Note: This article ran in The Free Market News Network on March 30, 2005.
IN 1991 a sea change occurred here in
The significance of this was brought home in 1994 when Weld was reelected. Not long before, politics in Massachusetts and New England was an ethnic rivalry not far removed from that of the Kurds and the Sunnis - Episcopalian gentry and its management subsidiary voting in opposition to Catholic working class in an ancient scenario that found its roots in East Boston where John J. Quigley opened a bar with P.J. Kennedy a generation after his father came over from Ireland. That the same
There are rumors today the Mitt Romney will seek the presidency or the vice presidency, possibly as a running mate to John McCain. I see this as highly possible. During the crisis in
The war on
I worked up here in
But Howard Dean, who also opposed the war, sent a different message. I live about 200 feet from the state of
The problem the Democrats have now is that the war in
The mainstream parties are as polarized today as they were in 1831 and the Republicans at the helm today resemble the Jacksonians who mocked the policies and pretensions of northern Whigs in their heyday. After the Mexican war the South gained strength and the Whigs succumbed, regrouping under the aegis of the Republican banner with a new set of ideas. With Dean at the helm of the party the Democrats could conceivably succumb and meet the same fate as the Whigs.
With Dean on one end and Tom DeLay on the other, both parties are at their political extremes. But the center today is wide open as it was in the 1830s. This is the great opportunity for the Libertarians.
What is bringing the demise of the Democrats is a ritual attachment to ideas whose times have passed. That which necessity might have called forth 100 years back when half of Americans work in factories and the other half in fields no longer fits in an
In the years ahead we will see a new line develop. As the Republican Party rose from the ashes of the Whigs in the mid-1800s, so will we see a new movement arising. Perhaps, as David Brooks has written recently, with a larger-than-life figure or a heroic figure leading the charge, like Ross Perot or Arnold Swarzenegger. (Did someone say larger than life?)
But rather than a new party development more likely we will see a stronger competition developing within the two existing lines of the Republican party, loosely called economic conservatives and cultural conservatives, while the Democrats descend into irrelevance. The cultural conservatives reign freely now and the reelection of President Bush showed widespread support. But recent events in the Terri Schiavo case have shown the country a startling display of religious sentiment by the cultural conservatives, passionate and sanguine and some would say beyond reason; the kind of religious fervor akin to that left behind by northern Europeans long before the founding of the American republic. President Bush's approval rating has slipped into the mid 40s. How will the country respond now to a failure of the dollar or the collapse of General Motors or any other number of monetary and financial crises which seem to be just beyond the curtain and are most likely to occur in the next three years?
A division is occurring in the conservative movement between those guided by passion and those guided by reason and common sense. The vote by Congress to allow the federal courts to take over the Terri Schiavo case has created distress among some conservatives who say that lawmakers violated a cornerstone of conservative philosophy by intervening in the ruling of a state court, Adam Nagourney writes in The New York Times. Stephen Moore, a conservative advocate who is president of the Free Enterprise Fund, said: "I don't normally like to see the federal government intervening in a situation like this, which I think should be resolved ultimately by the family: I think states' rights should take precedence over federal intervention. A lot of conservatives are really struggling with this case," Nagourney reports.
And Senator John W. Warner of
This is where the Libertarians should nurture and cultivate the growing constituency disaffected with the tradition of the left but uncomfortable with the passion-driven reactions of the Republicans in power.
William Weld is prelude to a new direction of national politics that will take wing and rise out of this crisis and those ahead, just as the Republican Party rose out of crisis and sent
Consider a presidential ticket of John McCain and Mitt Romney, and with Arnold Schwarzenegger brought in as Secretary of State. The on-line magazine The Free Liberal calls
"Arnold Swarzenegger is a libertarian Republican, short and sweet," they write. "And the emergence of a true blue libertarian Republican to the forefront of the GOP spells disaster for social conservatives."
But not for Libertarians. A new century beginning with this line-up would bring a sea change to politics and would bring Libertarian ideals to the forefront of American political culture.