Republican Civil War

I just watched Senators DeMint and Murkowski, of South Carolina and Alaska, respectively, on CNN.  I do not recall senators in the same party ever using that kind of language about their own, especially in such a public venue.

Pat Buchanan is right to point out the parallels between the Tea Party and the rightwing rebellion of the Goldwater years that culminated in the election of Reagan in 1980. It took years before the Reagan Revolution came to fruition, and this is undoubtedly true now, as well.

Which is just as well.  Buchanan says, “This party is not ready to rule.”  He is talking about the GOP, but he might as well be talking about the Tea Party.  And, the conservative movement as a whole.

If one accepts that the credit crisis is only the first symptom of a far more dangerous crisis reflected in our growing debt and more fundamentally in the activities and existence of the Federal Reserve, which has colluded in the creation of this debt, and if one should believe that this situation was only made possible because of a particular ideological force, “liberalism” or statism or imperialism, or some combination thereof—if we are in a crisis that threatens the existence of the nation in a way that al-Qaeda could only have dreamt of—are these the leaders who will show the way?

Glenn Beck, Christine O’Donnell, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin?  The Republic of the Founders is dead and gone, and these are their supposed heirs.  Ron Paul is only one man in the House, and I don’t think that Ron Paul’s priorities are their priorities. If you really believe that the Federal Reserve and the federal government are as dangerous as we know them to be, these characters, who treat the limelight like a tanning salon, are not the answer.  And, if you should argue that they are better than the Rockefeller Republicans, never mind the Democrats, I will yield the point, but isn’t that the same argument the “moderate” Republicans are using at present?

How does the crisis we face now compare to that faced by the Founders?  It is difficult to judge, of course, because the country—if that’s what it was in 1776—was so different, and the mythical status of the period makes us naturally shy to compare their time with ours, but I suggest that we are in greater danger now than during the first tea party of 1773.  The American colonies were not in imminent danger of collapse.

If we are in a greater crisis, or a crisis of equal magnitude, or even in one only half as severe, are these the Washingtons to lead us across the Delaware?  If not a Washington, is there even a Patrick Henry?  Certainly Ron Paul may be that man, that John the Baptist of a new revolution.  But, the Tea Party is going to have to grow up pretty fast to fill even his shoes.

Unfortunately, nothing in the history of empire suggests that this is likely or even possible.  This society, despite some important points of progress—race relations most especially—has been transformed by nearly a century of activist progressivism.  Our republic rests on a balance of power between haves and have-nots.  Nobody would have the stomach to upset that balance if they knew the consequences, namely civil war.  Even the most radical tax-slashing, regulation-cutting, budget-balancing, nullification-promoting, strict constructionist, isolationist, fire-and-brimstone libertarian/conservative would not deliberately set about that course if he or she knew the amount of blood and treasure it would cost and that only a Pyrrhic victory would be possible in the end.

George Bush could not impose freedom on people who did not want it.  Are the American people different?

The political balance between social democracy and democratic capitalism cannot continue, of course, and so There Will Be Blood in any case, but after enough blood has been shed and some new Caesar steps to the fore, a new accommodation between the plebeians and the oligarchs will be found.

Until then, neither the time nor the Tea Party are ready for each other, although the Tea Party will probably form a more coherent force by the time of the 2016 election and may have found more plausible leadership.  But, neither the political parties nor the Tea Party are in the driver’s seat any more.  A century of progress is about to take its toll on the remnant of the republic.


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