Belmont Club

Revolution Within The Revolution

Although the prevailing political narrative for the next two months will be about the Republicans versus the Democrats, George Will says a second and perhaps more important contest is being fought between the Republican establishment and the outsiders.  It is a struggle that MSNBC called a “civil war”. It wrote that a “Republican civil war is raging, with righter-than-thou conservatives dominating more and more primaries in a fight for the party’s soul. And the Democrats hope to benefit. ”

But tea party-backed candidates might be a godsend to desperate Democrats elsewhere — in Nevada, Florida and perhaps Kentucky, where the Democrats portray GOP nominees as too extreme for their states.

But they haven’t because the misunderstood the character of the conflict. It is a civil war between the political elites and the people who elected them. And if a civil war is raging within the Republican Party that is only because it is happening there first. In the early days of the Obama administration, with the President apparently all-conquering, the insurgency within the GOP compared to the Taliban: religiously bigoted, extremist and stuck in another century. These talking points were relentlessly emphasized. Joe Biden called the Tea Party efforts as representing nothing but “the past but on steroids”. Yet they couldn’t turn this to electoral advantage.  The liberal cause continued to wane, possibly, as Victor Davis Hanson pointed out, because a lot of people sympathized with the insurgents. Dr. Hanson wrote that people were about fed up with being called ignorant know-nothings who were insolently lacking in gratitude towards their betters.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson thunders, “The American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.”

You see, hoi polloi want “easy solutions” — like trying to close an open border, cut federal spending, and balance the budget. Instead, they should be manning up to pay more for gas, more in taxes, and more for entitlements for more to come across the border.

Worse still, the uninformed voter cannot seem to appreciate the brilliance of Barack Obama, who has deigned to suffer on our behalf, in offering only unpopular but necessary solutions. Obama has tried his best to prepare an immature nation for amnesty, borrowing at record levels, cap and trade, and additional trillions of national debt — the castor oil that the obese and now constipated public for some reason just won’t swallow.

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The insurgents have tapped into a rich vein of public disgust at both parties. The Left’s satisfaction at the barbs directed at the Republican establishment by conservative insurgents should be tempered by the realization that the sight-picture of the rebels includes both of them. There seems to be enough ire to go around. Will points out that Republican Nikki Haley, who is running for governor in South Carolina, “has been traveling around the state asking this question: Does anyone think it odd that in 2007 only 8 percent of the decisions by the state House, and only 1 percent of the state Senate’s decisions, were taken by recorded votes?” What is odd is that the press hadn’t been on it before.

Just how out of touch Western political establishments was illustrated by the Thilo Sarrazin incident in Germany. Sarrazin is a German Central Bank Board member who wrote Deutschland schafft sich ab (“Germany Does Itself In”), a book questioning the wisdom of allowing mass Muslim immigration into Germany.

In just two weeks, Germany has been hit by three waves of debate stemming from the tome.

Criticism bordering on revulsion dominated the first wave of the reaction. Politicians and opinion leaders condemned Sarrazin almost unanimously.

But then it slowly became apparent that many citizens agreed with Sarrazin. The publisher announced that, due to high demand, it was going to increase the book’s initial printing to 250,000 copies. Furthermore, Internet forums and political events made it clear that Sarrazin — a member of the center-left Social Democrats, which has initiated proceedings to throw him out of the party — had broad public support. Many are saying he is right; or, even if he does make a mistake here and there, he isn’t being treated fairly.

The following e-mail, for example, was received at Social Democratic Party (SPD) headquarters: “Sometimes I’m frustrated and even furious about the fact that, in today’s Germany, it’s no longer possible to speak your mind and call a spade a spade! This is the sort of thing I’m used to seeing in totalitarian countries.” Suddenly Sarrazin seemed like a popular hero.

The third wave arrived in the middle of last week. Politicians have begun demanding that the political elite cease ignoring the fact that many in Germany support Sarrazin. Peter Hauk, head of the Christian Democratic Union’s parliamentary group in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, says: “Even if I don’t share some of his views, he does address issues that our citizens are concerned about.”

Sarrazin opened a can worms whose existence the political and cultural elites had long denied. What you don’t know or acknowledge can hurt you. Although one may argue that CNS‘s report that “Obama Added More to National Debt in First 19 Months Than All Presidents from Washington Through Reagan Combined”, dollars not being strictly comparable, the story, like Sarrazin’s book, leads to a basement where too many embarassing things are hidden.  The insurgents are riding to power on the backs of the Elephant in the Living Room.  George Will argues that what drives the insurgency, at least in part, is that rebellion is the only way to bring up issues which are unmentionable within the framework of political correctness. Unspeakable does not mean unreal. Words that cannot be spoken in the political church will be proclaimed outside it. Writing of Nikki Haley, Will says:

If elected, she will be the second Indian-American Republican governor in Dixie, joining Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal. Tunku Varadarajan of Stanford’s Hoover Institution and NYU’s Stern School of Business suggests why they have risen in the GOP while no Indian-American has comparably risen in the Democratic Party:

“Could it be that because Democrats put more of an emphasis on identity politics, an Indian-American Democrat would have to contend with other ethnic constituencies that might think that it’s ‘their turn’ first? And once you go down the ‘identity’ route, your success as a politician tends to rest more on the weight of numbers — the size of your ethnic constituency, or your racial voting bloc — than on the weight of your ideas.”

It is a richly ironical observation. If Haley played plantation politics she was doomed to be a minor player. Therefore she rejected it. The only way she could aspire to be more was to run for governor as herself. If she had a dream to be judged one day not by the color of her skin but by the content of her mind and character she had to become an insurgent.

In retrospect, critics were right to say that Beck and Palin were appropriating the mantle of Martin Luther King but not in the way they meant. People like Sharpton and Jackson had left the mantle lying around when they weren’t using it as a tablecloth for their backroom poker-games or as a carpet that people could walk on to the Oval Office. But the inner ideas of equality and of self-worth  of the Dream had no more meaning to them.  Jackson and Sharpton had returned to plantation politics because — unlike Haley or Tim Scott — it was the only kind of politics in which they could escape their mediocrity.

Perhaps historians will not come to regard the present anti-incumbent mood in Washington not as a return to Eight Century Talibanism,  but an escape from 20th Century elitism.  People are taking their lives back.  One day they’ll pay off the vast debt accumulated by the elites in their crazy pursuit of a world without people, without carbon and without faith. And when people can look at their bank balances and see nothing but black; when they can look around them without having to cringe before this or that object of guilt from the hatchery of political correctness; when they can sit down to a neighborhood restaurant dinner and pray silently without having to be embarassed at the fact then everyone will be able to  mutter that old sigh of relief uttered before many a company store.

Paid at last! Paid at last!

Thank God almighty! It is paid at last!


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