Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Waiting for Rick Perry

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 9/29/2010

As The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard reported here last week, the Tea Party has successfully moved the political center to the right in this primary season. Today, the Wall Street Journal follows up in a front-page story, “Tea Party Movement Gathers Strength.”

WSJ: “The tea party has emerged as a potent force in American politics and a center of gravity within the Republican Party, with a large majority of Republicans showing an affinity for the movement that has repeatedly bucked the GOP leadership this year, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll has found.”
The findings show how the tea-party movement has grown over the past two years from a loose confederation of activist groups into a marquee brand with the GOP that has upended a number of primaries in recent months. A “substantial chunk of the Republican Party is rebranding themselves,” said Bill McInturff, who conducted the survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart. Tea party is now supported by a third of the country in some polls, the Journal reports.

But if this new energy is going to amount to a repeat of anti-government, “small government” rant it will be in like the dust and gone with the wind in a few years. There is here and now potential for original thinking and systemic change. And there will need to be new people in top leadership positions to bring in a new generation.
When some of these conservative old schoolers talk about “small government” they actually mean thin government. They mean the same kind of vast and centralized governance we have today with one or two departments thrown out. Maybe you have to be from Texas with its deep sense of place. Or Alaska. Texas Governor Rick Perry, a fiscal conservative, has little regard for the approach of the Obama administration, calling it “. . . one of the great Frankenstein experimentations in American history. We've seen that movie before. It was from 1932 to 1940," he said in a Wall Street Journal interview in late August, 2009. As opposed to "vanilla . . . one size fits all" government, Perry’s "goal is to have states compete against each other. I don't want to look like Connecticut, no offense, I don't want to look like Oklahoma, I don't want to look like California. I want to be uniquely Texas. And that's not to diss anybody else."

That gets to the essence of small government as the Tea Party first articulated it. In late December, 2009, it was claimed here on “Pundit’s Blog” that Tea Party would be a force to be reckoned with and Rick Perry would rise with it. Still goes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chris Christie rising: Alpha Dog and the Scolder-in-Chief
The 9th anniversary of 9/11 rang with hollowness this time. Different than in earlier years. This year we wanted a remembrance and didn’t get one. This time, again, we got a lecture. We came to honor the dead and affirm the valor of the fearless. We got Lady Gaga, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and another scolding from Barack Obama. This, the quaternity of the reigning liberal zeitgeist will continue to hurt the President and the Presidency with its immature associations.
This time, maybe for the first time since, memory has awakened to its demands. It was not enough. Next year, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it will be decidedly different.
Comparisons with Carter are everywhere now but we called them both out ourselves, Carter and Obama, because we needed to rest a bit and recover. We needed to lick our wounds. But starting this year, starting now, rest period is over.
This is the background against which new Jersey Governor Chris Christie enters the room. I’d first heard him touched upon by Cavuto, half joking, months back; there would be a possibility that Christie, his neighbor, might consider a run in 2012. But greater urgency has come upon us since the 9th anniversary of 9/11 this month and the controversy over the mosque near Ground Zero. Only since then have we turned around and turned on the appeasers and accommodators to ask: Where is Alpha Dog? Where is our Alpha Dog? Who will speak and act for the rest of us who will not be attending the Colbert/Stewart show on October 30?
Alpha is that quality that made Christie stand out in his confrontation with a heckler at the Meg Whitman fund raiser. He has been doing this all the past year.
History turns on a moment and the psychology of Christie’s aggression brought to mind another time. New York was absolutely squalid with drugs and chaos and the chronic harangues of nihilist winged monkeys; bankers were snorting coke and messengers shooting up in the stair wells of Madison Avenue skyscrapers. The Pope had been shot. John Lennon was gunned down in from of his home. There had been an assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan was shot and almost killed. It was all running together.
The country was worn thin and weary. Then one day at a press conference President Reagan told a heckler to “shut up” in a moment almost exactly like Chris Christie’s. And surprisingly, he did. Just at that moment things began to turn around and get back to normal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Christine O’Donnell: Burn the witch

I’ve been disturbed by reports that Christine O’Donnell “dabbled in witchcraft.” We have had this problem up here in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Witches. We know how to deal with them. Burn ‘em.

Still it persists up in the hills. Dowagers. Even the flinty old New Hampshire Yankees do it and the state brings them out to find water. And they plant their gardens at night, by the moon.

The Puritans had the place purified of witchy practice, but then they all became real estate agents and no one cared after that. But then the others came in, putting those ornamented druid trees in the house on Winter Solstice and wreaths on the door. You can tell a true witch by the witch’s holly circle – their symbol - they hang on the door. It always turns to the left. Opposite of the way of progress. If they don’t have a wreath hanging, they are hiding it, and that tells you something right there. You can just ask them to draw a circle. If they draw to the left they are witches. Or old school they just throw them in the river to see if they don’t float. That works.

They even brought back the witch cycle of the seasons: Easter, Halloween - the season of the witch; they say it is the easiest time to get in touch with the dead – and Christmas, of course, high church day of Earth Mother incarnate celebrating the birth of their Star Child on Winter Solstice. We changed that and made believe Jesus was born then. They even wrote a song here in NH called “Jesus the Apple Tree” identifying the Lord and Savior with the tree deity, Cernuous, the Green Man and avatar of the old Celts.

I checked O’Donnell out in “The Handbook of Celtic Astrology,” a witch book. They use that. Since her birthday is August 27, it says her totem tree is Hazel and her animal is fish. She’s a witch. (Obama’s birthday is August 4, his tree is Holly like mine and his animal is Unicorn like mine. It doesn’t tell you if he is a Muslin or not.)

We started burning witches up here in the mid-1600s when strange behavior exhibited by the four children of a Boston mason was attributed it to witchcraft practiced by a cleaning woman named Mary Glover.

Turned out she was not a witch. She was a Catholic. Whatever.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Choosing Joe Miller

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 9/22/10

It is clear now that Lisa Murkowski is one of those which runs deep and dark into the night, known well to aficionados of the occult Slayer/Angel legacy as Vengeance Demons. That she is willing to throw the Alaska race to a Democrat by an excentric write-in candidacy is virtually unprecedented in our day. No doubt she sees her family name as synonymous with Alaska. This is Hapburgian politics and it is much the fashion in our times (Clinton, Bush, Kennedy, Murkowski). Here in New England many still believe that Kennedy is Massachusetts and without Kennedy there is no Massachusetts. It stifles grown, awakening, karma: It prevents the new generation’s dance of creation from taking place. No doubt she really believes that Joe Miller and the Tea Party are “extremist” and she the orthodoxy which will preserve the honored tradition. It is worse for Alaska. Massachusetts is almost 400 years old and weary. Alaska is just being born.

Michael Barone on Cavuto last night compared the Tea Party to what were called “the new people” in the Sixties. The Tea partiers he said are the new “new people.” As it was then, the orthodoxy of the old hopes to stop them and Murkowski leads the charge of old against new.

But what is most enlightening about this episode is how her Republican colleagues in the Senate have responded to her decision, which would jeopardize conservative prospects everywhere. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in particular. As The Hill reports, McConnell backed the switch when Richard Burr took over as senior Republican on the Senate Energy panel after Murkowski lost the position Tuesday.

The very traditional and very mainstream Republicans had a choice: Past or future, old generation or new, old orthodoxy or new thinking, Murkowski or Miller. They chose Miller. They chose life. They chose their future.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sarah Palin wins 2012 Right Nation poll: Chicago rising

Sarah Palin has won the Right Nation 2010 straw poll for 2012 potential candidates for President. Palin gathered 19.1% at a Chicago-area conference on September 18. Chris Christie came in second with 16.2%. Newt Gingrich third with 13.4% and Mitt Romney fifth with 11.2%. Mike Pence, who won the Values Voter summit came in tenth with only 2.7%. Mike Huckabee, who came in second in the Values Voter Summit came in sixth with 9.2%.

The poll will show the preferences of grassroots leaders from throughout the heartland, says the group’s website, with conference attendees from the Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, as well as tickets sold outside the Midwest from Florida to California.

Right Nation 2010 is a joint venture of Republican, conservative, libertarian, free market, and Tea Party independent organizations and individuals, facilitated by the 75 year-old United Republican Fund. These groups are converged and it is interesting that they are finding their center in Chicago.

These are interesting results from a Chicago group and are probably more representative of mainstream America than the Value Voter poll. My impression of the red state/blue state division which so gave Jimmy Carter the willies in his interview with Brian Williams (worse that Civil War?) is that it is a natural and necessary growing pain of our American condition rising to it fullness. Chicago in this regard is the American city rising in the new millennium as America finds its center; NY and the eastern cities on the edges recede. It is not Obama’s city, not Rahm Emanuel’s and no longer the Daleys. Those days were transitional. Visionary Frank Lloyd Wright saw the region as a center point; a Brahma moment between East, West, South and the Great White North. That relationship has matured in our time. Heartland-based politics is also finding its center there and it could well be the resting place and the awakening place of this new political sensibility.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do liberals hate Obama?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 9/20/10

This Sunday there was a remarkable silence on the flagship journal, the New York Times. Not a serious word on the appointment of Elizabeth Warren by op-ed page commentators although that appointment brings a seismic change to the Obama administration. Only an op-ed she wrote herself back in 2005. But on the Sunday news shows there was a Clinton on every channel (ABC – Hillary, CBC, NBC – Bill). And Letterman, who called President Obama a one-timer last week, brings Bill Clinton to his show this week. The dinosaurs have decided Obama’s time is up. Time to go back to the Clintons.

Was always there, since 1963. When we, in my high school in Newport, RI, elected Willy Brown, the only black person in the high school, to be our class president. Willy was a great guy, but no Obama. More a Tully Banta-Cain. He was captain of the football team as well.

Black people were to us in liberal Rhode Island a symbol of how we thought of ourselves or how we thought it would be nice to be. Although no black people actually lived in our town as no one ever sold a house to a black family until my sister did. We loved them but I don’t think we liked them. They were part of our abstraction; our collective imagination, not our life.

The NYTs op-ed page today is an expression of Bob Geldof Globalism. Remember him? The archetypal loser rock singer (The Boomtown Rats) turned political activist. We are the world and rock and roll would save us. He just yelled getting off a plane one time, “Do it because it’s right! and it was like a revelation. Margaret Thatcher started saying it and President George H.W. Bush. Geldof was last seen in a cameo appearance in the Spice Girl movie, “Spice World” in 1997. He says now, according to Wiki, his children find his music 'crap' and find him an 'embarrassment'. Now Bono does it. And Lady Gaga. She’ll soon be at the NYTs like Bono. She was quoted by CNN’s Political Ticker on the defense authorization bill Sunday.

There is no place among the dinosaurs for Elizabeth Warren. There is no place for adults. But although the younger set; the Daily Kos types – love Warren and Justin Raimondo of correctly calls her their La Passionara – the “anima” or collective, representative yin spirit of a rising political sensibility – the Woodstock generation is left cold. They want Bill back and if they can’t get her, Hillary will have to do. Because that is all they can think about.

Because Elizabeth Warren brings out in Obama that which was latent from the first: An ethic of hard work, determination, a will to succeed, to correct, to go forward, and to get it right under complex pressures. She should be secretary of state. She should be chief of staff. She should be vice president. Maybe she should then be president.

That’s a problem for Obama. Back in Rhode Island in 1963 that is not what we liberals and the soon to be Woodstock minions liked about black people. That is specifically what we disliked in white Protestants. What we liked was singing and praying and men in Pointer Brand overalls like Ralph Abernathy holding hands with New England Unitarians and swaying with Joan Baez. Malcolm X said this was phony and pretentions and just like in the plantation days. He called our new black champions then our “House Negroes.” Obama is decidedly not one. Not now, not never. I’m not sure much has happened since to change that.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Who’s afraid of Elizabeth Warren?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 9/17/10

The appointment of Elizabeth Warren is the best day for Democrats in a very long time. She seems to be that Harvard professor who actually belongs there and not on the golf course at Martha’s Vineyard with the leisure class and the entitled. She seems in essence to be that which was once the essence of Harvard. She seems to be the embodiment of New England as it once was. Like James’s Isabel Archer she is smart, competent, determined and makes her own way. She talks straight and honest and says the same things at a Daily Kos convention as she says on Cavuto. Everyone should be proud of her and thrilled that we have her. But everyone is afraid of her.

Wall Street is and the Republicans are but the Democrats seem to be as well. She has already sent so many to the fainting couch. Not since Sarah Palin has there been such a disturbance in the force. But Elizabeth Warren is the defense and possibly the only defense against Sarah Palin, the Tea Party and the prairie fire that is rising in the west. Irony will no longer work, nor will the late night tittering of Tina Fey and David Letterman. Or the weakling parody of Colbert and Stewart. It is decadent and debilitating. With Elizabeth Warren the Democrats finally enter the room. And potentially – who knew? – awaken a new paradigm of excellence.

It has been a long wait. Several years ago, Mark Warner, former governor of Virginia and Senator today, and Jim Webb, the Senator from Virginia, started a new season for the Democrats. It was first identified when Markos Moulitsas, Hill commentator and founder of the original political blog, The Daily Kos, identified a generational division within the Democrats in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

These divisions need to happen and the Democrats had a head start. But in that same period he had a post on Daily Kos asking, "Won't these Clinton-era Democrats ever go away?" Even before the senate races in 2008 Clinton loyalists were raising money for Hillary. And the Clinton baggage remains a burden.

Elizabeth Warren can and should turn the tide. The Democrats can rebuild their stock with her. I am delighted that President Obama has appointed her to head the new consumer protection agency. But he has another job opening ahead, Chief of Staff. For someone who has taken every wrong direction in making appointments (Joe Biden?) the President might ask himself, What Would Bill Belichick do? Appoint the most able person to replace Randy Morse or my cousin Darryl from Chicago? Warren brings a new ethic to the Democrats. They must demand now nothing less.

The stables are starting to clean out. Time to start again. Warren and as far as I can see, only Warren, gives the Dems a fighting chance.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Obama’s moment and the rise of the summer moon

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 9/16/10

One of Google’s gifts is the Promethean fire: We can see the world in pictures in an instant and know ourselves in a new way. I recently ran across an image of this happy valley of the universe we live in; the world with its magnetic fields sending electronic waves in beautiful fountains at the North Pole and at the South Pole. Next to it was a similar picture of the earth shifting its poles. The fountains were gone and it looked like a child had scribbled all along the edges. That is what “change” means. We live in such a time and it is beginning to take a purchase.

A thoughtful reader, Diane from New Mexico, writes about a May, 1979 article in The Atlantic by James Fallows. “The article explains why Carter made a compelling candidate, but more importantly, why he was not a good president,” she writes. “In reading through it I was struck by the fact that you could insert ‘Obama’ for every mention of ‘Carter’ and the entire article would ring true today.”

It is a delight to have such a reader. About a week before he was elected I think I wrote that Obama fulfilled a national and historic purpose by being a black president. That it all he would be, the final postscript in the John Brown, Lincoln, Grant, Obama narrative. Case closed. When history completes its cycle, it moves on. And we are on a rising arc of power in this country and at the cusp of a new historic movement. It will begin in Comanche country where Diane lives.

Obama would be a "moment" just as Carter was; a period of rest and pause between the difficult war in Vietnam and the Reagan period. Today we see strength rising in the west: Look at America as twin or binary empires like Rome and Greece with the capitals at New York and Dallas instead of Rome and Constantinople. The New England sensibility, tagged along with the New Yorkers to attempt to give them a little tradition, which constantly looks over its shoulder to Mother England, is hundreds of years old and worn threadbare. The Comanche/Dallas empire has a fierce heart and a Scotch/Irish tradition. It is Baptist and Methodist and born at the Alamo with hardly a memory of England. More like the Lone Ranger who rose from the dead in the desert by the clairvoyant abilities of an Indian shaman. He had no memory of his Euro past. He wore a mask because his identity was not yet revealed, even to himself.

S.C. Gwynne’s “Empire of the Summer Moon,” is a remarkable history the great half-blood chief, Quanah Parker, and of the Comanche wars which settled Texas and the Southwest. It is a story which only ended in my father’s lifetime; a new period of American awakening only begun in my father’s lifetime. Yankees who like being Americans must read it because it is our story and it must be accommodated in Yankee mind (think Bill Belichick). Because although it may not come naturally to us, Comanche heart is our heart as well.

We live today at the beginning of the century between the Yankee mind of New England and the Comanche heart of the west. The Comanche heart is winning the day. We fought the war in Iraq with the Comanche heart, not the Yankee mind. If we New Englanders do not like it we should think of another arrangement. Because the Comanche heart is Rick Perry’s Texas and Sarah Palin’s Alaska and the summer moon is rising.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Unremembering 9/11

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 9/10/10

President Obama, who WSJ columnist Daniel Henninger says begins to sound like “the most embittered American President this country has ever known,” will not remember 9/11 well this weekend and it will mar his presidency. He will be at the wrong place at the wrong time. He will make it feel that in some insidious way it was somehow our fault as so much seems to be our fault now. As if our children had been there and been killed in the blast at Battery Park, we would share the blame for having had children. America’s sin is being here: It is our fault. But we don’t care.

Obama’s comments tomorrow will be an unremembering. A way of “putting it behind us.” A way of “moving on” by which he means going back to the’90s or the’70s or the ‘60s or the 1930s. For us and for the next president 9/11 and the ensuing conflicts will be seen as a vast beginning: Think of Normandy or Cemetery Ridge. Think of Trafalgar which suddenly gave England her best 100 years just when she thought she was spent. Better still think even of Bethlehem and Jerusalem and the destruction of Temple Mount in 70 A.D. which gave the world a new creation which would ride for 2,000 years. It is not there yet. It is still too early. But it is starting to get there. A hundred years hence and five hundred the destruction of the trade centers at Battery Park in New York City; towers which could look oddly like a primitive sun temple when the sky was right to a photographer’s eye, will be remembered like that.

The controversy over the mosque in proximity to Ground Zero – and it is interesting how we mark time from zero there as we did last at Bethlehem – and Rev. Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida is the beginning of remembering. It is just starting to awaken now and will continue for as long as we remember. To his credit, Rev. Jones is motivated by an honest case of revenge and has claimed that he would not burn the Koran if the developers will move the mosque. There is a certain logic to it.

But what is strange coming out of this is Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s comment. Bloomberg of course supports the developers but says, “In a strange way, I’m here to defend his [Jones’s] right to do that” because the First Amendment protects everybody. But if Jones burns the book people are certain to die, including most likely, American soldiers. Maybe Bloomberg has never seen anyone get his head blown off in warfare. This is fetishistic and cultish: Constitutionalism unanchored from reality to become a pseudo-or-secular religion and a crazy one. No doubt he will be at the unremembering.

“Experience proves that the man who obstructs a war in which his nation is engaged, no matter whether right or wrong, occupies no enviable place in life or history,” Ulysses S. Grant wrote in his memoirs.

Obama is too young to understand this and he will always be too young.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Israel needs a king

by Bernie Quigley

coming up at The Hill on 9/7/10

The political theater that is the current round of Middle East peace talks continues in the realm of incredulousness that is the American globalist illusion. The fantasy that we control things in the world. Certainly at some turn Hillary will appear with that domineering school marm charm holding hands with the duly submissive Netanyahu and Abbas to announce “We have an agreement!” Hillary will then travel to Egypt for a photo op of her hugging on to some oversized women in the marketplace. Then maybe she will run for President. Then she will lose and that will be the end of it. Israel can then bring forth the grownups.

But before that happens they must play along with the American tempo. They must pretend that Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is the same kind of man as Joe Biden or Dick Cheney and the others here who have never seen death in war or been threatened by extinction even on a daily basis for over a 100 years. Until then they must be reflected in the American light prism in which when the Associated Press refers to Netanyaho’s foreign minister as “hawkish” it means to those listening someone like Ollie North or one of Bush’s staffers or some Ivy League twit at the National Review.

But then Israel must distinguish itself not as a well-educated and mother-bound suburban province of Philadelphia as Netanyahu presents it today, where the children play soccer and everyone gets a little trophy, but as a warrior state, which it will need to be for some time longer, well till when Hillary, Bill, Joe and Barack and their high priests Bono, Elvis and Lady Gaga are well forgotten. And in American years, it won’t be that long.

Israel must then find her king. Ours is a timely state loosely held together by cash, hubris and football. Israel is a timeless state. Like Canada, England, Sweden, Thailand and Japan, she needs an extra-political force to hold steady in the water and stabilize a parliamentary realm which will take the hits of time and uncertainty, to awaken and preserve again that which is timeless. Israel is a state marked in timelessness by kings. She will not be that state again until the king returns.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

“impotent, limp, gutless”
Somewhere decades back as I recall, Pete Hamill, New York’s great journalist, wrote a piece titled I think, “The End of Machismo.” “Machismo was a word which had come into fashion then meaning exaggerated masculinity but it came to be used to refer to any man who was a man. The thing is it didn’t end, machismo/manhood. Machismo/manhood went into exile in Tony Soprano’s New Jersey. And what masterful troupe acting came from that. But the only ones allowed the free play of honor, love, family, sin and responsibility which might be called the “nobility paradigm” in that period were New Jersey gangsters.
Now it comes, out of the closet or the Bada Bing! strip club and back into the light. Anyone with the psychologist’s bent – like that behavioral psychologist executive at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce who looks like Joyce Brothers – might do a “psychological types” study on this new phase because it brings a new paradigm and a vast change is at hand.
But it will bring to America a distinct change of temperament. And it is not really about manlies. It is about clarity, strength and action in collective responsibility. And as the point is made in Hiroshi Inagaki’s “Samurai Trilogy,” the rules are the same for the monk as they are for the warrior and they should carry you all the way to the dust.
I would say it comes – or comes back – from war. Sgt. James turned the tide, and he brought the creative culture with him when he won the award last year as Best Actor. Weasel Man is not good at war. Sgt. James is very good and he is war’s one basic necessity. Hollywood today is finished with Weasel Man. “Impotent, limp and gutless,” Sarah Palin called him. He does not sign his work, but hides behind annonimity. Nor will he hold fast, like Anwar Sadat, to take the bullet in the chest when the time comes.
Look what is coming up this month: “The Town,” with an elementary group of manly individuals: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Renner (Sgt. James), Jon Hamm (Don Draper), Pete Postlethwaite, who you would definitely want in your foxhole or on a drive through South Boston, and other toughs. And pretty soon on TV, in comes Tom Selleck as top cop; Father Cop; bringing the pattern to full form. Selleck can’t be topped for manlies, as in “Magnum, P.I.” which ran from 1980 to 1988. And we are going there again, I guarantee it.
This is not bad for Obama. He comes to it, but it is not good for the Clintons. It is completely good for women who can drive snow machines, have babies, trim a deer and cook it and make their own money with or without a man like Grizzly Mamas. And it is better for some other people who haven’t got here yet. And of course for Joe Miller of Alaska, who is just starting.
Here in Boston the transition is astonishing. It is no longer Matt Damon’s Boston, it is Ben Affleck’s. The difference can be seen in the unbearable lightness of Matt Damon’s bank robbing crew and Affleck’s group of gnarly boys. And Affleck’s movie is about Boston, the toughest city on earth, which has found its center again, thanks the miraculous acts of Manny & Co. (“Everything is my fault,” says Ramirez, Christlike, “but you have to be a real man to realize when you are wrong.”) It comes to us as well in Scott Brown’s pick up truck and just in the nick of time.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Dead in Israel

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/2/10

Of the four Jews who were murdered in Israel last week three were members of Manhigut Yehudit, a group of deeply religious Jews who are part of a leadership group in Israel with, in their words, “authentic Jewish values.” Like most of the religious groups in Israel, the mainstream press constantly refers to them as the “extreme right wing.” They do that here as well with deeply religious groups like Southern Baptists and Mormons. But as Hillary and President Obama meet today in a re-branding exercise about Israel’s appointed role in globalization, a good number of Israelis have well moved pass Clinton-era foreign policy and are waiting for a new paradigm. And Jews are probably better at waiting than anyone on earth.

The problem with the Obama administration from the first is that he brings only himself to his administration. He is a charmed and engaging man so that is without question the best part of this administration. But unlike the Kennedy and Reagan periods, which brought change elements to our time, be brings no original ideas. And no original people. So no one expected to see any new faces when Israelis and Palestinians “resumed talks” in Washington this week. The stage for this current meeting was set when Joe Biden was announced to be vice president. Joe Biden? Didn’t I already not vote for him 20 years ago?

The Obama period is a period of rest; a period of completion and contemplation. After this, the Bidens and the Clintons and the Netanyahus and Mahmoud Abbas can all go together wherever they go to retire. Oak Bluffs, maybe. Unlike Siddhartha, they have never left their castles to see the world awaken around them. They bring their castles with them. But what a stark contrast the Israel of past generations presents to the Israel of today.

Since the rebirth of Israel there have been at least three generational levels of identification. But a new generation is awakening and the Jews murdered on the road to Beit Hagai speak to it. Netanyahu, with what he calls “my partner in peace” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, probably does not.

But what legitimate purpose can there be in returning from exile to Israel if not to pray at Temple Mount? Where did the British Foreign Office get legitimate authority to will the region over to Jews? Where the UN? Where Bill Clinton? (Bono? Elvis Costello? Lady Gaga?) Where indeed. From this perspective legitimacy can only come from here: “That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.” Deuteronomy 30:3.

“The Torah does not explain how we will reach the conclusion that we must return to Jewish political life that will fulfill the promise ‘And all the nations of the world will see that God's Name is called upon you,’” writes Michael Fuah, who speaks for Manhigut Yehudit. “On this Rosh Hashanah, let us all pray that we will find the way to return to God on a national level with our own free will and joy in our hearts.”

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Joe Miller: America comes into the country

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 9/1/10

As one more interested in beginnings than endings, this morning I Googled “Joe Miller” before I went to Obama’s Iraq speech and was delighted to see this headline on the LA Times: “In Alaska, Sen. Murkowski concedes to ‘tea party’ candidate Miller.” Because history has a tendency to begin again where it ends. As it did in the mid 1970s when Howard Cosell interviewed John Lennon at half time at a football game. At the end he said, “I’ve got to go John. I’ve got to interview The Gipper.” John Lennon said, “Who’s The Gipper?” Soon all would know. And soon all will know Joe Miller, who, with backing from Sarah Palin and the Tea Party, just won the GOP primary in Alaska.

If “Mad Men” ever gets to the mid-1970s, one of the mini-cultural awakenings which they love to uncover will be the publication of John McPhee’s “Coming into the Country” about Alaska. As Wiki says, “McPhee's travels through much of the state with bush pilots, prospectors, and settlers, as well as politicians and businesspeople who each interpret the state in different ways.” It was then a very Emersonian phenomenon and the best among us had already travelled to Alaska. Some, like my more adventurous and industrious friends, to work on the pipeline at Prudhoe Bay. Congress and punditry might pick up a copy. Like so many things in the mid-Seventies it echoes today. McPhee’s great book presented Alaska as a door in the American psyche that was about to open. Today it opens.

As President Obama said last night, “It is time to turn the page.”