Monday, July 31, 2006

A Confederacy by Other Means; to The Free Market News Network tomorrow, 8/1/06

by Bernie Quigley

As autumn rapidly approaches with the most important 2006 elections, panic rattles the hollows of the Shenandoah Valley. Virginia’s Senator George Allen is more than 10 points ahead of his Democratic opponent, the colorful, fierce and talented Jim Webb. Webb was four points up to Allen, and then in the last few weeks he fell back. And if Allen wins, they say, he will seek the Presidency.

Allen is getting a Git ‘R Done boost with the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. It is the same gut feeling of stirring power that arose in my old home town of Tobaccoville, NC, not a few years back now, as new post-war economy first began to boost spirits and moral across the South. It built a culture of Big Church, Big Hair, Big Guns and Big Cars, and Wailing Jennings and Johnny Cash to boot. It brought forth a life force and a richness of spirit unique to this country, born of Jesus, Grand Ole Opry and boot leg whiskey, and nothing quite like it had come before.

Git ‘R Done is the basic idea inherent in this current Iraqi war plan. You want to try to generate that sense of abject terror NASCAR drivers used to feel at the Wilkesboro track near us when they saw the big black car with the big number 3 on it coming down directly upon them at 140 miles an hour. For fighting wars this indigenous sense of élan is a necessary component. But winning wars takes something else.

The colorful and perceptive Grady McWhiney, historian of the South and the plain folk of the South, said spirited Confederate generals fought the same way. Without question, Lee had a strategy and it was not all that different from General Giap's exactly 100 years later – fight until the Others got tired and went home.

But Islam will never get tired, and the more we git ‘em in Iraq and Lebanon, the more unified they become from Spain to India.

Allen will fade by November, but 75% of Republicans still say the invasion of Iraq was worth it. Well, had you polled the fallen Confederacy in 1870, you'd have gotten better than 75%.

One unintended consequence of the Israeli invasion could well be the lifting of the veil of the Israeli army. We in the West have presented an image of toughness and testosterone for almost two decades now, designed by Jerry Bruckheimer and his Hollywood cohorts (from Wikipedia: “thumping pop music soundtrack, simplistic plots, and highly telegenic if sometimes improbable cast members”) and Detroit with its tough trucks and tough talking ads. And the constant propaganda from the neocons and their fellow travelers and coat carriers: It is the end of time itself! History is over! We won! We are the world’s only Superpower! Again and again however, failure grinds down the rhetoric and we are once again reminded of Vietnam.

I keep hearing not to forget the lessons of Vietnam but then I keep forgetting them again.

Recently, at the funeral of my old and dear friend, Barr Ashcraft, (above, left) who photographed the war in Vietnam for Time/Life and with whom I’d passed many nostalgic evenings in Chinese restaurants reminiscing about South East Asia, I had some opportunity to reflect. I think Barr might have appreciated or at least nodded benignly at my consideration that the war in Vietnam could not have been won because the Vietnamese people and the Vietnamese spirit could not be conquered. Nor, as we are seeing today, could the South be truly conquered. There are other ways to territorialize the Others – school prayer, Creationism, anti-abortion laws, gay marriage amendments and open gun laws – anything which gets a rise on the Charles River. Allen calls himself a Jeffersonian Republican. That’s code for States Rights. Politics is war by other means.

Nor can Islam be conquered.

Technology in Vietnam was a substitute. Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the war in Vietnam, who admitted later that he hadn’t a clue, nevertheless had unbridled optimism about the technology. The war in Vietnam would be won by technology. It was supposed to be sensitive enough to track a man peeing in Laos on the Ho Chi Mihn Trail. But it didn’t. Nor did it track any large trucks or munitions carriers. The North Vietnamese were using ox carts. McNamara felt tricked.

Either way, win or lose, in Iraq or in Virginia, I think Allen will seek the Presidency. It’s that Hillary thing. Bill keeps giving all those speeches. That boy can’t help himself. Elvis won’t leave the building. I hear from perceptive political watchers that if Senator Clinton seeks the Presidency in 2008, the Republicans will not give it to John McCain, who wants it badly and who would win easily. They will extend themselves, and push for someone in the corner of the more conservative Christian Right.

Allen has just the face. He looks and sounds a little like Ronald Reagan, and the nostalgico wing of the Republicans will go for him. He could win against Senator Clinton.

But this would be poor citizenship by both parties. Both of these people are antagonists. Neither are good managers and it’s a management thing, stupid.

The same source says that if such a case occurs and he predicts that it will, then Alan Greenspan’s prediction of a third-party challenge in 2008 or 2012 will come about. Then Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York, will step forth as a third-party Independent candidate; a moderate conservative with an emphasis on management, competence and excellence rather than ideology. Disgraced (but not stupid) and Rehabilitated Clinton pundit Dick Morris says the time has never been better for a third-party candidate.

Bloomberg could build a mature conservative bi-partisan effort of “New West” Republicans, Libertarians and a few Democrats away from the Clinton wave. And in a three-way race with Senator Clinton and Allen, he could win. Picture this: Mike Bloomberg as President, Wes Clark as Vice President and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Secretary of State. It would carry the day and it would carry the next 20 years. Then either the Old South Republicans with George Allen at the helm, or the Clinton Democrats with Hillary at the helm, would demise.

General Clark wouldn’t do it. He’s committed to his ticket. And given the outside possibility that the Democrats come to their senses, he could very well get the nomination himself. I’d pick someone from the West for Bloomberg’s ticket; Mitt Romney (of Utah, by way of Michigan and Boston), if he would take it.

But here is another possible scenario. In a three-way race between Senator Clinton, Mike Bloomberg and George Allen, all three candidates could come in under 50%. And Article II of the Constitution, I have been informed, demands that the House of Representatives chose the victor if no candidate gets more than 50%. Bloomberg would then do poorly, because there are no Independents in the House yet to back him. Hillary might do well because the Democrats will likely pick up a few seats in the House in 2006. The House of Representatives would then choose Hillary as President.

That would be some bad kung fu. The South will not be governed by Hillary. It would bring on a Constitutional crisis. Richard A. Viguerie, who pioneered the contemporary conservative movement, already has to be thinking about a Constitutional Convention now that the Bush Presidency has failed his organization. There was never a political solution to the issues of the Christian Right in the first place. There is only a Constitutional solution, one that would perhaps devolve some rights and responsibilities from federal government to state governments and regional circles. And under President Hillary, Tom DeLay would soon find his way to The League of the South, which calls for "natural states" and seeks secession by democratic and legal means. The South would call for a Constitutional Convention and seek limited or complete autonomy.

And who would stop it from doing so today? Howard Dean?


Johnny Reb said...

Interesting blog. Keep up the good work.


Johnny Reb
Bartow County History

Anonymous said...

A good read. I'm looking for info on the civil war and anything related to it.


SCV member

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