There used to be a statement hung in the State House in Jeff City, Missouri, that ends with “Never take yourself too damned seriously.” I still do from time to time, but not too often I hope. There is a wahr on, you know.
The health care bill marks a turning point…in American and constitutional history, so then, also in world history. It also marks the end of this unique American culture and experience. It is a big deal.
I’ve given myself one day to stand back and take a look at what went wrong, what could have gone right, and finally, what is to be done?, as the Old Bastard Himself, V I Lenin, wrote in 1911.
Tomorrow, we will all be better off by calculating what can be done and what must be done with the troops we still have for the fight that lay ahead. There really isn’t any place to run, unless we surrender and simply fade back into the mass of the population and begin to march to the new drumbeat. Even if it comes down to only one (which it won’t) there will always be a way to wreck. The last and perhaps greatest power even the most enslaved people have is to insure their masters never can quite have what they want either…ensuring their ultimate demise. That is a law as immutable as Pythagorean’s.
Mitch McConnell and much of the extant Republican congressional leadership, like Fannin at Goliad, have made their own call. I am sorry and wish it could be reversed, but we should never spend to much time anguishing over craven animals being craven animals. Since he wouldn’t come to us when we called, we’ll only send troops to assist him if he’ll agree to turn over command to a fighter instead of a “master schemer”.
So, with the apparent collapse of our “defense” so far, in the health care debate (I use that term guardedly), I need to revisit in my mind the roles played by:
- The Enemy, what they knew and when they knew it;
- The Leadership in…a) House and Senate b) the National GOP, and what they’ve demonstrated they ever knew;
- The People….a) our people, Tea Party-9/12’ers, policy wonks such as found here on RedState b) the general citizen, c) vested interest groups, and what we should have known, but didn’t.
In the past, the political formula for bills like health care was that the Left and Congressional democrats would run it up the flag pole, and the special interest groups would then roll out millions in ad campaigns to energize the people, who would then call or write their congressman, who, fearing a loss of job, would then shoot the whole ting down, after much drama and fanfare by a partisan media.
This happened with Hillary-care, and it happened with the Immigration bill under Bush. Consequently, we believed, wrongly, that all we had to do was turn out the troops in a timely manner and we would win, then fall back into that somnolent slumber, forgetting that the Enemy was always out there, preparing for another assault. It was sort of a game, a very predictable game….until new players entered the Game.
Based on his pledges alone, as a candidate, it stood to reason that Barack Obama would try health care again, especially after two successful years of railroading some suspicious (I can argue “criminal”) legislation by an increasingly vocally-Marxist Democrat controlled Congress, under the nose of a pre-occupied (and by that time, easy to roll) George W Bush. (That will be my only slap at Bush.)
From the beginning, the Democrat strategy had to prevent the same pattern of defeat that killed Hillary-care; namely, a congressional majority fearful of voter retribution.
What they rolled out:
Since the 2008 election, when the Dem’s actually increased their majority in the House, and reaching that magical number 60 (by crook more than hook) in the Senate, the plan was always to go “all in” on health care. Even before Obama was sworn in, the stars were lining up that way…a dedicated Messiah-like get-even Marxist backed by several tiers of academician-planners of a similar mind, plus a band of gangsters in Congress, who, the original TARP bailout telegraphed, never saw a corpse in the snow that they wouldn’t stop to pluck out his gold teeth…The fix was in. We noted this before the inauguration, as did many others, for one, because this has all happened before. You simply couldn’t watch the way things were falling out without finding all sorts of historical deja-vu’s. The only question, to date unresolved: Is this socialism, European style, benign and paternalistic, or get-even socialism with a much harder edge, or out and out fascism, with at least a toe in the water of totalitarianism?
Looking at it from the point of view of the Enemy it only made sense to go “all in”, then iron out the differences between the hot-tub socialists, the gangsters and the hardcore Marxists after the main enemy (us, The People, the Constitution) had been subdued. So take no solace in the fact that the Enemy will eventually have a falling-out. Whoever is left standing will still be the beneficiary of 250 million formerly-free souls, possibly for a very long time.
This “all in” strategy also made sense in that, since Ronald Reagan and the death of the face of Communism (the USSR) under his successor, Bush I, there had been a deepening cultural slippage in understanding the evils of socialism and communism. An entire generation has grown up since RR, being rather soft on those terms themselves, and absolutely enthusiastic about so many of its promises, which the death of the Soviet empire (when they were just children) had proved to be so false. These were lessons we all seemed to rely on someone else, especially the public schools, to pass onto the youth of America, (Oops!) Pop culture, from the git-go has been a grab bag of false promises and sensual entitlements, wrapped in the pretty paper of vanity and narcissism. So socialism-the-freebie, was an easy sell.
Also, since Ronald Reagan the ranks of what we here have always called the “Protectors” of the Constitution, people who dedicated their lives to watching events unfold in light of the constitution promise and Liberty rather than the cold light of bread and butter issues, or nuts and bolts rights, had mellowed or become institutionalized. If we didn’t see this transformation, the Left did, for the same reason Satan recognized Christ in the wilderness. By 2000, real live “protectors” could scarcely be found in Congress. There were no longer any Ben Franklin’s in our legislative or corporate boardrooms, i.e, constant reminders of the simple rightness or wrongness of a thing….although there were plenty of Franklins to pass around.
(This all had happened before, by the way, around the turn of the last century, tangential to the rise of Progressivism, where first politics, then academe, then business, simply got tired of all the “vain repetitions” of that Liberty- or Constitution-, or Freedom-worship that had dominated the public place since the Civil War. Liberty, as a slogan, as a thing to live for and fight for, had become stale…until Hitler, Stalin, Tojo and Mao reminded us otherwise some forty years later.)
So it only made sense to the Left, in the words of my favorite Goonie, Sean Astin, and his Goonie-eared plagiarist, Barry, that their “time was now”…and make an all out assault on the Constitution itself…based on the rather astute observation that almost no one in power would see that assault for what it really is.
They were right. So it has worked…so far.
So here we are.
Inasmuch as I believe the Constitutional-endangering provisions of the health care are a done deal, it is now December 8th, 1941 all over again, when we decide whether we proceed with the team that got us to this place, or with new talent.
By way of definition, we used to have in the corporate world a thing we referred to as the “December 6th Complex”, i.e, companies who had fallen asleep and become content with their market position, so never saw December 7th coming. In the 1950s, Wilkinson blades caught Gillette unawares almost as badly as the Japanese did us at Pearl Harbor. There have been many others.
The point is, like FDR or not, or give all the credit to George Marshall, every single commander at the helm on December 6, 1941, were desk bound, retired or doing other duties one year later, on Dec 6, 1942….except MacArthur, who was otherwise engaged.
In Marshall’s eyes this was not a personal slam at most of the officers relieved (only a few) but a slam at the culture that had spawned such contentment. It was anti-bureaucratic in nature, scuttling twenty years of desk-bound misfeasance in headquarters from Ft Shafter to Washington. This was all-out war and he had to win it. To hell with vanities and personal reputations. Can-do!
In my view, this is where we are today…only, if you’ve haven’t already noticed, without our George Marshall. In 1776, while George Washington went to build an army that could fight the English, today we are an army in search of a Washington.
All I know is that we probably don’t know this person by name. I don’t think her name is Sarah, but could be wrong. I am fairly certain it isn’t Rush, as the golf courses at Valley Forge are not open in the winter. Nor is his name Glenn, who has befuddled the Left, and gotten out in front of them more than any man since Obama was sworn in, but in the end wants to Gandhi the Left to death, forgetting perhaps that the only reason Gandhi succeeded was because it was a British Raj in England, rather than a Chinese, German or Russian one. With those others he’d have been dead in five minutes. Point? We are not fighting the British Raj here. Marquis of Queensbury rules do not apply. Eh wot!
For me, I do not believe America is the result of some social Darwinian error (as the Left does), a mutation in a world that had been ruled by the aggressive use of force and power since the beginning of time. I believe we are the result of an invisible Hand, Providence if you will. If you don’t agree, sorry. I have very few unprovable tenets, but this is one.
As such, I must believe that God did not create this one beacon of hope to all humanity, allow to it succeed for two centuries, then dry up and die…to appear what, another thousand years from now? I have to proceed as if this thing called America is not intended to fail die off, dooming the hopes and aspirations of 80% of the entire earth (the common man and woman) for another thousand years of shining John Kerry’s boots.
So, if you pray, pray for that leader to emerge soon, while we can provide some continuity…only don’t stay on your knees too long for there is still much to be done standing upright. Even if we lose this fight, we must show the enemy our backbone rather than our backsides.
Speaking of backsides, onto the Republican leadership in Congress. Much like the December 6th Syndrome just mentioned, their shortsightedness is institutional, cultural, and probably not venal although there is a statist leaning to all national politics today, which, while anathema to constitutional purposes, for obvious reasons have become all too ordinary. As my first Leftist friend (a lawyer) told me in 1968, “What’s the point of being smart, if you have no one to lord it over?”
I am quite certain the GOP congressional leaders and their staffs have worked overtime on this health care issue. But we also know that individual members such as DeMint and Coburn laid the “Big View” scope of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi plan on the table, as has RedState here, from the outset. Mitch can’t say they didn’t see it coming. They were warned over and over again, and again, before any final vote has been cast, the Democrats themselves telegraphed the truth of their position which is: a permanent takeover of the US government and a de facto scuttling of the U S Constitution.
Now sadly, the constitutionality of this health care plan, if ever raised privately inside GOP circles, is an issue they probably cannot raise now, as that kind of charge only works if you sound that alarm first, not last, and build your entire defense around it. (I do believe there is still one or two other quarters who can raise the Constitutional issue as if it were new and fresh.)
So, in my view, any GOP resistance will be futile as long as this leadership team is in place. Knowing now the true intent of this plan, they must either step down, as failed misfeasants, or stay on as traitors to the constitutional purpose. There is no middle ground. It should be a matter of honor, even within the narrow senatorial construction of that word.
Whoever succeeds them has only a few options, but more with a view toward making the 2010 elections a national election rather than 700-plus local ones. Restructured, I don’t think the GOP leadership in the Senate, for sure, and the House, most likely, can effect this health care legislative outcome, as they will lose a lot of their own party, just for being less civil. My suggestion here, again, is a strategic analysis based on “if we lose, we should show our backbone rather than our backside. ” Considering the stakes, it is a “last stand” option, keeping in mind the Bulge outbreak by Germany in 1944 also was a last stand offensive, only the Jerries misjudged the refueling points and the 101st Airborne. But it puts us back on offense, and the Left doesn’t have Tony McAuliffe. Moreover, for every moderate congressman we lose, we gain a million votes, if we can effectively nationalize the coming primaries and election.
With that in mind, I would recommend a whole tone change. How dare any Republican begin any mention of Harry Reid, as “My dear friend…”! If he is indeed your dear friend, Senator, you either are a poor choice of character, or one of Them. Either way, get the hell away from our microphone. We want someone who can call a spade a fritzing shovel on a refreshingly new daily basis…while staying within the boundaries of Senate rules. You shouldn’t hit your thumb with a hammer without cursing the Democrats as a race of liars, thieves, bandits, and elitists. Good God, they’ve given you an entire dictionary of words simply by tossing them at you first.
In essence, slash and burn. I’m for walking out, boycotting, placing the mark of anathema on any party member who so much as has a sandwich with Reid, Schumer, and now poor old Ben Nelson. “Get out, and get a lawyer” should be a cat-call to every Democrat speech from the well.
And yes, the media will respond with rage..so don’t soil your laundry, or air any of it out. What the media won’t be able to do is keep you off center stage, and every time you open you mouth, you will be talking past your congressional counterpart to the people out here. Reagan was a master at this. And, since Reagan was such a master at it, I also recommend playing smack-down with that same lilt or joviality in the voice. You don’t have to show a scowl (but I do). There are several things the vanities of the Left hate; among them been dismissed out of hand, being alluded to as incompetent, being laughed at, and here’s an Olberman/Maher moment, running a few jokes over their heads. It’s easy, really.
And put Obama on the table as an object of derision, too. In 1933 the Nazis succeeded because no one wanted to go out after old Schicklegrubr, because he was so personally popular. Barry cannot stand being ridiculed, and if on a daily basis, is apt to throw even more lamps than Hillary if you get his goat.
Drawbacks to “Last Stand” tactics”: I understand we don’t want to run moderates right back into the lap of the Left, on aesthetics alone, so keep up the main drumbeat about the loss of Liberty and the Constitution. The Constitutional banner is what makes this something other than a big loser’s teat fit.
Hell, people can figure out that their health care bill just doubled. But please go back to the top of this post and see if you agree with my description of the stakes we confront now, not in November 2010. If you come up with a another plan, I’d love to share notes….as would some other readers. (We are being watched.)
Back to my original formulation, the way the people got into the game was through middlemen, usually special interest groups. This always worked, then suddenly it didn’t. Wot happened?
Some say ACORN happened. (A colleague in Georgia recently told me that ACORN could turn an election 10 points. Can I get a verification on that number? I always assumed two-three. They are important to us now.) Others say the Secretary of State Project happened. (Look it up, for it definitely gave us Al Franken and gave Obama Ohio…and still no one’s been indicted…so they obviously know what they’re doing.)
Others say Soros happened. After all, if you’re a congressman or senator who came to town with a few thousand in the bank and can leave with a million, and a sweeeet vested retirement plan, what’s the big deal about losing a cheap $200K/yr job when Soros will promise you a great golfing gig at one of his think tanks, when all you have to do is mail in the “think”?
I can’t be sure, as both are viable reasons. (I don’t think CORN can steal Nebraska for Ben Nelson, so I suspect a Soros-like spa job may be in his future. I know of a great college of hair styling in North Carolina that may be in search of a director.)
But as the old saying goes, “You can’t cheat an honest man.” Neither can you seduce him. Democracy is wide open to all sorts of corruption, but only in the past forty years has it become an insulated national pandemic. Credit Mobilier, Teapot Dome, yes I know, but the size and scope of national crime associated with government has grown and become institutionalized as the size of government has grown. Even into Roosevelt’s day, it was still something you could ferret out.
Democratic (little “d”) corruption belongs where the people can see it close-up, locally, such as the county road department, and where the people can still storm the county office building with a rope and boiling oil. (Sorry, I just love that imagery.) The closer the people’s own money are to the corruption, the more politicians genuinely have to fear the people. Seriously, who, in Kansas is going to storm Murtha’s office because he stole a few hundred million to build an airport that no one flies in or out of? Besides the construction contract (local jobs) there are probably 20-30 full time jobs there now, so surely no one from his district is complaining. They’re accomplices to the theft. That’s how it works these days.
Clearly, the People have been under-served, but more by their institutions and their “Protectors” than by the rather predictable and corruption-tolerant politicians. The Founders assumed our politicians would behave the way they do. They also assumed the People would correct them, one way or the other, and they assumed it would be that band of what I call “protectors” who would keep them informed so they could keep local institutions in line. (Understanding the role of “protectors” vis a vis the Constitution and people, if you haven’t figured it out already, is a constant theme for us here. You can read more from an essay written last year, before the elections.)
What has replaced protectors over the years outside of the philosophical realms occupied by National Review and others, has been special interests lobbies. By and large I don’t disapprove of them, but as we have seen in the health care run up, all they inform (or frighten) voters about is their own special interest, their rice bowl. They will spell out pocketbook dangers, and usually throw in a word about “the children”. But it seems Liberty and the Constitution no longer have a special interest lobby, no matter how much Rush, et al proclaim that they are it. Special interest advertising reaches well past the AM Talk radio demographic and can move people who never heard of Glenn Beck. You hear their ads on Rock and Country FM. Black stations. Everyone who watches Channel 8 sees them. If Mr Limbaugh ever spent a dime telling people who watch the soaps, rather then listen to him, or watch local news at 5, that their Constitution, their freedom, their liberty are under assault with this health care bill, I’ve yet to see it or hear it. (But maybe he does.)
The People were never intended by the Founders to be policy wonks. They were supposed to simply go out and make the whole thing work. The Founders assumed they (we) would be informed when an eel was in the fish tank. The media was supposed to take care of that in part, but they quit the quality control department years ago, itching for a spot in the boardroom. That void has never been completely filed as news itself is a floating target.
The Founders also assumed the People would be properly educated, enough so to know what was and was not important to their House. Since the 1960s, with the rise of the Brat Generation (my own) that has been less and less the case. It would be way too long a tale to set out how the “greatest generation” sired the sorriest, but it happened in far too large a demographic to have been a mere accident. In short, since the 1960s, public education, K-through-grad school has been a progression of land mines laid on the foundations of virtues necessary to the building, sustaining and passing on of a viable House. After forty years, the blueprints have almost been lost.
Then there are (or were) the churches. The old mainstream churches (at the top) have become so secularly-pious, and politically correct that they stand just behind white Europeans as a dying breed. The healthier and more robust churchers, well, we know who they are, don’t we? They have already split the GOP in two because of quaint notions like a baby’s right to live, not to mention a willingness to drive a truck (pick up through 18-wheeler) or wade through a foot of mucky shite just to feed some pigs. My favorite Israeli calls them “red throats”. But they too have been under-served (by people like Huckaby) for never moving them forward on the primary foundations of Liberty on earth, which is the Constitution, not the book of Genesis. They have been kept parochial by some elements of the Right for the same reason inner city kids have been kept uneducated…and angry by the Left. It only figures that many would simply turn their backs on the world altogether.
Then there are civic organizations, (Lions, Kiwanis, Rotary, Scouting) which I’ve been working very hard the past two years. This is where you find the cream of America’s crop, success story after success story, many of them C-students-turned-millionaires (God, do Leftists and lawyers hate that brood). Sadly, their Constitutional evolution never passed 10th grade, so, while ever grateful for the narrow set of shoulders they stand on, they are no more aware of the broader set than they were as children. They all fancy themselves the “true protectors” of the Constitution, but on closer analysis, and a couple of scotches, we usually find their protection usually extends only the end of their driveway.
Then there is us, people who write, and read here, not a few of us who actually go out and stir things up. The Tea Party Movement indeed does represent the rise of a new “protector” class in America, and one, if we can win, that will be around for several generations. This is the most hopeful news I can report…and why we must win. I consider most of the people I read here, FrontPage and Diarists, to be genuine Tea Party types, in that we do what we can do, when we can do it…which for most, is in between the time we spend keeping hearth and home intact. But as my friend Bernie Chumm reminds us (in his piece on civility) there are quite a number who use blogs and posts as a sort of tithe, a vanity, a way of reading the sounds of one’s own voice.
WHAT NEXT (in my view)
Clearly, the paradigm that has keep this republic alive by a few thin tethers the past forty years has finally been severed. The people know and know less of the things that are truly important to their survival as a free people, and are now unable to communicate with their elected representatives, who, for a variety of reasons, are unafraid of them, and feel absolutely immune to any sort of retribution. Again, there were those who saw this coming a long time ago. Moses Sands called me on the phone in 1998, cursing to high heaven that he’d walked away from America in the 1960’s, assuming this could never happen. He wanted to write (for me to transcribe) a book. We never finished it. He headed to high pastures of the Rockies in 2006, in mid-winter.
As I wrote earlier, we can 1) stop health care, and Obama here and now, 2) we can take back the Congress in November, 2010, then repeal heath care and all the regulations and legislation that had followed, 3) we can take back Congress in November, 2012, then repeal heath care and all the regulations and legislation that had followed, or 4) we can take back Congress in one of those two cycles, then sit on our hands.
If we do not take back Congress by 2012, the next probable chance will be between 2032 and 2052. Here the Laws of Generations come into play.
Reason: Socialism in all its manifestations, including a one-world government model, dies usually within 2-3 generations. Believe it or not, the Left even knows this. They even know why, one primary cause being “bureaucratism”. This, not Marx, and not the uncouth Russian soul, is what killed the USSR.
You may ask, then, why would they want to do this if they know the outcome? Because they can’t help it, that’s why. The underlying seed of Marxism, socialism, elitism, is a primal human seed. In a very long-winded essay about three months ago, I tried to detail the mother seed of “liberalism” (as far back as the Greeks), as one that Karl Marx merely tapped. It is one of hatred by what today I call Cliff-Notes intellectuals, or pseudos, for those they consider beneath them intellectually, especially those who succeed, as America seemed not only to allow, but encourage. The Left defines itself by what it hates. When I realized this in the 1970s is when I quit being a liberal.
In this regard, Liberalism is truly a religion, or disease (your choice). But standing opposite, almost from the beginning of time, has been this much larger yearning for the masses to be free. Now if that’s the case, you may argue, then why have we not seen expressions of this quest for freedom in the past. There probably have been thousands, only no written record to report. The Spartacus revolt was an anomaly in that regard.
What this yearning to be free has always done, however, as I wrote earlier, is wreck, thus assisting the eventual fall of the rulers. Since socialism has never found a way to replicate feudalism, which lasted a thousand years (also known as the Dark Ages, just so you’ll know what might portend, it was in all the papers, and which umbrella’d several generations of feudal royal lines in Europe) they can be predicted with some certainty. The Russians lasted over 70 years, but went directly from a near-feudal state to communism, while East Europe, with much stronger ties to church and a cultural memory of a middle class, lasted only two generations. China will cast off the vestiges of communism inside another 30 years. Even Iran is into its last days.
What Americans need to be aware, and afraid of, is what comes next? What will emerge in America after 40 years in the wilderness? This is the scary stuff, and why we must fight now. There is no hard and fast set of rules. The Russians stayed free only a few years, and have turned decidedly fascistic. Worse, the Russian national character has become schizophrenic, paranoid and even psychopathic. People are even more afraid of one another now than they were under the communists, when there was only one common enemy. The Chinese are inveterate capitalists, but have no fixed beacons of morality (religion) with which temper it. When communism falls, they could become just one big Albania, a billion gangsters, or more likely warlords with nukes. Who knows? Even East Europe, often depending on the residual strength of their old institutions, cultural memory and religions, have another generation or two to go before redeveloping a new (and as yet unknown) national identity.
Imagine this heart-rending scene in America fifty years from now, as I have seen many time in the Balkans…of 80+ year old grandmothers and great-grandmothers, in church, teaching their 5 and 6 years great grandchildren how to cross themselves…for neither their children, nor grandchildren had ever been inside a church.
How America will emerge, then, in forty-fifty years, is anyone’s guess. But we will not be the same, no matter how well you (we) keep the flame in your own House. I will be a grandfather in February and this thought weighs heavily on me now.
Nor will the world be the same, as we will be depleted, while some potentially really bad guys will be stronger, much stronger. When Venezuela lands troops on the beaches of Puerto Rico, you’ll know we’ve hit rock bottom.
What we do know, and should never again lose sight of, is that this fight between Left and Right is basically a fight between Good and Evil, both sides assuming it is the Good side. Quite frankly, it’s a law that evil cannot win in perpetuity. But in light of the infiniteness of the battle, we have to look at this current fight in terms of what we do if we lose, and how we will wreck in the aftermath, as well as what we must do after the politics, if we win. First, we must take back our institutions, and probably more with meat cleaver than a butter knife. If someone in authority came out and said all librarians are fired, with 48 hours to clean out their desks, even though I know some are honest, decent upright, maybe even Christian, I’d stand up and cheer. Second, we must lay out plans to take back the popular culture which, even in the best of circumstances, will take forty years.
The safest, most efficient, and most constitutionally permitted way to accomplish that is through re-acquainting the American citizen with the blue prints of his House, for with those in tow, almost none of the excesses of our culture would ever occur. That is the quest Moses Sands set me out on in 1998, to reassert the House as a principle pillar of Liberty.