Clinton v. Perry: Bill Clinton should start a new party
By Bernie Quigley
For The Hill on 8/22/11
I’ve been writing about Democrats and Republicans as anachronistic appendages of history dominated by two wealthy and influential New England industrial-era, Gilded Age families, the Kennedys and the Bushes, holding the culture in sway – in a trance, maybe - for decades. It was only Bill Clinton who successfully broke free from this family pattern.
But Hillary’s hopes for the White House were dashed overnight by Carolyn Kennedy when the whole clan suddenly rose against her. Just as Jimmy Carter was sandbagged by Uncle Teddy. Just as the Bush team today hopes to demobilize Texas governor Rick Perry.
When Clinton said famously, “The age of Big Government is over,” it was a correct statement and a historic one. The age of the plantation was over as well and the age of the vast factory floor with its horde of immigrant workers pouring out together at the lunch whistle. America is no longer an empty, endless primeval forest awaiting occupants but rather a fully developed and diverse group of regional cultures. One size no longer fits all. We need new regional thinking. Today up to 85% of Americans work in small business. But the Kennedy/Obama Democrat’s mind set – like the Bush Republicans – is still bound to the age of field and factory.
For awhile between Reagan and Clinton the economy worked well. Now, with Pelosi, Barney Frank, Reid and Obama, it is clear that the old Roosevelt-era industrial vision was only in hiding; quietly lurking under the stairs of the university and planning a vengeful sequel.
But I see this as the last hurrah. Tea Party rose in direct opposition and America repudiated the old ideas. The people opposed. Virginia Senator Jim Webb said when the Bush-era bailouts were announced by Hank Paulson that calls were ten-to-one against to his office.
It is unfortunate that Bill Clinton came to the support of Obama during the debt ceiling crisis this month because he should have been on the other side. In fact, he should have been leading the other side. This and all of the original thinking of states’ rights, sovereignty, opposition to global empire, freedom and individuation that we hear today from Ron Paul, Gary Johnson, Judge Andrew Napolitano and the Tea Party pretty much started here in Vermont and New Hampshire in opposition to the imperial Bush/Cheney/Rove adventures. A quick check of the Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence web site and its thoughtful newspaper can confirm.
Today, with no place left to turn, New York looks to Vermont for direction. As NY mayor Mike Bloomberg hopes to buff his shine by presiding over the wedding of the first gay couple in NY, it is old hat here. Democratic Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin does so this week.
Our America today is no longer Marx v. Keynes in imperial global projection. It is now Keynes v. Hayek in regional competition. The regional competition which Texas Governor Rick Perry today advances was suggested first in the most liberal quarters of New England during the George W. Bush administration. These ideas are not yet fully formulated in either party and need someone with the status and cache of Clinton to advance them on the left. He is on a vegan diet; he advocates David Lynch’s Transcendental Meditation; he is a man of the geist, he’s still hungry and he comes from a different creative place. He needs a new vehicle; his own vehicle. And at least half of his generation can think of nothing else.
Conservatives have been the first to begin to grasp the meaning of the new century in the new libertarian and regional thinking. But that could easily flip.
When people live in an outmoded system their lives become strange and temporary. Revolution beckons to them. As Peggy Noonan wrote recently, today no one dies here where they are born. We have no cousins. Maybe this will find improvement.