Saturday, December 04, 2010
America is now an East/West country (Rick Perry/Carly Fiorina ’12)
By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 12/4/10
New York came to prominence with the signing at Appomattox in 1865. But that all changed when John Ford and John Wayne reawakened the western spirit and Ronald Reagan brought the western idea to Washington. With the nomination of Sarah Palin, the call of the wild again ignited in the west and America entered a paradigm shift. Before that moment America could still hope to be a North/South country under New York dominance. From that moment forward, America would be an East/West country.
Since WW II economy and population have shifted from the northeast to the south and the southwest. The Reagan Presidency began to bring the south and west to cultural relevance and political dominance. Rural farm counties like Tobaccoville, NC, saw their voter registration change from Democrat to Republican by 80%; the first time people there would vote Republican. They were not suddenly allying themselves with Wall Street and its Kennebunkport friends, awkward and unconvincing in cowboy boots, who had followed the conquest to Texas. They were allying themselves with Ronald Reagan’s Santa Ynez Mountains and Barry Goldwater’s Arizona. In 1984, 49 of 50 states voted Reagan.
The agricultural and commodities rich middle states were advancing in this period and the blue state/red state division reemerged but with a difference: In the 1830s, the blue industrial northeast was rich and the rural red was dirt poor. Now the blue are poor and calling on the red for support. The other important difference is that the blue northeastern states and CA see themselves as extensions of Europe. The red states do not. They are indigenous American rural cultures: When they look across the Atlantic they see only Israel. In a word, the abstract political temperaments of liberal and conservative America have materialized into oppositional regional cultures.
The red states have awakened and what might be called the Jeffersonian paradigm of colonial days has now risen north from Texas up through the Rockies and heading almost unbroken through to Alaska. As Jefferson challenged Alexander Hamilton’s vision of dominance by New York in the early 1800s, so Sarah Palin and Joe Miller of Alaska do today. So does Texas Governor Rick Perry. (Rick Perry/Carly Fiorina ’12?)
I wrote here on Pundit’s Blog on 8/29/08 hours after McCain picked Palin for VP:
“This is no longer a race between one candidate who brings to mind John F. Kennedy [Obama] and another following in Bush’s Wall St.-with-cowboy-boots theme . . . It [Palin’s entry into the race] opens an entirely new political dialog in the country pitting the Eastern establishment and all of the institutional thinking and baggage that entails against the new mores of the West and the rising spirit of adventure on a frontier still free and open, independent and self reliant.”
The eastern conservative establishment will claim the Reagan mantle hoping to bring control back to New York and Washington. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard sees NJ Governor Chris Christie as a hedge against the rising western tide in 2012, somewhat predictably, with Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida, as VP.
But ignoring the natural contours of history can bring conflict and even in time, warfare. History must follow the demographics. The west – Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Palin (Perry, Fiorina) - is rising. The east – Roosevelt, Kennedy, (Bush), Obama - retreating. The demographics have been moving America steady to this position since war’s end.
The great and definitive president is just ahead. Whoever it is will fulfill Reagan’s vision of western awakening and destiny and will set the stage for the new century.