16.7.17

IT TAKES SOMETHING TO BEAT NOTHING.

The American Conservative reposted a lament by longtime Republican court intellectual Bruce Bartlett.
The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal—and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today. Viewed in historical context, I see Obama as actually being on the center-right.

At this point, I lost every last friend I had on the right. Some have been known to pass me in silence at the supermarket or even to cross the street when they see me coming. People who were as close to me as brothers and sisters have disowned me.

I think they believe they are just disciplining me, hoping I will admit error and ask for forgiveness. They clearly don’t know me very well. My attitude is that anyone who puts politics above friendship is not someone I care to have in my life.
His fear at the time was that his allegedly conservative brethren failed to have a message that might appeal to, well, an electoral majority in a presidential election, and to the relevant majorities in elections to the Senate and House of Representatives. Then the Affordable Care Act came unglued, and the Obama stimulus packages failed to stimulate, and, well, you know ...

Today, Mr Bartlett finds himself a man without a party.  "I am part of the reason why Democrats have not been successful in the Trump era. I am someone who should be a Democrat, but I’m not. Let me explain."  It comes down to the major parties behaving as if the median voter theorem no longer works.
I’ve grown to hate my former party. You’d think this would make me a prime candidate for recruitment by the Democrats. But I’m not. First, no Democrat has ever reached out to me. I am not insulted by this, only surprised. And my efforts to suggest ideas to Democrats have been uniformly rebuffed. Like the Republicans, Democrats are wary of apostates and are only receptive to those born into their church, it seems.
I'd add: and that church appears to be prophesying a future for the United States that is a third world, San Francisco style, if it's not a third world, Baltimore style.  Mr Bartlett isn't quite blunt enough to suggest that, preferring to suggest that resistance for its own sake isn't good enough.

And that resistance is failing, according to Victor Hanson.
Rather, the lesson is that progressives should have offered alternative political visions that might have won back the American people rather than attempting to terminate the Trump presidency on charges to which the progressive side was far more vulnerable.

Now that Trump is emerging from successful House special elections and has fended off six months of media attacks, celebrity invective and progressive efforts to abort his tenure, he seems to be going back on the offensive.
Well, maybe not, and Our President is often his own worst enemy, particularly among political establishment types, some of whom might be sympathetic to business-friendly regulatory agencies or to a more muscular national security stance at the borders and overseas.  But it's not as if failures of Our President, or inaction by a Republican majority that might be as surprised to hold both legislative chambers and, at least on paper, the Oval Office, will make those disaffected voters all of a sudden enthusiastic for single-payer health insurance or more affirmative action in education or more taxes on pop or any of the rest.

It was not so much Richard Nixon offering a different vision as it was Johnson, McCormick, and Albert over-reaching.

Ronald Reagan's city on a hill looked better contrasted with whatever it was Carter, O'Neill, and Mansfield succeeded by Byrd were offering.

And "Make America Great Again" requires the floundering efforts of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid to hold their fractious coalition together: at the margin having the ticket headed by Hillary "Basket of Deplorables" Clinton could not have helped matters.

I mean, when Maureen Dowd sees it.
Democrats are going to have to come up with something for people to be for, rather than just counting on Trump to implode. (Which he will.) The party still seems flummoxed that there are big swaths of the country where Democrats once roamed that now regard the Democratic brand as garbage and its long-in-the-tooth leadership as overstaying its welcome. The vibe is suffocating. Where’s the fresh talent?

In a new piece in The Atlantic, [Chicago mayor Rahm] Emanuel and Bruce Reed — who engineered their party’s last takeover of Congress in 2006, the first since 1994 — argue that Democrats need to channel their anger and make 2018 a referendum on Trump’s record, not his impeachment.

In dwindling swing districts, Emanuel told me, Democrats need to choose candidates who are pro-middle class, not merely pro-poor.
Perhaps, although City Journal's Kay Hymowitz suggests it's too late.
No Democrat on the scene today possesses the Lincolnesque political skills to persuade liberal voters to give up their assumptions of white deplorability, endorse assimilation, or back traditional civics education. In the current environment, a Democratic civics curriculum would teach that American institutions are vehicles for the transmission of white supremacy and sexism, hardly a route to social cohesion. As for assimilation, Hispanic and bilingual-education advocacy organizations would threaten a revolt—and they’d only be the first to sound the alarm.

Appeasing deplorables may yet prove unnecessary, though. Democrats’ strategy of awaiting “inevitable” demographic change in the electorate, combined with the hope that Trump and the Republican Congress will commit major unforced errors, may allow the party to regain control of the country without making any concessions to the large portion of the U.S. population whom they appear to despise.
Perhaps not, although there's still that messy friction between the technocratic policy intellectuals and their upscale neighbors, and the rainbow coalition being enabled in their reluctance to buy into America.

And I'm adopting a moderate tone.  You want something colorful, read Kunstler interpreting The Exorcist.
The pea soup represents the sort of ideology that the Democratic Party has spewed out in recent years — a toxic mush of racial identity politics, contempt for men, infantile entitlement tantrums, corporate whoring, and a demonic quest for war with the Russian Federation. Father Merrin, the priest, stands for incorruptible American men, who have been, at last, killed off by this barrage of diabolical idiocy.
No Men's Rights Activist, no Red Piller, no Alt-Right brawler he. And yet:
Lately, people refer to this bygone era of the 1960s as “the American High” — and by that they are not talking about smoking dope (though it did go mainstream then), but rather the post World War Two economic high, when American business might truly ruled the planet. Perhaps the seeming strength of American political leaders back then was merely a reflection of the country’s economic power, which since has been squandered and purloined into a matrix of rackets loosely called financialization — a criminal magic act whereby wealth is generated without producing anything of value.

Leaders in such a system are bound to be not just lesser men and women but something less than human. Hillary Clinton, for instance, lost the 2016 election because she came off as demonic, and I mean that pretty literally. To many Americans, especially the ones swindled by the magic of financialization, she was the reincarnation of the little girl in The Exorcist. Donald Trump, unlikely as it seems — given his oafish and vulgar guise — was assigned the role of exorcist. Unlike poor father Merrin, he sort of succeeded, even to his very own astonishment. I say sort of succeeded because the Democratic Party is still there, infested with all its gibbering demons, but it has been reduced politically to impotence and appears likely to soon roll over and die.
The American High might have led to the victory dividend resource curse, and financial innovations are not dangerous per se, but traders who forget that bulls might get rich and bulls might get rich, and pigs will get slaughtered.

And perhaps -- here's a different Victor Hanson post -- it's the old saecular order that is due to roll over and die, and perhaps it shall be pushed: "Trump in Samson fashion is quite willing to pull the temple down on top of himself, if it means his enemies perish first."

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