by Bernie Quigley
- for WesPAC, 6/12/06
Could be that we are all destined to be born again as Americans in
Our primary myths arise from
Six years into the new millennium we sense an awakening. It is appropriate that we sense it in
I felt a sea change in politics a few months back when reports of the Fighting Dems first began appearing on Wes Clark’s web site. I’d been in the room with General Clark when he signed the book to enter the primary in
It is a trifecta week: three major and formative events are at hand - Jim Webb, the Texas Democratic Convention and the Yearly Kos. Jim Webb, running for Senate in
This is the pattern of many who are returning to the Democratic Party. Born Democrat in Northern cities and Southern towns, they left the party during the Reagan administration. Now they are coming back. My thought is that they were right to leave then and now they are right to come back. Now is the time for a new turning of the political culture.
The Democratic Party was once the party of the real people of this country. The people who grew soybean and cotton, the people who gathered for barbecue at the Legion Hall, who went to church, listened to Johnny Cash, and served without rumination or discussion when they were called to duty.
Now they are coming back. Jim Webb is one of them and so is Wesley Clark. Webb is an astonishing individual, well known to all of us who were awake during the war in
From Webb’s political writings, it seems clear that the Dungeon & Dragons Warriors of the White House Cabal which engineered the misbegotten vision of hubris and fantasy play in
We heard similar words from General Clark during the
Last week Russ Feingold, Senator from
Feingold speaks with clarity and authenticity. His integrity has brought him to the top of the youthful and dynamic movement which vents its spirit daily at the Daily Kos and the other blogs.
My thought is that this is the most important of generational movements in
Recently, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos, who coined the phrase Fighting Dems and has heavily promoted them on his blog, suggested a fork in the road for Democrats. He wrote in an op-ed article in The Washington Post saying that there are now emerging two Democratic Parties; old Democrats, and he mentioned Senator Clinton and John Kerry, and new Democrats (he mentioned Russ Feingold and Mark Warner, who have recently scored one and two in his monthly survey of readers). General Clark also consistency scores high in Daily Kos polls and has since he entered Presidential politics in the last election.
“Hillary Clinton has a few problems if she wants to secure the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination,” wrote
Hillary Clinton leads her Democratic rivals in the polls and in fundraising, said
The Yearly Kos, uniting the netroots this week in Las Vegas, is a Who’s Who of new Democrats, and although Markos does not endorse candidates at the conference, star power participants who are candidates or possibly will be candidates for public office include Mark Warner, Wes Clark and Eric Massa.
This could be a watershed event and such a turn in the culture comes none too soon. Pundits, some of whom were the original neocon enablers, have recently compared the Bush Presidency with the Jacksonian period, when the newly empowered Southern states to the west flaunted a new populism in the face of the Whigs in the Northeast, driving them to extremes. I think it is an appropriate analogy. And it should be remembered that the Whigs, who bore a close similarity to the passive and effete wing of the Democrats today, were driven out of business. But from there a new party rose like a
It should be recalled that when the country desired to be born again in the 1830s it could not rely on the mainstream press, which had succumbed to the same passivity, corruption and ambivalence as the political culture as a whole. So William Lloyd Garrison began a new press, The Liberator, in 1831, and the Gray Champion and Yankee Crusader, Theodore Parker, mounted the podium at
Nature will always find its way in a country with a temperament as free and independent as ours, and this time it is the independent journals and the blogs rising organically into the political culture. Markos is their William Lloyd Garrison.
These events come in a good week. Al-Zarqawi is dead and with Henry W. Paulson heading to the Treasury Department, there are clear suggestions that Rove and his folkloric crew of unenlightened amateurs have been sidelined and the Bush Administration is making attempts to rejoin the world.
But after six years when every utopian, millenialist, religious zealot and political cultist was drawn to his aura, we have to wonder. With what strengths do we approach the new century having let go the reins of the world for six years? When President Jimmy Carter went back to the farm after four years, which had been left in the hands of brother Billy, he found there was little left. Paulson will need strong kung fu to reach over the transom and grab hold the dollar before it sinks into oblivion.
The sudden appearance of competent managers from a mainstream sensibility like Goldman Sachs and the dispersal of ideologues are good for the country. But it may not be good for the President. As he, like myself and 40 million others who rose together in a wave out of WW II, turns 60 in the next few weeks. He has always seemed to dislike his own generation and sometimes to despise it. Indeed, he strangely seems to have no real friends his own age. And he was clearly chosen by an older generation to oppose his own and to do the impossible – to form an alternative path to the inevitable destiny of one generation following the next; to hold back time. The recent suggestion of competence in the White House reveals the able hand of James A. Baker, administrator of extraordinary competence in the Reagan Administration and the Bush family fixer. As the President turns 60, once again, the reins have been taken from him by his family. He cannot feel good about his work in the world to date at a birthday which signals completion and returning. And that cannot be good for the country.
I am not one of the people who hate the President. I have always shared the values and the family culture of the Bushes. And as one born in New England, which often seems hindered in its progress by a wistful yearning for the Old World of England and the Continent, what I like about the Bushes is that they continued their American journey and moved to