When the Soviet Union finally collapsed of its own rotten weight in 1991, some scholars were quick to proclaim the end of the ideological struggle that had gripped the West (and therefore, by extension, the whole world) since the mid-19th century. Emblematic of that period was Francis Fukuyama’s book The End of History and the Last Man, based on an earlier essay, which stated:
What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.
Would that it had been so; a year later, the European Union was born and the socialist project began anew, this time speaking French and German instead of Russian. True, the EU was socialism with a human face, instead of a Soviet jack boot, but the impulses — economic control, rule-by-regulation and an increasing centralization of power in Brussels — remained the same, and will end about as well as its Czech forerunner did.
American elections had, since the abandonment of the bipartisan “containment” consensus in 1972, been fought largely on ideological grounds: McGovern vs. Nixon, Carter vs. Reagan, Clinton vs. Bush I, Gore vs. Bush II, even Obama vs. McCain/Romney. The genius of Obama and his team was to present the most ideological candidate since Reagan as the smiling African-American liberals wished lived next door, and so the extremity of his anti-American agenda was masked by the smile and the shoeshine.
We now arrive at what — at this moment, anyway — is likely to be the 2016 choice. Obama, like Bush II, did not provide for a plausible successor, and the GOP, against its usual dynastic practice, chose not to hand the baton to multiple-loser Mitt Romney. Instead, the Democrats will likely nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton, a woman of no accomplishment, but whose scary mug has been thrust into American faces since the campaign of 1992, and just won’t go away. In a just world, of course, she would have been long ago indicted on any of her multiple scandals, but — with the evidence of the Clintons, cockroaches and the Kardashians before us — we do not live in a just world.
Mrs. Clinton is a hard-core Alinskyite — she wrote her senior thesis on this devil while at Wellesley — as is Obama. There is no question she is to the left of her husband, Bubba, whose sexual and financial appetites were always first and foremost in his mind. But her weakness is the same as her husband’s: an unceasing, voracious appetite for money:
“Follow the money.” That telling phrase, which has come to summarize the Watergate scandal, has been a part of the lexicon since 1976. It’s shorthand for political corruption: At what point do “contributions” become bribes, “constituent services” turn into quid pro quos and “charities” become slush funds?
Ronald Reagan was severely criticized in 1989 when, after he left office, he was paid $2 million for a couple of speeches in Japan. “The founding fathers would have been stunned that an occupant of the highest office in this land turned it into bucks,” sniffed a Columbia professor.
So what would Washington and Jefferson make of Hillary Rodham Clinton? Mandatory financial disclosures released this month show that, in just the two years from April 2013 to March 2015, the former first lady, senator and secretary of state collected $21,667,000 in “speaking fees,” not to mention the cool $5 mil she corralled as an advance for her 2014 flop book, “Hard Choices.”
Throw in the additional $26,630,000 her ex-president husband hoovered up in personal-appearance “honoraria,” and the nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the former first couple — who, according to Hillary, were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 with some of the furniture in tow — can finally make ends meet.
No wonder Donald Trump calls her “crooked Hillary.”
Even more than her beloved helpmeet, Mrs. Clinton has perfected the Leftist art of living high on the hog while at the same time mouthing (insincere) platitudes about her love for the masses. Pick your forbear: Lady Macbeth, Eva Peron or any of the currently interchangeable female dictators in South America.
It’s not just those of us on the Right who despise the Clintons. My good friend, Les Leopold, comes at the Clintons from the Left:
The Democratic Party must nominate the candidate with the best chance of defeating Trump. If Bernie wins California, Hillary is not the best candidate.
Oh, I hear the groans aplenty. Hillary won the most votes. Hillary has the most delegates. Bernie can’t possibly win against the Republican attack machine. Katha Pollitt in The Nation colorfully expresses the position heard often from progressive Hillary supporters:
“I just don’t believe Americans are ready for a 74-year-old self-described socialist with a long far-left CV who would raise their taxes by quite a lot. By the time the Republicans got finished with him, he’d be the love child of Rosa Luxemburg and the Ayatollah Khomeini, and then it’s hello, President Trump.”
But if Hillary loses California, what does that say about her ability to win in the fall? It would mean that she has alienated most white voters. It would mean she again has lost the vast majority of independents, a crucial category. It would mean she couldn’t win dog catcher among those under 30. And most importantly it would mean that she could lose to Trump.
Precisely. The Left wants to make this a starkly ideological election: Sanders the communist vs. Trump the capitalist. A rogue L’il Orphan Annie vs. Daddy Warbucks! The poor Lithuanian peasant heroes of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle vs. the meatpacking overlords. Sanders would make it so. And, frankly, that would be the best thing for the country: let’s have it out, and let’s have it out now.
But it won’t happen. Even should the FBI recommend Hillary’s prosecution on multiple grounds, it’s unlikely that the Obama “justice department” would prosecute. After all, right now Barry has it both ways: he can make Hillary dance to his tune or send her to slam, and there’s not a damn thing she can do about it. Real Chicago Mob stuff; and it’s at times like this that we should remember that Saul Alinksy himself once worked with Al Capone.
Further Sanders-for-real vs. Sanders-the-makebelieve-candidate would be handily destroyed by the GOP, even with the entire press corps rooting for him. Pictures of life in Venezuela right now would be all that it takes. Still, in my heart, I’m rooting for Sanders, one of the most implausible American presidential candidates of all time. Having Sanders on the ballot would finally force the Democrats out from behind their masks and reveal them for what they truly are: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party, and one dedicated to feasting off the corpse of the American experiment while professing fealty to it. The reason they’ve rigged the game for Hillary is that they don’t want Sanders blowing their cover.
Despicable is too nice a word for them.
Which brings us to the other most implausible American presidential candidate of all time: Donald J. Trump.
Trump is the furthest thing possible from an ideological candidate, which is why he has driven those for whom ideology is paramount absolutely mental this election cycle. He cares not a whit for von Mises, or Hayek, or Ronald Reagan, and I doubt whether he would know the first two names mentioned. He is, in essence, the monster from the Id, the perfect Ayn Rand candidate who exists only to serve himself, and if other folks benefit in the bargain, so be it.
It’s easy to understand, and respect, the opposition of the #neverTrump brigade. Trump is not a “movement conservative” (although I highly doubt that many in the kiddkie korps of kommentators even understand what that means), nor does he pretend to be one. Having watched him since 1981, when I first arrived in Manhattan to work for Time magazine, he appears to have only his own ego as his guiding star; in this, he is not unlike the Clintons.
But unless something even less likely than Hillary getting indicted by the federal government occurs, Trump will be the GOP candidate. Those who suspect there’s some underlying trick behind the Trump candidacy — that he’s a Democrat mole, trying to throw the election to the World’s Worst Candidate, Hillary — are kidding themselves. He is who he is, and you can choose either to vote for him, or not. I have no dog in this fight; if not voting for Trump satisfies your higher moral principles and lets you sleep at night, be my guest.
On the other hand, if the thought of Hillary Clinton — whose Id rages even more furiously than Trump’s — as president doesn’t terrify you, I suggest checking yourself for a pulse. Mrs. Clinton, filled with hatred and a lust for vengeance that would put Hagen to shame, would rampage through the American government like none other, Obama himself included. Obama, after all, only hates America as founded, and wished to “fundamentally transform” the country according to his second-hand socialist whims. His revenge was learned, generic; he will be thrilled to have the sucker taxpayers keep him in style for the rest of his life, and then some.
But with Hillary, this time it’s personal. All the rejection (from her husband, and from the voters) is about to go critical, and the explosion will be something to behold — from far away, which is where I plan to be. It’s your vote, and it counts as much as anyone else’s. But this year, it’s not about ideology. It’s about us.