Thursday, December 31, 2009

9/11 and 12/25: Obama’s dilemma

After almost a year of his presidency the first impression given by Barack Obama holds up: That he is a smart guy, a nice guy, a guy who wants to do the right thing. But questions arise now as to whether or not he has the ability to do the right thing. It has been proposed here at The Hill and elsewhere that Janet Napolitano be fired. She has no place in her job. But does Obama have the character to fire her? Does he understand management’s necessities? Does he understand battle?

Here, there and everywhere after the terrorist attempt on Christmas Day in Detroit heroically thwarted by a passenger, the original feelings came up again that first surfaced after 9/11. The same feelings I felt when troops were first sent to Tora Bora; mixed feelings that sadness, helplessness would now be vindicated by courage and neutralized by vengeance and possibly justice. George W. Bush said he would bring Osama bin Laden back dead or alive. It was not a bad thing to want then or now.

12/25 might in time and time not far along, prove to be a very good day for George W. Bush. Maybe not so good for Barack Obama. Because Obama from here on out will be compared to Bush.

Obama will be haunted now by a liberal attitude that has poisoned his candidacy and his presidency. Wesley Clark ran for President in 2004 with policies that opposed the invasion of Iraq. Howard Dean also opposed the invasion of Iraq. But what happened, and it was not entirely Dean’s fault, is that a vast swarth of liberal America moved to Dean because they opposed not just the invasion of Iraq but war, they opposed unpleasantness; they opposed violence, THEY OPPOSED ALL WAR; THEY OPPOSED THE IDEA OF WAR. It was a historic carriage from the anti-war movement of the Sixties and Seventies. I attended the first demonstrations that opposed the invasion of Iraq in Montpelier, VT, and the same people were there who were there in the Sixties. People like Dave Dellinger of the Chicago Seven, aging Norma Desmonds, waiting for Max to come in for their final close ups.

This was not Dean’s position. It was not Obama’s. And it was certainly not Wes Clark’s, who said, “When I say I’ll bring back Osama bin Laden dead or alive, I mean it,” But what accumulated in the liberal path to 2008 was a hope that the need for violence would simply go away; a pacifistic denial of the reality of the situation and the responsibilities attached to it that we faced after 9/11. And Obama was seen as the “anti-war” president.

Maybe he is.

12/25 has refocused America’s energies. It has brought us back to square one when half the men in my town were wearing fire fighter’s hats.

War prepares people for more war. World War I displaced the isolationism of the 19th century and conditioned the country for more focused efforts in WW II. Likewise the Mexican War brought America, north and south, out of the benign utopianism of the previous decades and refocused their efforts on moral and political issues.

The first few years in Iraq may have brought such conditioning. The passivism of the Sixties is passing now as that generation passes. The necessities of safety are coming out of denial. This will be the telling year for America and for Obama, the question is, does he have the abilities and the character to face up.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

China kills an Englishman

by Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/30/09

The first thing Master Fogg taught my kids was how to say hello. He would bow from the waist to show respect to the opponent. Then he would make a fist with his right hand and cover it with his left. This indicates that you come in peace but you have hidden strength. Then Master Fogg would uncover his fist and shake it at the kids to reveal his power. With the execution of a British subject China is revealing its fist.

Reports say this is the first execution of a Westerner in 50 years. The Englishman was alleged to be involved in drugs but this is not about a specific criminal offense, as Copenhagen was not about climate change. Like the chairs at Copenhagen, this has symbolic and diplomatic value. It should emphasize the rapidly changing relationships between China and America, China and the West, China and the world. We are beginning to see the realignment of spheres which inevitably follows shifts in economy.

It has been a theme of the Obama presidency that because he is black, because he has an Islamic-sounding name, antagonism between light and dark, rich and poor, antagonisms based on 1,700 year differences and those brand new, would evaporate. This is the stuff of the undergraduate coffee shop. It was escapist for Americans to welcome it and it has been a valuable tool to our competitors and enemies. Iran and China in particular have taken advantage. As Master Fogg explained it so that any eight-year-old could understand it, a competitor’s weakness is as valuable as one’s own strength, and ours is a foreign policy of weakness, theater and denial.

We are entering a historic sea change. I would see it as the end of the kind of leisurely market-based globalism we have experienced since Reagan and possibly a return to nation states and new groupings of nation states.

The key moment came in Copenhagen: Hew Jintao set the table for the new century and formed a practical working quarternity of China, India, South Africa and Brazil. There was no chair for Obama; no room for the West.

This new grouping makes economic sense for China and its subsets. It establishes dominance by the major player with clarity and a touch of violence. Japan has clearly stated – and posted it on the NYTs op-ed page for all to read – that its first friendships are in the East. It makes sense. China is a Marxist/Leninist country. It makes sense that developing countries like Brazil team with China. It makes sense that those countries rich in commodities like South Africa bond with China which is buying up all the stuff. In this regard our foreign policy usually consists of sending Secretary Clinton over there for group hugs with large and colorfully dressed black women in the marketplace. Probably no longer enough. South Africa sent an earlier message to our new African-American president that they wouldn’t be seeing the Dalai Lama now, so as not to upset their new Chinese friends and patrons. It makes sense.

We need to rebuild our approach and our perspective on our place in the world in the new century on very basic levels. I believe we should start at the college level to build responsible, committed and effective citizenship and leadership and once we begin, it will take a generation. We need to think of new relationships and organic conceptualizations which follow the contours of history; which follow the contours of the centuries ahead, not the centuries behind. Possibly the Anglosphere, which includes the U.S., Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand, should be looked at as a vital defense, cultural and diplomatic sphere. We need to send the utopians back to Vermont. We need diplomats like Kennan, we need soldiers like Eisenhower and we have never been further away from that. Maybe a ROTC program for diplomats and government as well as military and if effete northeastern colleges and universities are too fey and transcendent to participate they get not a penny of federal funding for anything else. Like they do it in China.

We need a new professional ethic – possibly one as rigorous as that which China has had for centuries – in which the appointment of political tokens and favorites like Hillary and Napolitano would be considered treasonous and un-American.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

2010 Rising Karma: Palin, Perry, Romney, William Daley. Palin will be nominee.

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/26/09

History turns in a moment: Harper’s Ferry, Trafalgar, Dien Bien Phu. The Democrats may have seen such a moment with Ben Nelson this week in Nebraska so it might be worth marking that page. At year’s end it is worth looking forward to what is likely to rise ahead. These four will be key: Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and William Daley.

Sarah Palin: She was seen from the very beginning as a rising star – a cultural awakener similar to Andrew Jackson – bringing a whole new cultural paradigm to the political process; a new heartland spirit of individualism and self reliance as per Emerson and Barry Goldwater. The widespread, deep and immediate hysteria in the MSM was a sure indication that she was a threat to the old temple and would be a vital new force in the rising century. This week the non-partisan Research 2000, which conducts research and focus groups, states simply, “Palin will be the 2012 GOP Nominee.”

Rick Perry: “I love Sarah Palin,” Perry said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. The Tea Party movement has found wide support this past year. Recently 41% chose it over Democrat or Republican. Texas governor Perry was the first to stand publically with it and he has not backed down. The influential conservative marketer Richard Viguerie of the Reagan-era Christian Coalition supports this movement but has lamented that this “Constitutional moment” has no leader. Perry is the leader and his status will rise with this movement. The Conservative Party initiatives at NY 23 and the huge Republican victory in Virginia’s governor’s race reflect this new paradigm.

Mitt Romney: Romney has kept a low profile this last year while Perry and Palin have spoken out. But in a speech several months back he called the Town Hall and Tea Party activists “courageous.” There is in fact nothing radical in these initiatives and nothing particularly controversial. They simply go against the ingrained conventional wisdom and the conditioned reflex. To look at some of Romney’s speeches and talks when he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney has long been considering issues that are popular now with the Tea Party people as simple organizational principles evolved from the Reagan Era. He essentially has no conflict with these groups. As it was with Andrew Jackson, at the core of this new public expression is the rise of the western states to political maturity and economic prominence. The main question going into 2012 is who will Palin pick for running mate, Perry or Romney?

William Daley: Stated here first in the Big Question forum at The Hill several weeks back: Obama’s Democrats are in trouble. They need to start again with William Daley prominently in the front room. Suggested that Obama might bring in Daley and his friends, New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger and start from scratch. This weekend, as the Democratic Congress touts its big victory, Daley sounded a warning. In a Washington Post interview he wrote, “Either we plot a more moderate, centrist course or risk electoral disaster not just in the upcoming midterms but in many elections to come.”

Daley, a long-time Democratic activist, is in Washington Post columnist David Broder’s opinion, “ . . . one of the canniest Democrats I know.” Broder said Democrats should heed Daley’s “steer to the center” advice.

Obama is not listed here as part of the 2010 rising karma because his momentum is receding and his status and organization took a major hit at Copenhagen. His profile will continue to recede if the Democrats don’t change their ways. Connecticut senator Chris Dodd was critical this past week of the poor Senatorial decorum of the new people in Congress. It should be expected when Democratic publicists and advisors sent up a constant call in 2008 for a “rock star.” And one new senator in Dodd’s sight is in real life a standup comic. For five years the Democrats have passed over some their best, brightest and most capable people for “rock stars,” celebrities and utopians. Daley saved Al Gore from catastrophic failure in his race again George W. Bush. If Obama does not bring him in and get a new start, the Democrats will not hold against the rising conservative tide.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Congress’s “Lost Weekend”: Rick Perry and Reagan lawyers - More state sovereignty initiatives on the way

By Bernie Quigley

- For The Hill on 12/24/09

The Nancy and Harry show suggests a mad adolescent rush like in those classic Hollywood b movies where the parents go out of town and the teens take over the house (and the Senate) for the weekend. Or the drunken euphoria of Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend. Or Animal House maybe, staring Barney Frank as John Belushi. Wreak havoc now while you can. The grown-ups will be back in force anytime now. But I see it as a long – almost 20 years now - process of irresponsible government and the abdication of public will and responsibility which began with the Clintons and advanced with George W. Bush. A process we hoped would end with Obama. The next president will be an adult, was New York mayor Mike Bloomberg’s auspicious comment as Obama was moving toward Mile High Stadium. Too early to say.

But authority may not come back after the lost weekend. It may find another path. Again this week there were new initiatives awakening the Jeffersonian approach; that is, state and regional defenses against federal malfeasance. Here are three.

Rick Perry opposes “unprecedented federal intrusion”: Gov. Rick Perry this week sent a letter asking other governors to join him in ongoing efforts to assert the constitutional rights of states as guaranteed under the 10th Amendment with regard to the federal health care bill being forced through by Congress. He urged the governors to support and join efforts by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and several other state attorneys general to determine the constitutionality of a compromise in the pending federal health care legislation exempting the state of Nebraska from increased Medicaid costs resulting from the bill’s passage.

Washington state’s attorney general, Rob McKenna, has recently appeared on Fox’s Neil Cavuto’s show discussing the similar issues. He made the point that this kind of state-based initiative was recently pioneered by liberal governers – Arnold Schwarzenegger and others – when they sued the federal government on environmental issues.

States Can check Washington’s Power: There is a way to deter further constitutional mischief from Congress and the federal courts, and restore some semblance of the proper federal-state balance, say David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey in an op ed this past week in the Wall Street Journal. That is to give to states—and through them the people—a greater role in the constitutional amendment process. “The idea is simple, and is already being mooted in conservative legal circles.” Rivkin and Casey, Washington, D.C.-based attorneys, served in the Department of Justice during the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

Vermont will have an independence candidate in the upcoming governor’s race: Fifth generation Vermonter and Kirby businessman Dennis P. Steele, who is founder and CEO of Free Vermont Radio is heading a ticket seeking Vermont independence. Mr. Steele, who is running for Governor, will be joined by Burlington businessman and political activist Peter Garritano, who will announce his candidacy for Lt. Governor. From their press release: “What these candidates have in common is a commitment to bring home the Vermont National Guard troops from Afghanistan and Iraq now as well as a commitment to return Vermont to its status as an independent republic as it was between January 15, 1777 and March 4, 1791.”

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Is America the new Tibet? What happened in Copenhagen . . .

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/23/09

Those who look for meaning in swirling things in the sky will find them, especially on Winter Solstice. But the older rabbis tell us to look beneath the surface to find essentials, and what happened beneath the surface at Copenhagen is worth reporting. It was a modest nightmare, like one of those unsettling dreams like you are walking on the edge of a cliff, or strolling in public to suddenly realize you are naked, or that you go to your office and someone has taken your chair away. That’s what happened to America in Copenhagen. The new world order came together and they forgot to set a chair for Obama.

I guess they forgot to read Sun Tzu on the ride over as suggested here. The only object of war and politics is to psychologically destabilize your opponent, said Sun Tzu. Like taking his chair away. Everything else will follow from that. But there could be another meaning to that dream; it could mean you are not prepared for the nuance and subtly required for the actions ahead and that could apply as well. Obama arrived late, just at the end, just in time to declare victory, but the Chinese considered it “grandstanding.”

“It was almost unthinkable,” wrote Charles Babington and Jennifer Loven of the Associated Press. “The President of the United States walked into a meeting of fellow world leaders and there wasn’t a chair for him, a sure sign he was not expected, maybe not even wanted.”

It was downhill from the beginning. China would send a second-tier official, Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei instead of Premier Wen Jiabao to meet with Obama, a classic diplomatic snub. At a later meeting they sent an even lower official. “I don’t want to mess around with this anymore, I want to just talk with Premier Wen,” said a rattled Obama.

What is interesting here is that Obama, looking for a friend while cooling his heels in waiting for Wen, headed over to chat with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Then he did some male bonding with his Euro bros, England, France and Germany. Meanwhile, the four-nations known as BASIC – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – gathered together without American representation. Wen agreed to meet with Obama, then changed the time, then after some strategic confusion, didn’t.

Obama expected to meet with Wen alone but after more confusion, aides told him that Wen was in the meeting with the leaders of the three other BASIC countries, apparently talking strategy without him.

The NYTs reported that Obama virtually busted into the room with Hillary in tow, calling out and demanding to know if Wen would see him.

Inside the room he found the started leaders and no chair for him to sit in.

“I’m going to sit by my friend Lula,” he said, moving toward Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. A Brazilian aide then gave his chair to Obama. Babington and Loven based their account on dozens of interviews and statements by key players from numerous countries.

It’s not clear how close a friend Lula actually is to Obama. What seems clear is that India, Brazil and most of the developing countries were taking their cues from China. While France, Germany, England and even Russia were siding up to Obama.

It is very possible to see here the awakening of a new world order and the beginnings of things in an east/west pattern that will work their way through this century and into the next, just as it was possible to see what would rise ahead as the world’s nations postured and posed at Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Could be problems here. I added them up and they have like two billion more people than we have.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

William Butler Yeats and the avatars

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/22/09

Ross Douthat, the best man on the NYTs’ op-ed page, has a good piece this week about the movie, Avatar, the blockbuster hit that is about to set the new zeitgeist. There is some worry in his essay as he correctly points out that this film by James Cameron is an anthem to pantheism, a faith in opposition to the “literal mindedness of the monotheistic religions” that equates God with nature, “and calls humanity into religious communion with the natural world.”

He gives a good appraisal of where we have been sailing these past 60 years. Joyce Carol Oates called what she saw around her in the 1970s a “new pantheism.” Certainly the hippie movement at its best – Ina May Gaskins’ group in Tennessee, for example, and the great San Francisco scene in 1967 – was pantheistic before the hippies turned to Wall Street and Bill and Hillary. And the movies Star Trek and Star Wars were primarily a struggle between Protestant Ethic (Captain Kirk, its avatar) and pantheism (Luke Skywalker); possibly reflecting America’s original struggle between Hamilton and Jefferson. Mel Brooks correctly understood it when he identified the sky walkers as “new druids” in Spaceballs. And although Ronald Reagan declared the Soviet Union to be the Evil Empire, by the last set in the Star Wars series it was clear that reference was being made to the U.S. Congress during the Clinton Presidency and the sky walkers – pantheists – were clearly secessionist. So Douthat’s worries about this movement are well founded.

It is natural to look for avatars at the end of things because they bring new beginnings, but pantheism has most always run parallel with Christianity and the theistic traditions. See the parades this week throughout Germany of Santa and his dark aspect, Black Peter. In County Sligo, Ireland, where I probably have cousins, William Butler Yeats found that the most aboriginal of Catholics – Yeats’ “visionary peasants” - did not believe in ghosts but did believe in fairies, leprechauns, water-horses and fallen angels because “they stand to reason.”

Yeats advised that “Everything exists, everything is true and the earth is only a little dust under our feet.” So he would probably have no problems’ with Avatar. It is wrong to put words in the mouths of the dead, but he might approve.

Yeats saw a far worse fate rising at the beginning of our age which was identified by Yeats and Co. back then the Age of Aquarius; an age which began, incidentally, in the year 2001.

He wrote of a positive avatar born to a prostitute in a Paris slum – Kurt Cobain would come to mind in the story had it been set in Seattle. But he wrote as well the most famous of predictions and the most dreadful: A great golem would appear and bring us slouching to war in Bethlehem. And there we have gone these last ten years, the first ten years of Aquarius and the end of an age in which the center no longer held.

I’m not sure the new age has started yet. I don’t think it has. Yeats wrote at a time when there was no middle class, no electricity, but they would rise in his lifetime. Today we have these things but we have no Yeats and perhaps we have no “Hope and Memory.” And their daughter who’s “name is Art” is absent as well. And Yeats’s day saw the first yearnings to rise into space. Avatar, like Lost and the TV Survivor series presents a yearning at the beginning of our new century to return to earth. It augers for an age of returning to that from which we came. Maybe this century we will find the sisters here again; Hope, Memory and Art, here on earth, our only home.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cordelia Ruth Tucker: Working Class Hero – Hard Hats v. Hippies

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/21/09

There was a time – before Starbucks, before Bill and Hillary, before the Rolling Stones – when liberals supported working class people. No longer. But back then no one represented the strong and fearless heartbeat of American working people like West Virginia coal miners. They were the stuff of legend chronicled in folklore, bluegrass and folk music. In the ‘50s we’d listen in pained silence for word about mine disasters even way up here in New England. We shared in the lives of the miners. If they could find the strength to survive in the mines we could survive on the surface. They were the canaries of our own desire. No longer, as the recent occurrence at Sundail, WV, makes clear.

The signs say it all: “WV Miners Say Go Home Tree Huggers.” Storm clouds appear to be gathering above the Appalachian coal country because of “the slap heard round the cornfields.” What happened, according to AP reports, is Cordelia Ruth Tucker, wearing the fluorescent-striped shirt of a miner, strode past West Virginia state troopers and into a stream of marchers protesting mountaintop removal mining to deliver an audible smack. “The 54-year-old Rock Creek woman isn't talking as she awaits trial on a battery charge,” says the report. “Her neighbor, environmental activist Judy Bonds, says she was on the receiving end of the slap.”

Tree huggers vs. coal miners is an advanced historic theme which began in the mid-Sixties. Then it was hard hats vs. hippies. The papers and news magazines were full of it; pictures of white – always white – construction workers with lunch pails wearing hard hats adorned with American flag decals scornfully watching hippies pass by. It was the time of the three wizards: Ira Einhorn, Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman – dead or in jail now (Einhorn, for murdering his girl friend). As it is with wizards, they inspired others to their labors and these three – icons of the counterculture (Einhorn was co-founder of Earth Day) and hippie movement – found armies including Presidents and Vice Presidents.

The generation which rose from this had many names. They/we were only one generation away from factory, field and mines ourselves most of us. But as the Senate votes this morning on a monumental piece of leisure class entitlement legislation like we have never seen before and very likely will never see again in our country, John Kenneth Galbraith’s phrase coined in 1992, “the culture of contentment” might be the best.

The hard hats v. hippies moment was much like this miners v. tree huggers moment but the incident at Sundial comes at a different point in history. A time when the culture of contentment has reached its endgame. And a time when an amorphous tax revolt in sweeping the heartland. The tax revolt is a movement looking for an agent, looking for a spark. And it so happens this past week that the conservative, libertarian-leaning Tea Party movement is more popular than either the Democratic or the Republican parties, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

MSNBC reports that the Republican Party maintains its net-negative favorable/unfavorable rating in the poll, with 28 percent viewing it positively and 43 percent seeing it in a negative light. For the first time in more than two years, the Democratic Party also now holds a net-negative fav/unfav, at 35-45 percent.

By comparison, the NBC/WSJ poll shows the Tea Party movement with a net-positive 41-23 percent score.

Randy Moss: The way of greatness and nobility . . .

"I've been in this league 12 years, and I've been through a lot. And these shoulders that I have on my body, you can put the earth on it. So just to let you know, I bounced back. I appreciate it."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Culture of Incompetence: Obama’s insidious comment; Hillary must go

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/17/09

In Stephen Colbert’s recent book, “I am American (and so can you),” he said he doubted that Charles Gibson had the seriousness to take on the job at ABC. His concerns were warranted. A favorite of Obama, it should be noted that before they sent him off to the back room, Obama gave Gibson a final infomercial. And the language Obama used, declaring that "the federal government will go bankrupt” if the Congress does not pass a health care bill, was amateurish and obsequious. It was also dark and threatening.

Obama’s planned and planted comment with his MSM favorite has an insidious shadow phase: Obama is beginning to prepare the country for economic collapse and surreptitiously strategizing to blame it on his enemies. Possibly Geithner has warned him about the Elliot Wave theory which gives the dollar a short life expectancy. Possibly he has been reading the commentary of Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, who wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal that Obama’s policies are the equivalent of steering the economy toward an iceberg. Perhaps he was watching inflation tick up and the dollar down.

The agreeability and cooperativeness of Gibson and the MSM Others with government, with information agencies, with lobbyists and international agencies goes beyond the Obama presidency. It has come to create a global culture of professional incompetence. So the New York Times report this morning that as widespread fraud in the Afghanistan presidential election was becoming clear three months ago, the No. 2 United Nations official in the country, the American Peter W. Galbraith, proposed enlisting the White House in a plan to replace the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

It takes until paragraph 13 to get to the name Ashraf Ghani. The NYTs report states that Kai Eide, the top United Nations official in Kabul, wrote last week that Galbraith’s proposal would begin with “a secret mission to Washington,” then “If the vice president agreed with Galbraith’s proposal they would approach President Obama with the following plan: President Karzai should be forced to resign as president.” Then “ . . . a new government would be installed led by a former finance minister, Ashraf Ghani, or a former interior minister, Ali A. Jalali, both favorites of American officials.”

Nowhere in this morning’s NYTs report is the name James Carville mentioned. And it apparently did not raise eyebrows in the MSM or anywhere else that James Carville was running the campaign of Ashraf Ghani. That is, the same group, the Carville Cartel, that has been running the life of the current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband for the past 20 years was running the candidacy of Ashraf Ghani, who the other elements hoped to use to replace Karzai in the planned overthrow of the elected Afghan government.

Richard C. Holbrooke, American envoy to Afghanistan, told the NYTs he was unaware of the idea. “And it does not reflect in any way any idea that Secretary Clinton or anyone else in the State Department would have considered,” he said.
Just another la-di-dah moment; a day in a life. Curious, like those Six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Humph. Must be synchronicity. We always knew the Clintons were avatars. No, this is a global condition of political corruption, plain and simple, with full cooperation of the MSM.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Obama and Wen Jiabao

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/16/09

In Copenhagen this week America meets its equal and opposite counterforce. Nobel laureates, climatologists, world thespians, shamans, pop stars and Al Gore will all be pushed aside, many of them never to be heard from again. And the stage will be left to two people, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.

This will not be about climate at all. It will be about who will rule, U.S. or China.

Copenhagen furthers the one world vision of Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon and Clinton, the view that was reality then. It is regressive illusion today. This is about the U.S. and China and apart from the few, the clever and the brave like Germany’s Angela Merkel, the rest of the world is chorus. The group would find a better center in Seattle, Vancouver or Singapore.

In a historic cultural moment that so oddly resembles the late 1970s and early ‘80s, the president might be advised to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War on the plane which was a runaway hit back then. Better yet, he might go to the source, the Tao te Ching; the “path of integrity.” Because our culture is a primary opposite of China’s.

We Americans assure that we were born to rule the world. It is as nature intended. It is our natural birth right; a mantle inherited from Victoria, our ancestral mother. Everything about us – even the election of a black president – speaks to the wonderfulness of it. Our symbols are overt, conspicuous and blaring: mile high buildings, mile high egos, mile high stadiums and rhetoric.

China is quiet. The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious and profound says the Tao te Ching. Watchful, like men crossing a winter storm. Alert, like men aware of danger. Courteous, like visiting guests. Yielding, like ice about to melt.

It has been a winning strategy since the Wu priesthood came up with it 6,000 years ago. Let’s see how it works this week in Copenhagen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If you don't like Randy Moss . . .

then you can kiss my ass.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Copenhagen’s Mad Men

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/10/09

If anyone ever deserved to win an award it is the American master Mel Brooks who was honored this week at the Kennedy Center. They might offer an evening showing of Young Frankenstein this week in Copenhagen, a small masterpiece in that popular genre of the mad scientist.

It has been suggested all over this week that the climate scientists, whose studies will be legitimized at Copenhagen, and their politicians have come to see themselves as priests, possibly because as the leaked memos make clear, they ask us to believe what they tell us on faith. It was a staple of Hollywood in the earlier days that the “new truths” of science brought delirium akin to religious cult insanity, manifesting in the excitable or confused “mad scientist.” Jerry Lewis in the Nutty Professor or Ben Linus and the Dharma Initiative today in the Lost series.

These were the new priests of a new religion, scientism, a belief that science could explain all, while faith was disparaged as random, anecdotal and regressive. It was the religion of the ‘50s Mad Men and American capitalism rising to world power. Of communism and socialism as well; indeed, as Newton societies have noted, these forms were based on misbegotten scientific theory. Not all agreed science was the new path to salvation. C.G. Jung, the Swiss psychological pioneer and Freud colleague abandoned science because he felt he had “lost his soul” to it. Kerson Huang, the theoretical physicist at MIT who was with Lee and Yang at the Princeton Institute when they won the Nobel Prize in 1957, said science is simply about measuring things but some things, like love, cannot be measured. Brooks’ parody in fact follows the 1931 original by picturing bringing the golem, Frankenstein, back from the dead in a scene intentionally modeled on a priest at the altar in the Sacrifice of the Mass.

In fact, that “everyone agrees” about climate change, “for goodness sake,” as Al Gore put it, is a symptom of religion gone wild. It is sign and symptom of horde mentality.

“Science is their religion,” said the Cigarette Smoking Man in an X Files episode based on the return of the Christ. If so, the group of Celestial Goreians meeting in Copenhagen this week are its College of Cardinals.

Copenhagen is not about science. Like Kyoto, it is about vast, conspicuous displays of piety, earnest manifestos and promises that will not be kept. But without question, science, scientific theory, engineering and technology over the last 200 years has caused and advanced global warming. It may not lead to solutions.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sarah Palin and the Eggman

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/08/09

Every age has its primary symbols and if you are to go long to understand what will emerge over time and what will recede, they are worth looking at. With the rise of John F. Kennedy came the rustic troubadour Bob Dylan from Minnesota’s north country fair, declaring that the times were a changing. The lyrics of that tune which became the anthem of a generation (mine) paralleled a speech written by Ted Sorenson about the “new men of the Sixties” and delivered by Kennedy in his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles in July 1960.

Symbols can awaken a culture or kill it. They can prevent its future from arising as the red battle flag did in the South for 80 years after the Civil War had ended. Two days today are marked symbolically: December 7, when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, and December 8, when John Lennon was murdered outside his home at the Dakotas in New York City.

What is remembered and what is forgotten will hinge on these two dates. Lennon, who died 29 years ago today, will be remembered symbolically through a song he wrote in which he called himself the Eggman, an image he likely borrowed from one of his favorite books, Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass which featured Humpty Dumpty and a wise Walrus. A man or woman rising from an egg forms a classic Creation Myth and this symbol has had long historic resonance in Salvador Dali’s great painting of 1943, Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man, depicting the awakening of the “new man” breaking out of an egg in America. Investigation and cross culturing with other Dali paintings – Poetry in America, in particular, painted the same year - clearly suggests that the “new man” in his picture is the Christ entering a new world still a cultural desert in a new millennium.

Every age has its priests as well; true priests, I mean authentic voices that arise who people listen to for authenticity after the winged monkeys subside. Stanley Fish, for example. His opinion turns the tide as there is no living scholar in his generation who writes for the public as respected as he is. His review of Sarah Palin’s book Going Rogue, this morning in the New York Times, will have them shifting uncomfortably in their seats, as he says that as one who wouldn’t consider himself a supporter, he found it, “ . . . compelling and very well done.”

This is important and necessary as it saves Fish’s class and lesser colleagues at the New York Times and elsewhere from becoming completely irrelevant to the political process as Palin rises to the political challenges. Rasmussen reports this week that her popularity continues to grow.

And as in the early Sixties, her popularity grows along side a cultural phenomenon and runs parallel to it like a road that follows a river: The Twilight saga, a series of four novels which has taken another young generation still in high school by storm and sold books now into the tens of millions and broke records at the box office. Because embedded in the Twilight stories is another primary myth. Note that the picture on the cover of the fourth book in the series, Breaking Dawn, is the chess piece; the white queen.

These stories brings the ritual death of the Red Queen - who just happens to be named Victoria . . . she gets her head torn off by Edward Cullen in the movie coming out next June - and the victorious return of the White Queen, who’s name is Bella. This references Robert Graves’s mythic masterpiece, The White Goddess, about the beginning and middle of the cycle of the earth mother or Triple Goddess which brought Britannia to life and to world prominence and dominance. The last of England’s “great mothers” was Victoria, the “third mother” or covered moon in the mythic passage, which ends the life cycle. The White Queen – the “first mother” - brings the earth mother cycle to life again.

The story is a Creation Myth, and like Dali’s Geoploliticus Child, it is a North American creation myth. And one like Sarah Palin – whose husband’s maternal line runs to the Curyung tribe of the Yup’ik – which finds intuition and instinct for the “new creation” in Native America.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Christmas in Tennessee (Yearning for Bill)

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 12/7/09

Not since Andrew Young, Jimmy Carter’s transcendent spirit of diplomacy, raised a pyramid to the sun god and prayed for “power and liberating freedom” while 800 celebrants chanted the ancient mantra, “Sun-nun-nun-nun,” on the steps of the United Nations in 1978 have we seen such fear and loathing. The end is near, signs are everywhere. But the plague suddenly seemed to disappear overnight and only one squirrel fell into the black hole when the Hadron Collider went on-line last week. Note to Copenhagen: Utopianism in Rome, China, Russia was prelude to self destruction. It was in 1800’s America as well and I bet it is everywhere.

But the season of the witch is turning already, even before the Copenhagen counsel of shrouded earth shamans and neo-druids with their bush souls and familiars heats up, turning again to the season of rebirth. Because everything dies and everything is born again and that is the story of Christmas.

The Democrats are a fickle bunch. Wanda Sykes, the late night comic who wants to be the new Oprah, is tired of Obama already. She wants Bill back. That is their fatal yearning. A brilliant philosopher said 15 years ago that a free republic like the one we were handed by Eisenhower at the end of World War II could not exist with political dialogue at the Oprah day-time talk show level. I felt she was premature about that but I did think the Bill yearnings could be fatal to the republic, and there is still time for Bill and Hillary to kill it. Because when we got to Bill and Hillary we entered then some of us into that mystical state of political idolatry akin to that of the Russians in the time of Peter and Catherine the Great.

Obama may not be a great president but he is a superior individual as Eisenhower was, as Kennedy was, as Reagan was. Clinton is not. Gore is not. Hillary is not. And their supporters are a faithless. They will throw Obama to the dogs in a minute and are just waiting for the signal. (Malcolm X warned of this). That signal occurred last week when Obama’s ratings went below 50%. Get ready. Visualize this: A Hillary/Wes Clark (or Jim Webb or Joe Sestak) ticket vs. a Palin/Mitt Romney ticket in 2012. It would send the Woodstock nostalgicos fleeing in a horde up here to Vermont and New Hampshire when they lose every state except Massachusetts.

There was a time when we did not look to stand-up comics for political commentary. It poisons the dialog. There was a time when comics were clever, politicians were warriors and political writers were faithful and more or less responsible. But my favorite Buddhist monk, Leonard Cohen, says everybody knows the boat is leaking, everybody knows the captain lied. And Democrats again are yearning for Bill.

I’ve not seen the 2012 movie yet. They say it is hot. Everybody dies don’t cha know. These end of the world visions which torment Al, the Perfect Master of Fire and Ice, and the others seem largely based on that moment in The Grinch that Stole Christmas when Max, the Grinch’s dog, is teetering on the edge – the tippity-top – of a cliff and all the presents are about to go crashing down on Whoville all at once, smashing toys, Whoville, Betty Lou Who and Max together. It’s not like that.

It’s more like the Eliot Wave theory which has the dollar rising and receding in a natural arc in a 41-some year period, going up, starting in the early Seventies, reaching its peak in Clinton territory, then starting gradually back down the mountain. The crash of the Thai baht in the late 1990s was a turning back; the receding economy of Japan was a turning back, the decision to change the dollar from a perfect, harmonious masterpiece of circles and squares to a bloated, off-kilter deconstructionist contusion was a turning back and the radical mid-stream California recall in 2003 - a hysterical, unconscious cri du coeur for a Strong Man savior - was a turning back. It comes to an end in 1911 thereabouts.

But then somehow, somewhere, it will begin again because it always does. And wherever that is it will always be better to be in Tennessee, especially at Christmas.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Kos, Dems, UFOs, Father William: Five easy pieces . . .

by Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 1/4/09

In an editorial in The Hill this week Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos cites a poll which suggests devastating consequences ahead for Democrats. Before Barack Obama arrived on the scene Kos provided Democrats with new thinking for an intelligent and substantive Democratic party without Marx, Jesus or Bill Clinton by promoting moderates and originals like Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb, Jon Tester, Senator from Montana, and former NATO chief Wesley Clark.

This grouping featured managing excellence (Warner as governor of Virginia), courage (Webb) character and leadership (Clark), an earthy Jacksonian spirit of the heartland (Tester) and esprit (Major Tammy Duckworth – Moulistas, an army veteran, was the founder of Fighting Dems which helped Iraq war veterans get elected to Congress).

Obama is clever but a poor manager and the price will be high. But in all sincerity it is not his fault. His most important feature in 2008 was that he was not Hillary Clinton. He was drafted to circumvent her nomination and the Democrats’ certain loss in the general election. Obama agreed to be the team’s fall guy and may have saved the Democrats from total destruction. The Democrats’ problems today are the price of a former president with 50 gold watches and an Elvis complex who refused to leave the building. Moulitsas might give his new party idea another try.


The darkening drama of Obama and his nefarious Chicago crew suggests that classic Twilight Zone episode in which a UFO lands with a manuscript “to serve man.” Further investigation reveals it to be a cook book. Most troubling about Obama’s new war plan is that it seems to have been prepared not by the war department but by the public relations department. Strategic deception is this gang‘s fundamental approach. Announce a new troop buildup as prelude to an exit strategy. Much like the application of a vast, fatal bailout program then sending the Decepticons around when elections approach to talk vigorously about the need to reduce the deficit.


Being non-theological and following only the master who warns about priests and holy men, my idea of the one true church is any which keeps families together. Because that is what keeps the soul together. So I would be disappointed in seeing Mike Huckabee leaving the political discussion as it heads to 2012. But the tragic twist of fate near Seattle that left four police officers dead will cast a shadow as it is reported that he long ago granted clemency to the alleged killer for other crimes. Huckabee won the straw poll at the Voters Values Summit in September.


The most influential populist conservative Richard Viguerie is calling for politicians to join in what he is calling a “constitutional moment.” He is adding his weight and marketing skills to the so called tax revolt movement. This group rises in credibility as the Colorado governor’s race opens up. The Wall Street Journal reports that Colorado Republicans last week moved to woo restive tea-party activists by setting forth a conservative agenda -- dubbed the "Platform for Prosperity" -- and encouraging all candidates for state office to adopt it.


Old Father William was strangely silent. He and Tom Brady huddled together, passive and bewildered, on the sidelines with their arms drooping by their sides. It was like some big kids had come into the schoolyard and took away the football and wouldn’t give it back. Maybe they never will.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Obama’s last stand

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/30/09

To review: Liberal response to the war so far has been resolute support (Bill, Hillary, Biden, Kerry) then resolute opposition (Obama, then later Hillary, Biden, Kerry), then support again in Afghanistan (Obama, Hillary) then indecision (Obama, Biden). This is the way things fall apart. It is good for Mitt Romney who offered principled support throughout. It is good for Ron Paul who offered principled opposition throughout. But it is bad for the Democrats. We could see awaken now a seismic shift in the political flow; a shift away from the relevant countervailing dialog between Democrat and Republican to between two different principled Republican approaches instead.

What Obama needs to talk about in his “big speech” tomorrow night is economy, not Afghanisthan. What we need is a war time economist. Like a war president, but for the economy. The Punjab may be falling apart but so is the American economy. The economy is the greater crisis and the people are getting brittle.

The new push in Afghanistan is Obama’s second phase of denial, health care being the first. He has the issues in complete reverse priority. Health care first, he goes, then Afghanistan and then the economy. It is just the opposite. Economy is first, the war second and health care last and dependent on the outcome of the first two. That he claims now that he is going to “finish this thing,” suggests he is reading that issue of GQ with his picture on the cover and Admiral Mike Mullen’s happy face briefs. That this comes at the critical moment when his approval has slipped to 45% suggests the classic “patriotic war” so favored by Russian czars and commissars to firm up peasant support. The language, “finish this thing,” is pure jive. No one believes it and we are expected when we hear it to enter into that state of agreeable disbelief and patronization that we use with children and innocents. We do not treat children as equals. We do not treat innocents as adults.

But it is a very good day for Mitt Romney. If America wanted a competent war manager she would have voted Romney in in 2008. This will provide invaluable background and market research for him as he eyes 2012. And it will do nothing but swell the Ron Paul ranks of the youngish Republicans; a cake that is rising anyway.

The heartland insurgency which the Pauls, Ron and son Rand, speak to is making the people brittle. Just two years ago it was all middle-class fat and happy walking slowly across the Washington mall or the college campus in a self-satisfied Starbucks-induced trance. Then last year the victorious bliss with a new black president and nothing clouding the horizon but pirates, bed bugs, a plague of suburban coyotes and that feral wolf girl from Alaska who says she travels with God and Todd. Today we read in Peggy Noonan’s Wall Street Journal column that there is no love for Obama among Democrats, that questions of integrity are arising among his core professional support and there is throughout “ . . . the growing perception of incompetence.”

So it is getting brittle. Those very vulnerable mall cultures and uptight exurbs – globalization’s transitory, disposable, techno-societies - which seemed to spring up overnight out of the South’s red clay, are beginning to feel the edge of a new rural angst. And they are blaming it on the wolf girl.

Next year, the year after, things could actually start to shred if Obama doesn’t find the path and head the economy in the right direction. This president who so likes to be compared to Lincoln has been misguided by Krugman & Co. The Keynesians have led him into the wilderness. They are Obama’s George McClellan; stallers, busy-makers and in the end, incompetents. He needs to fire them as Lincoln finally fired McClellan. He needs to find an economist like Grant if he wants to be a Lincoln.

Worth noting this week when Obama speaks to our honored soldiers to kick off his new campaign in Afghanistan, an item on page 20 of the New York Times on Thanksgiving day. Ron Paul proved to be a “surprising” presence in 2008, it said, and his son Rand is an “unexpected” candidate in the 2010 Senate race in Kentucky.

Surprising to whom? Unexpected by whom? Obama needs professionals who are not surprised by the life’s predictable vagaries of sin and joy. The fate of the republic depends on it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Answer to The Hill's "Big Question" today: Is rush to new spending evidence that the stimulus money has been wasted?

If you drove south from northern New Hampshire to North Carolina on I 95 as I have done this past weekend, you would see extensive work conspicuously done by women and men in lime green clothing here in the frozen north where almost no one lives. Every road has been resurfaced; the ledges have been torn off the high cliffs by the highways that just last year housed hawks and peregrine falcons, lines have been painted everywhere. Much of this work has been voted down again and again locally as work that did not need to be done, work that we did not want done; labor that we do not respect; work that we do not consider to be real work. Increasingly, the federales need to New Jersey-fy us so as to removeth chill of the cold, clear, northern night and the coyote’s chant that sends the willies up their spines. But there is less than 2% unemployment up here in these parts. This money is a complete waste by nostalgicos channeling the Inner Roosevelt and longing for the days of Woody Gunthrie and Big Bill Broonzy singing folkloric ditties in a box car heading across the western plains on the government’s tab. Commodities guru Jim Rogers, in comparing the Obama spending to that of the Chinese points out that the Chinese are correctly spending infrastructure money by applying it where it is needed for the 130 million new workers recently arrived in the industrial centers. Here it is just tossed anywhere, as if out of an airplane, regardless of need. All patterns of population and economy today point west. When people here in the Land of the Free move they tend to move today to Texas and Alaska. There has been no attempt to follow patterns of rising karma. And then when you get south to New York City, where employment is now most probably above 20% the roads and infrastructure are a mess and not a finger has been lifted. There appears to be no plan whatsoever as Rogers says.

Bernie Quigley
Haverhill, NH

Monday, November 23, 2009

States must prohibit taxation of children

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/23/09

Once was we might have called upon Congress when reason and responsibility demanded initiative. But the feckless Pelosi and Reid have expressed such vast irresponsibility in their short tenure that we must look now to the legislative bodies of last resort: The states. First item: The states should prohibit the taxation of children. Centuries ago, as we rose to self governance, a division occurred between feudal countries which placed economic burdens on children by demanding that they pay the debts of their parents or grandparents. In free countries, a child is born free of such onerous debt. It is the hallmark of a free country. But it is no longer the hallmark of our country.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office recently testified before Congress that our fiscal situation has deteriorated rapidly in just the past few years. The federal government ran a 2009 deficit of $1.4 trillion—the highest since World War II—as spending reached nearly 25% of GDP and total revenues fell below 15% of GDP. Shortfalls like these have not been seen in more than 50 years.

Going forward,he wrote in the Wall Street Journal, there is no relief in sight, as spending far outpaces revenues and the federal budget is projected to be in enormous deficit every year. Our national debt is projected to stand at $17.1 trillion 10 years from now, or over $50,000 per American.

“The planned deficits will have destructive consequences for both fairness and economic growth,” he writes. “They will force upon our children and grandchildren the bill for our overconsumption.

But it’s not going to happen. In czarist Russia perhaps. Or Cromwell’s Ireland. But not here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon: The awakening of the new century’s first generation

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/20/09

From my point of view President Obama is the most intelligent and savvy of Democratic Presidents to come to power in the post-war period. He has a sensory intuition which allows him to catch up quickly on things and he is far better at external things than internal things. China ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr., the best of the current China hands, gives him the highest marks on his visit to China. Even the Campaign for Tibet seemed cautiously optimistic. Obama’s problem is that history has cast his role at the end of a vast epoch. History has made him the last agent of a realm of ideas that are suited to an age long past and a vastly different America. The Democrats and much of the Eastern establishment have a Roosevelt hangover and dwell like Proust in a remembrance of things past. It is exactly like the South that W.J. Cash wrote about in the late 1920s. The South was ready economically to enter the greater world but the honored ghosts of history prevented it from doing so for 20 more years.

Historic periods overlap. Gore Vidal, aged and decrepit, hating America, hating everything, longing for the “gallant” Roosevelt and conjuring the ghost of William F. Buckley, Jr., when he was awarded for “lifetime achievement” at the 60th annual National Book Awards this week, might be seen as the Roosevelt era’s “last Confederate” still waving the red flag after the world has gone on; gone on to Elvis, to Reagan, to Twilight. There were still Victorians long after the age had passed. And when Elvis first rose in the world on The Ed Sullivan Show he still had to contend with Stonewall Jackson over who would represent the post-war South.

Generations are the engine of history and the channel of historic change and those who look for generational change should get in line tonight to see the opening of New Moon, the second of the series of four new vampire movies. Tickets have been selling out months ahead like a Beatles concert. But when the first movie, Twilight, came out it was called a cult movie and a passing fad. Like they said about the Beatles. Critics said the writing wasn’t any good. Like they said about the Beatles. We are at the century’s turning. It hasn’t turned yet and it won’t for a few years. But it is beginning to rise new against old generations as generations always do, and the old ideas and the old century. In our period, even an old millennium.

When cultural patterns including political ones are established by the old generations, everything that is new “doesn’t fit” and becomes a challenge to the old generations. All at every level of power become priests and defenders of the old in opposition to the new. But we began to see the turning with the Twilight movie, which was widely panned by critics and promotion institutions although the book by Stephanie Meyers had already sold 30 million copies, mostly to young teenage girls. It is the politics of denial. The new are denied entry into territory already controlled by the old people. We are seeing in spades a similar pattern with Sarah Palin. We have been seeing it with Ron Paul as well.

Each generation has its own gods and goddesses: Victoria, Douglas Fairbanks, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Eisenhower, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. They form and fulfill their own generations and place them in sequence to generations past and those ahead. The new gods, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, awaken the long-awaited fourth post-war generation tonight with New Moon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A high stakes Super Bowl . . .

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/18/09

Historian Frank Owsley said that the two most representative figures in the Colonial period were Hamilton and Jefferson. But I can’t think of anyone today who represents America better than New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Indianapolis Colts former coach Tony Dungy. The New England team logical and decision based, the Indianapolis team a heart-driven, consistent and persistent model of “quiet strength.” Heart won over head late last Sunday night in a game that is still talked about up here, which may have turned the tide for the season. Or longer.

Great things have happened to us here in New England since the Quaternity of Belichick, Brady, Moss and Welker came to us. Having been born and reared up here it feels like we have finally entered the real world. Boston has left behind its key competition with New York which it had for the last hundred years in baseball, for a new competition with Indianapolis. The Patriots/Colts midseason game is being called the “competition of the decade.” It is good for us here because for the first time we no longer look longingly to New York where we always come in second in everything, but to the heartland of America, which we have never really acknowledged before nor felt we belonged. Not a day goes by up here when someone like Boston-area Matt Damon will try to get us to play rugby or do something else as they do it in England, but football has truly brought New England into the American heartland.

Football and all sports are modified contention. The American Indians used sports as a substitute for war; the Canadians last century found that hockey would keep working class French and Irish from killing one. The pioneering psychiatrist Edward F. Edinger said the matrix formed by sports will show the pattern of future history. In baseball, which rose in the Civil War era, the big teams were Boston and New York and they still are today. But in the post-war period football is the American game and the big teams are throughout the heartland; Green Bay, Dallas, Indianapolis and now us here in New England as well.

America is finding a new “center” and that is why perhaps the “beltway” mentality no longer fits the heartland. Our old center kept North and South in equilibrium, but now we are a full country North, South, East and the frozen North. Perhaps it is time to find our new center.

The Nation’s Capital was supposed to be sacred space; the benign, omniscient, impartial Brahma eye of the oculus high on the Capital Dome holding the heart-driven Old South and the head-bound industrial North together in a marriage of harmony and contention. At one time it was, but as Jefferson said, that time would pass and what would follow in its place would be a contentious bureaucracy; a republic of dress up and political pretension. Here’s a thought: Let’s let the Nation’s Capital be hosted instead by whoever wins the Super Bowl this year; possibly Boston/Foxboro, but maybe New Orleans or Indianapolis. And leave it there for a while. See what happens. Start a new century. Start a new millennium. Get rid of the riff raff and get a fresh start.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Katie Couric and Sarah Palin: Will Rick Perry go rogue in 2012?

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/16/09

We will learn one thing from Sarah Palin’s new book, Going Rogue: She will not be humiliated; she will not be intimidated; she will meet you head on. This should be considered in answering The Hill’s Pundit Blogger Armstrong Williams’ question whether there will be a dark horse Republican candidate in 2012. Conditions are almost perfect for a dark horse because an original, new conservative theme has developed this past year and that theme has a rising spirit attached to it: Former Alaskan governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. She could well be the candidate in 2012. But this is a movement forming and not yet fully formed. When it is fully formed a new champion – a dark horse – may arise.

Katie Couric will get her fair share in Palin’s book. Couric is the major networks’ official greeter. She is a gatekeeper. Her role is archetypal rather than journalistic. When she embarrassed Palin by insinuation and mnemonic slander (“. . . not one of us”) implying that she never read a newspaper, she turned Palin away from the door. She unofficially granted permission from the networks and sent forth the winged monkeys – Tiny Fey, Letterman, etc. – allowing them free fire character assassination.

The interview Couric did with Palin will be considered a milestone of journalistic history. In previous elections we had pack journalism but what happened in 2008 might be called horde journalism. The 2008 election reminded Johns Hopkins professor and frequent Wall Street Journal commentator Fouad Ajami of the “politics of crowds” in places like Argentina and Egypt and Iran, “ . . . of multitudes brought together by their zeal for a Peron or a Nasser or a Khomeini.”

Couric and the networks intentionally set out to subvert a Presidential race by destroying one of the candidates. The networks – and the NYTs and the Washington Post – had already decided by mid July when McCain was 15 points behind Obama where the election would go. The celebrations for the first black president were all prepared and the invitations had already been sent out. Suddenly, with the arrival of Palin, they were dead even. It changed everything.

Palin’s was a dynamic new voice in America, potentially one as vital and relevant as Andrew Jackson’s. Couric should have been fired, instead she was honored and rewarded by Princeton University and she mocked Palin throughout the event in her bright red dress. Possibly no incident in the post-war period showed the full convergence of the networks, the press, academia, undergraduate bloggers by the millions, virtually all of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, converging on one point with Couric leading the charge. And now it is revealed in her new book that Palin’s own Republican apparatus was a coat carrier and appeared to help in the herding of the Obama horde to Mile High Stadium by intentionally subterfuging Palin.

The country needed a break and Barack Obama, bright, young and black, would be the antidote to a few grim years. Now the young President is thin and prematurely graying. At this point it is fair to say he does not appear to know how to be President and America’s health, welfare and possibly freedom are dangerously destabilized. A year on, we are beginning to hear the phrase, how did this happen?

The unprecedented, uniform, institutional contempt by the press for Palin had an empowering effect on the heartland. They – the New York and Washington political industry - hated Sarah Palin because they hated the rest of us who live in the hills and hollows where Johnny Cash wandered it was said. In subtle but pervasive ways this is true.

But in the past year we have watched history rising against this background. It is still not yet formed but in the next year it will begin to find form. By 2012 it will be in coherent shape. What is forming is a concoction of Ron Paul and Austrian economics, the April 15 demonstrations against the bailouts and the deficits and the subsequent town hall demonstrations. These rude awakenings began to find legitimacy in NY 23 when Doug Hoffman gained support as a Conservative Party candidate and when Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, offered his support. The unapologetically conservative candidate’s win by 17% in the governor’s race in Virginia suggests that substantive change is at hand.

In a word, the times have awakened but they have not yet fully formed. Everything is changing and change requires new people. The newest Gallup numbers show independents leaning to the GOP by 52% to 30%. The traditional Republicans are like the elegant jazz musicians of the 1950s, suddenly faced with the new music of the Sixties. Newt Gingrich will try to present himself as the new guy and so will others, but they are the old jazz musicians. Tim Pawlenty is new, Sarah Palin is and so is Rick Perry and these are perfect conditions for a dark horse.

Palin will be there as she was at the beginning. But Rick Perry, governor of Texas, was also with this movement from the very beginning. He is highest ranked and most respected of the new people advancing the new ideas. He would be the likely dark horse to consolidate and legitimize these issues – bring form to the formless - if this movement is to go forward. While the others are demure and cosmetic, Perry speaks clearly. He recently told a gathering in Texas that Obama was “hell bent” on socialism, raising a startled “oh my!” from the punditry fashionistas. This is what is required at beginnings. But Virginia’s new governor-elect Bob McDonald can now be seen in the wings as well.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Katie Couric and Sarah Palin: Will Rick Perry go rogue in 2012? - this is an unedited draft

We will learn one thing from Sarah Palin’s new book, Going Rogue: She will not be humiliated; she will not be intimidated; she will meet you head on. This should be considered in answering the question posed by Armstrong Williams here whether there will be a dark horse Republican candidate in 2012. Conditions are almost perfect for a dark horse because an original, new conservative theme has developed this past year and that theme has a rising spirit attached to it. Former Alaskan governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is the rising spirit, although she may not be the dark horse candidate.

Katie Couric will get her fare share in Palin’s book. Couric is the major networks’ official greeter. She is a gatekeeper. Her role is archetypal rather than journalistic. When she embarrassed Palin by insinuation and mneumonic slander (“. . . not one of us”) implying that she never read a newspaper, she turned Palin away from the door. She unofficially granted permission from the networks and sent forth the winged monkeys – Tiny Fey, Letterman, etc. – allowing them free fire character assassin.

The interview Couric did with Palin will be considered a milestone of journalistic history. In previous elections we had pack journalism but what happened in 2008 can only be called horde journalism. The 2008 election reminded Johns Hopkins professor and frequent Wall Street Journal commentator Faoud Ajami of the “politics of crowds” in places like Argentina and Egypt and Iran, “ . . . of multitudes brought together by their zeal for a Peron or a Nasser or a Khomeini.” Couric and the networks intentionally set out to subvert a Presidential race by destroying one of the candidates. The networks – and the NYTs and the Washington Post – had already decided by mid July when McCain was 15 points behind Obama where the election would go. The celebrations for the first black president were all prepared and the invitations had already been sent out. Suddenly, with the arrival of Palin, they were dead even. It changed everything.

Palin’s was a dynamic new voice in America, potentially one as vital and relevant as Andrew Jackson’s. Couric should have been fired, instead she was honored and rewarded by Princeton University, mocking Palin throughout the award ceremony in her bright red dress. Possibly no incident in the post-war period showed the full convergence of the networks, the press, academia, undergraduate bloggers by the millions, virtually all of Hollywood and the entertainment industry, converging on one point with Couric leading the charge. And now it is revealed in her new book that Palin’s own Republican apparatus were coat carriers and appeared to help in the herding of the Obama horde to Mile High Stadium by intentionally subterfuging Palin.

The country needed a break and Barack Obama, bright, young and black, would be the antidote to a few grim years. Now the young President is thin and prematurely greying. At this point it is fair to say he does not appear to know how to be President and America’s health, welfare and possibly freedom is dangerously destabilized. A year on, we are beginning to hear the phrase, how did this happen?

In the past year we have watched history rising from the unformed. It is still not yet formed but in the next year it will begin to find form. By 2012 it will be in coherent shape. What is forming is a concoction of Ron Paul and Austrian economics, the April 15 demonstrations against the bailouts and the deficits and the subsequent town hall demonstrations. These rude awakenings began to find legitimacy in NY 23 when Doug Hoffman gained support as a Conservative Party candidate and when Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, offered his support. The unapologetically conservative candidate in the governor’s race in Virginia winning by 17% suggests that substantive change is at hand.

In a word, the times have awakened but they have not yet fully formed. Everything is changing and change requires new people. The newest Gallup numbers show independents leaning to the GOP by 52% to 30%. The traditional Republicans are like the elegant jazz musicians of the 1950s, suddenly faced with the new music of the Sixties. Newt Gingrich will try to present himself as the new guy and so will others, but they are the old jazz musicians. Tim Pawlenty is new, Sarah Palin is and so is Rick Perry and these are perfect conditions for a dark horse.

Armstrong asks who is the dark horse. Palin will be there as she was from the beginning. But Rick Perry, governor of Texas, was also with this movement from the beginning. He is highest ranked and most respected of the new people advancing the new ideas. He would be the likely dark horse to consolidate and legitimize these issues – bring them to form - if this movement is to go forward. While the others are demure and cosmetic, Perry speaks out. He recently told a gathering in Texas that Obama was “hell bent” on socialism, raising a shocked “oh my!” from the punditry fashionistas. This is what is required at beginnings. But Virginia’s new governor-elect Bob McDonald could now qualify as well.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Vatican Wants to Believe

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/11/09

The questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe deserve serious consideration, says the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observation. Fox Mulder couldn’t have said it better. Has Father Funes been watching The X Files? The Vatican is calling in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and it implication for the Catholic Church.

Not that I know anything about this, but it has been my assumption that Catholics, Buddhists, Mormons, and the faithful of most all other religions believe in extraterrestrials, thus the winged beings on all of those stained glass windows. And “the Father” who art “in heaven.” And the Three Pure Ones, the deities of the East, said to live somewhere beyond the Big Dipper. And Kuan Yin and Andromeda and those three great pyramids in Giza, simply representatives of the more subtle consciousness of three of the stars in Orion’s Belt as any kid who just saw Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen could tell you.

Father Funes, if he is following the zeitgeist, may be a little behind the times. The Western mind has been heading to space since Buck Rogers or maybe as Walt Whitman said, since the beginning. The Star Wars and Star Trek epics brought the high water mark of this psychic adventure.

Mythologist Joseph Campbell said our journeys to space are a search for God but the epic journeys today are all of returning to earth. And what is kind of fascinating is that as the pop culture epic returns to earth from space, it appears to be landing in the Vatican. Sky walkers and Jedi have yielded the cultural ground to Templars and Cardinals in Dan Brown’s novels and movies like The Da Vinci Code and many other books and movies. The Vatican is even suggested in the blockbuster Twilight sequel, New Moon. And Fox Mulder’s guides and mentors in the recent X Files movie are no longer the three hippie scholars, the Lone Gunmen, well crafted in the last episode of the TV series as the Three Magi, but a Roman Catholic priest.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Will Levi Johnston save us from Sarah Palin?

by Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/10/09

When the great historian Robert Massie, author of Dreadnaugh, went back to find the root of the Second World War, the Great War and the rise and fall of Victoria, he found the singular warrior of Britannia who, in one astonishing afternoon in 1805, turned Napoleon’s fleet away from England, Lord Nelson. We face tough times ahead in the world again today. Unfortunately we have no Nelson. But we do have Levi Johnston. Possibly he will save us.

Not since Jon Gosselin has there been such a man. The press covers him like a blanket because they see the potential. He holds the power to save us from Sarah Palin. And, like Nelson at Trafalgar, he is quite possibly our last line of defense. It almost seems like that economic meltdown of September, 2008, began because of her. It occurred only days, minutes practically, after McCain announced her to be his VP. And everything has changed since then. Like she’s a white she devil or something. Suddenly a live, feral wolf girl rises up out of the northern forests, like those vampires of Twilight. A character threat to all we have gotten used to: to the Bidens, the Clintons, the Bushes and all the women in the room who come and go speaking of Michelangelo. This could ruin everything.

And she’s agile. She maneuvered past the first line of defense, Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, the New York Times Frank Rick and virtually all the women who work at the Times and the Washington Post. She outshined Tiny Fey. And William Shattner, drunk or sober, could not stop her on the late night talk shows. Then she single-handedly ruined David Letterman. Ruined his entire career. It was like some witch curse. But it must be said that she did not act alone in this. She had help: Glenn Beck.

It may surprise some that, Palin and Beck, one man and one woman from the bush working virtually alone, could successfully evade the entire institution, but that shows the insidious guerilla stealth of these people.

Is seems now the networks and the press have found the solution and thank God for that. Levi Johnson. Not since they joined forces with the government at the beginning of the war on Iraq have the press and the networks been so resolute and united in their efforts. After his big interview in Vanity Fair he has been everywhere. He’s all over the TV, buffing up and getting ready for his big photo shoot at Playgirl. He has never really done anything in his life so far – I think he’s only 12 – but he did manage to get a 17-year-old-girl pregnant and walk away from it. Happens. Too bad. But these are not Lord Nelson’s times. These are Oprah times.

He says he knows things. We already know a lot. She shot a moose. And she ate it. And the ever-vigilant Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post has uncovered this: Someone gave her a grouty Garfield calendar for Christmas and she keeps it on her desk. He says he’s got the goods on her. He knows thinks about Sarah Palin that will end the curse; end the swine flu, stop the drought, restore the dollar and return manufacturing from China. He used to live near her and went to her house once. Let’s hope he is right. He is our last line of defense against Sarah Palin. He is our only hope.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Barney Frank is a pig

by Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/08/09

Speaking of self esteem issues, only an overweight career buffoon who proudly and conspicuously talks like a duck to display his endemic contempt for the world west of Boston would say that some of the people at the rally “ . . . appeared to have been the losers in the 'Are you smarter than Michele Bachmann contest?'"

Thinking we are really smart is part of the curse of being a non-Yankee in New England. Time has long passed us by, even the real Yankees. But also for us immigrants and outlanders who likewise wear the regimental tie although we bought it at Quincy Market. We have not been important since 1865. New York, the Empire State, conquered us when it conquered the South. Our second-most perceptive observer beyond the Celestial Bard wrote in The Bostonians that after the Civil War the only man of character he could find up here was a Confederate officer visiting from Texas.

Boston has always been a magnet for losers seeking status. But we are history’s side meat. That is what the Curse is about. New York has all the money. They have all the talent. Those who strive to be great move there. Those who strive to appear great move here. They have Jeter and Johnny Daemon and Norman Mailer and Nobel laureates in hard stuff like physics just pouring out of the Bronx and Brooklyn. And we have Barney Frank. So we pretend we are smart and urbane. Pity the poor immigrant, just over from Ireland, Poland or up from New Jersey; most all of us up here in these crabby little towns with cramped streets pretending to be the new tall white people. Pity the poor immigrant, said Bob Dylan, he wishes he were dead.

We have been taking a beating since we arrived at the public theater that is Boston (and Taunton and Fall River and New Bedford) so short a time ago. We came from nothing and rode the post-war wave of prosperity to insecurity; craving the status of the gentry but retaining all of the clutching needs of our factory worker grandparents. So afflicted with the class burden of “urban Irish” (or Poland or New Jersey) that when an old uncle of mine retired from his government job and his brother from the liquor store and none of his relatives were cops any longer he took an apartment across from the Harvard Yard gates and pretended to be a Harvard professor for the rest of his life.

The anguish of drunken fathers and uncles and all the dead and dying babies, the broken mothers – half the women in the family dying of TB and brown lung and despair; the tasteless boiled cabbage on Sunday afternoons in rooms that smelled of the dead and echoed the absence of Ireland in the sad faces of so many, many, many spinster aunties praying the rosary. An Irish pol in the old days, cigar and drink in hand, diamond pin in the tie and high collar would show his swagger by announcing that he got his kid into Harvard through political influence even though the Irish boy was as dumb as a post. The dumber the boy gotten into Harvard, the higher the status of the father.

But not nearly so bad as the pitiful yearnings of the “secondos” grasping at Harvard and Congress – those second generation or later immigrants today yearning to be just like the tall and long in the tooth at Harvard; striving for the patrician grace and the easy self assurance of the lanky Galbraith, still at his desk at 100, the temeritous vigor and vivid, cold eye of Kennan who lived to that age as well, and the eternal, vigilant focus of Eisenhower. But finding only unfulfilment in what we are not. The pitiful underlying reality is that the patricians saw us coming and turned the plantation over to us, as the planters did with the slaves in the South, moving to Texas to follow oil or to the Pacific Palisades with their oriental mistresses.

Only one in a hundred survived, said Pat Moynihan. And that one, like Pauli Walnuts, was imprisoned on the edge in his ethnic gulag and terrified of “Elvis land” and the plain talking folk from the heartland like Michelle Bachmann. The price was high, and for those pretenders in Congress and those still striving at the gate at Harvard, it still is. The price is Barney Frank.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The South has Won

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/05/09

One key fact explains the present that has come to us in Tuesday’s election: A deeply conservative Republican explaining himself without apology has won the Old Dominion by 18%. Virginia is bright red. It will be this way in Texas too where the conservative, Rick Perry, is ahead of the moderate, Kay Bailey Hutchison, by 12%. It will be this way now throughout the South. It will possibly be like this in all the red states reaching as far north as Alaska and back east to the outer agrarian regions like NY 23 where Amish buggies travel in traffic. But the South IMO, from Richmond all the way to Dallas will be red for a long time. Possibly a hundred years. Possibly a thousand years. The South has won. The South has beat the devil.

George Allen, the Republican governor from 1994 to 1998, carried Virginia through an age of transition. But he was all hat and no cattle; a Reagan imitator, a Californian and a celebrity son who didn’t have a clue as to the values of the South and Virginia. I worked in his bureaucracy and from top to bottom it was incompetent, imitational and simply oppositional. Mark Warner, a Democrat who was voted by Wall St. to be one of the country’s best governors, brought Virginia an auspicious beginning.

A rare Yankee-born politician, Warner actually liked the people he had come South to govern. And they liked him as well. When Senator Jim Webb came on board in 2006 there was between them the potential to restore old Southern Democratic values of family, community and hard, hard labor on Daddy’s farm and football practice after school without whining. Us commie, heathen, horse worshiping Yankees could truly delight in hearing the Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain boys singing Angel Band at their pep rallies and the best of us joined up. Mudcat Saunders, advisor to Webb and Warner, made a good connection and brought out a South that could awaken and fulfill us head-bound outsiders. Truth is, they liked Webb, a well-known novelist, better in the urban enclaves like Alexandria than they did in his western Virginia home place.

Mudcat’s book, Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole the South and the Heartland and What the Democrats Must Do to Run 'em Out, written with Steve Jarding, brought the very smartest advice to Democrats hoping to do well in the South. But about 70% of the way into the text the authors gave a warning which should have been on page one: If the Democrats ignored the South, they said, the price would be high. There was a countervailing text by Thomas F. Shaller, an academic in Maryland who writes for Salon and The Nation: Whistling Past Dixie: How the Democrats Can Win without the South.

They could and they did in 2008, but as Jarding and Saunders warned, the price now will be high. The auspicious revival conjured and cultivated by Saunders and Jarding and brought to fruition through the good work of Warner and Webb is as of Tuesday, I believe, gone with the wind.

American history post-war and now hereon into the future will have been hinged on one critical turning. In 1981 82% of my old neighbors in Tobaccoville, North Carolina, changed their registration from Democrat to vote overwhelmingly for a Republican, Ronald Reagan. That moment can be seen now as a beginning. And as of Tuesday, there will be no turning back.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Utopian politics right and left: The Age of Hysteria

By Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 10/03/09

The Red Book, magnum opus of the pioneering Swiss psychiatrist C.G. Jung has for the first time appeared in print, thanks to the Rubin Museum in NY and a tenacious Philadelphia psychiatrist. Before he died in 1961 Jung predicted what might be called an age of hysteria ahead as we approached the millennium year 2000. Time will bear him out. As we know from ancient Egyptian history, he wrote in 1959, psychic changes like UFO sightings always appear at the end of one Platonic Month and at the beginning of another. “We are now nearing that expected when the springpoint enters Aquarius.” Most everybody today associates the Sixties with Aquarius and sees maybe John Lennon as the Aquarian. But the new cycle technically started around the year 2001. Maybe George W. Bush is the Aquarian.

Utopianism is a symptom or a by product of this. It is a way of seeing the world not as it is, but as we wish it could be so as to solve a difficult or unsolvable problem which plagues us. It is a willful delusion. At worse, it is a possession, even a collective possession. Here where I live just below the Canadian border in New Hampshire, there are two, common viral forms: Canada-ism and Swiss-ism. If we were only like the Swiss or the Canadians, it goes, everything would be good.

During this long healthcare debate not a week goes by without someone talking about the wisdom of these people – Scandinavians too – and their wonderful social networks. These people are nice. And when they open the books at the Swiss banks I can assure you that all those secret billions did not go up the nose as they did on Wall Street and in Bernie Madoff’s office. Canadians are nice. They are so nice that last year when I went to Quebec City with a bunch of kids for a high school orchestra competition and our credit cards didn’t work at the gas pump, they said don’t worry about it. Just send the $85 when you get it.

But the reality is that we as a people are not that nice, although most people in Vermont are kind of like that. In Montreal there were two murders per 100,000 people in 2008. In Detroit, forty. There are 209 murders so far this year in Los Angeles. There were 304 in 2008. To extrapololate, it might cost a little more in health care to treat 40 gunshot wounds in Detroit or 304 in the LA emergency room than it would 2 in Montreal. I tried to find the current number of murders in Berne, Switzerland, this year but nothing came up. Recently, a popular LA Times columnist sallied abroad to study good health care systems. Where did he go? Switzerland.

Utopianism may be the curse of our age. The least among us Americans desire to “ . . . save the world,” a wish which Jung colleague Barbara Hannah called, “ . . . just childish.” Globalism is one aspect of utopianism. In this state of mind we are not individuals bonded to our own place and culture like the Swiss or the Quebecois. We are a horde seeking a god king. A horde of penguins. Clearly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sees her husband as a world god king – everything would just be great if Bill were just king of the world again – and Elvis did as well. And for a time they were. But not now. That’s why nobody listens to Hillary anymore.

Obama has better sense and by any standard or observation, he – unlike Bill Clinton and Elvis – is anchored to reality by family, mother, grandparents, a sense of place and his own sense of balance. He, unlike Clinton and Elvis, doesn’t really believe he is a god king although others do. He can make adjustments and I believe he will soon, particularly in that most recent utopian voyage, the millennial “war of Armageddon” in the Middle East.

He better watch out. Ted Danton sees him as king and Sting sees him as world god-king. But I really began to worry when a friend sent a clipping claiming an official announcement by the Obama administration disclosing the reality of extraterrestrial life is imminent. President Obama will figure prominently. The disclosure will follow upon a year of greater government openness on UFOs in accord with a policy secretly developed at the United Nations. If extraterrestrial disclosure does occur at the end of 2009 or early 2010, President Obama will lead an unprecedented effort to promote global governance through the United Nations. What they’re talking about here if I have this right is actually intergalactic government with Obama as king – king of the universe.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Palin/Perry 2012: The Conservative Party should bring a national challenge in 2012

by Bernie Quigley

- for The Hill on 11/02/09

Whatever happens tomorrow in the NY 23 race will be anti-climatic. Now that Dierdre Scozzafava, the Republican candidate, has dropped out there has already been a clear and historic victory for the Conservative party. The Republican party is now a third party in NY 23. This is a new beginning and it cannot be denied that Sarah Palin was the first major, national politician to cross the river to NY 23. It is a new and original political format formed out of the Tea Party and Town Hall movements. We can see now the fledgling beginning of a third major party in America, the Conservative party.

South Carolina governor Mark Sanford was the first major figure to speak out when he wrote last November 15 in the Wall Street Journal, “I find myself in a lonely position. While many states and local governments are lining up for a bailout from Congress, I went to Washington recently to oppose such bailouts. I may be the only governor to do so.” Texas governor Rick Perry joined him shortly after. But it cannot be denied that Palin is the dynamic force awakening the heartland to this new perspective. The victory of the Conservative party over the Republican party in NY 23 is the first step out of the abstract and into the concrete.

Maybe Perry should change his brand to Conservative party in his race in Texas and leave Kay Bailey Hutchison to the Republican nostalgicos. Dick Cheney is campaigning for Hutchison and they seem a fairly good match. Palin is stumping for Perry.

In our times there has not been such a critical division in substance and outlook. The critical turning in NY 23 came when Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota who expects to run for president in 2012, followed Palin’s initiative and threw his support to the Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman. By the time Scozzafava dropped out, Palin, Pawlenty, Perry, former New York governor George Pataki, Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann, former Senator Fred Thompson and other prominent Republicans had lined up with them. Newt Gingrich led the traditionalists in support of Scozzafava. Cheney might be considered in the Gingrich column as well. Haley Barbour, Governor of Mississippi and head of the Republican Governors Association supports Perry in Texas and might be considered among the Conservatives.

With 43% of the voters in a poll not long ago claiming to be independent, it is fully possible today to see a third party challenge in 2012. Palin would be the perfect candidate. Two issues need a fundamental new approach: The war and the bailouts. In my opinion the Republicans are dead wrong on the war and the Democrats are dead wrong on the bailouts. And there are two people on these fronts today who present better ideas: Ron Paul and Marine Capt. Matthew Hoh.

In a recent poll 93% of Texans said they think Ron Paul should run for president in 2012. Paul independents and conservatives could well find a place of convergence in the rising Conservative party. As Daniel McCarthy, senior editor at The American Conservative wrote recently, Republicans have yet to comprehend the magnitude of their loss in recent years among young people. “If Republicans are to have any hope of turning back that tide, they must heed the man who excited more students and young people than any other candidate for the GOP nomination—Ron Paul.”

Political parties are exclusively about packaging. New ideas and ideals need new packages or they will be beaten back by senior generations demanding the old hat, the old calcified forms and the old orthodoxies. This is still fantasy football, but a Palin/Perry ticket on the Conservative Party in 2012 would really wake things up.