt by the population, are the most vivid proof of the failure of Progressivism that conservatives could wish for.
- Win or lose, the battle is now joined: First the struggle for the GOP and then the battle for control of Congress and the presidency. Cruz just struck at the kings he could reach — the Republican “leadership” — and has most likely dealt them a fatal blow. Now the Tea Party hordes must back him up by eliminating his opponents (who tend to be geriatrics, and thus “leaders” by longevity rather than talent or commitment) through the primary process wherever possible. If he can carry off this coup, he and Senator Paul will very quickly find themselves elevated from back-benchers to commanders.
- Any party that cannot successfully sell freedom and personal liberty doesn’t deserve power. The trick will be to explain — by word and deed — that the Democrats’ Manichean choice (Big Brother or the orphanage) is a false one, that less can be more, and that the restoration of a Republic of self-reliant citizens will benefit all Americans — not simply the government class and its clients.
And this is the key. I've been out of the country for the past several months, so I'm just now catching up to my good friend Mark Levin's wonderful new book, The Liberty Amendments, which strikes at the heart of the great divide in our current political system: the gradual and deliberate corruption of the Constitution at the hands of the "progressives" and the concomitant reduction of personal liberty and individual aspiration in the name of a Marxist "collective good." (It speaks well of the dishonest genius of the Left that crude, mid-19th century atheism can be successfully repackaged as quasi -Christian do-gooderism and practically no one the wiser.) Here we are, more than 20 years after the complete collapse of Marxism-Leninism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and we're still having the same argument.
So how to end this -- as end this we must if the survival of the United States of America as founded is to be secured? Remember that "fundamental transformation" is ostensibly meant to contribute toward a "more perfect Union," but it of course does nothing of the sort. Under Progressivism -- a combination ideological movement and criminal enrichment racket -- the country is less united, less happy, less free. And, like any movement composed of True Believers, Progressivism brooks no opposition, ascribes no good motives to its opponents, and will impose its way in a heartbeat when given half the chance. The Democrats' fierce, desperate contortions to sneak Obamacare through the Congress should stand as a monument to how the system can be abused and manipulated by a group of unscrupulous politicians -- and care needs to be taken that such a travesty can never happen again.
This doesn't mean, as the Left would have you believe, that the choice is between Orwell's Big Brother and Oliver Twist's workhouse. I can't name a single Republican senator who opposes some kind of healthcare "reform" (a misnomer, since the law has to do with insurance, not healthcare). But the reforms on the Right mostly concern the liberated operation of free markets across the country, not a top-down, imposed, statist solution that only aggrandizes more power and wealth in Washington while doing little or nothing about medical care. Only a child, a moron, or a Democrat could believe that you could take a system as complex as medical care/insurance, impose a collectivist solution to a non-existent problem upon it, and expect the markets to function as before, only this time cheaper.
A quick example. In in the old Soviet Union taxis were cheap and closely regulated by the central government. Result: almost no taxis on the streets of Moscow, anywhere. Instead, civilians freelanced as taxi drivers, and the way you got one was either by holding up a pack of Marlboros (the effective currency in the U.S.S.R.) or one or two fingers to signal how many packs you were willing to pay for a ride. Rarely did you have to wait more than a couple of minutes before a car stopped for you.
The revolution that Cruz and his Senate cohort are leading can win -- but only if the GOP jettisons its current leadership (who do not believe in it, anyway) and adopts the tactics and techniques of the Left to put it across. (Gee, someone should write a book about that.) But this means learning how to seize and control the Narrative, to make the personal political, to turn the culture in the direction of the spin. How a political party cannot sell Freedom and Liberty and Leave Me Alone to a formerly free people is beyond me, but if anyone can't do it, that would be Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch and John McCain. The sooner they all go the better, and clear the way for Cruz & Co. before they, too, become corrupted by the Beltway system, and while they still have plenty of fight left in them.