Friday, February 25, 2011

Quigley’s Grading Scale for Presidential Viability in 2012

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/25/11

In 2008 I devised a system of choosing Presidential candidates similar to that which they use to grade cheese at county fairs, hoping to avoid the Ahab Syndrome here in New Hampshire (“I’d just like young people to see a Zoroastrian fire worshiper up there running for President.”) and the Day Trader Syndrome (“My wife is rich and I need something to do in the daytime.”) Here are seven categories. I’ve entered an eighth category this year, Sarah Palin. She gets her own category.

1. Governor of a big state: Rick Perry has been a consistently great public servant and a great governor in Texas. He should be drafted. But Bob McDonnell in Virginia is a great innovator, a great manager and Virginia is a remarkably well-run state. Of course, Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, is likewise well prepared. But can he win Iowa, South Carolina and the South? I think he understands that he might be running for Vice President.

2. Top Military Commander: General David Petraeus. Every historic period ends/begins with a general (Nelson/Washington/Grant/Eisenhower). Ours will as well. He might get picked for VP as our historic period is scheduled to end in a few years.

3. Governor of a small state: Mike Huckabee of Arkansas. He could take Iowa again and South Carolina but if Sarah Palin enters she will and Huckabee will be left with a one-way ticket to Palookaville. Jon Huntsman, Jr.: Most smart, most competent as Governor of Utah and Romney has already absorbed the hit on Mormons. Should be in the first rank but there are not enough people in Utah. Possibly we should have all Mormon presidents for the next 30 years or so to restore our work ethic.

4. Senator (or representative): Ron Paul of Texas shook the world. If Tea Party in Congress yields to the Bush/Cheney axis he should enter again. Or Gary Johnson of New Mexico could take up this mantle. Would be nice to see Carly Fiorina consider a run. She lost her contest in California but is supremely talented and prepared for the task through her work experience.

5. Relative of a former politician: Rand Paul. In my opinion Rand Paul substantively adds to the conversation. He is Kentucky’s Casius M.Clay incarnate and much like the brave, creative and eccentric scholars and genius folk preachers who peopled the Kentucky hills before the New Man of the South sold it back to New York.

6. Stand up comedian, professional wrestler, TV personality and the simply rich: Glenn Beck. Just say no. To Donald Trump as well.

7. Just anybody: Charlie Sheen.

8. Sarah Palin. The unpredictable, archetypal figure; the mythic she bear who pushes the world out of hibernation. Those already entrenched and justified feel it shattering and falling around them. She is a political genius who came to dominate the zeitgeist in two years without a dime. The first question about 2012 remains, “Will Sarah Palin run?”

Useful VP match ups: Palin/Perry, Palin/Romney, Palin/McDonnell, Palin/Huntsman, Palin/Petraeus. If Perry is drafted: Perry/Rob Portman, senator from Ohio. This would substantively ascend the issues of Constitutional Conservatism and state rights and anchor the party back to the tradition. Perry/McDonnell, Perry/Huntsman. My favorite: Perry and Carly Fiorina, bringing California back home to Texas.

When deciding to run for president the real question should be that which the Master gave to the two Irish angels, Veritas and Aequitas: “The question should be do you possess the constitution and the depth of faith for what is needed?”

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do we still need a Justice Department?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/24/11

Jay Carney, the President’s new mouthpiece, gives the impression of the “man behind the curtain.” Little to say, as Dana Milbank of The Washington Post reports, few tools in the toolbox, tepid and inauthentic like one of Don Draper’s paste-up artists, stylish and self effacing. Who’s afraid of Jay Carney? Who’s afraid of Barack Obama? It is all smoke and mirrors. But the perfect spokesman as the President moves to use the Justice Department in a pure and unconscionable strategy of political revenge. It reveals the inner man. Sarko was right: Obama is a weakling.

The President’s declaration last night that he would no longer have the Justice Department challenge gay marriage seems a random rear guard action of a president in retreat. No plan to it, just a random attack on the conservatives building strength in the awakening states. California is key. In state referendum it has voted down gay marriage. California is finding its own sense of dominion; a sense of who it wants to be and how with intelligence and will it will make itself. But last I heard Justice was supposed to be independent from the President. Even those of us who sat in the back of the class and slipped out for a smoke caught that. What is the principle of the Justice Department if it is just a partisan tool?

And so why again do we need this? New England, although dominated by New York, still has a sense of itself and a sense of dominion. I can’t imagine how anyone out of the region, especially some crusty political appointee in the Supreme Court who has never been here, could ever fully grasp our truer nature and truths. So they can only dominate via abstraction and that is what they do. Same with Texas: sense of dominion. You can’t truly know Texas unless, like Rick Perry, who’s boots say, “come and take it” you are Texan. Same to a degree and growing with the Pacific Northwest. An incidentally, some of the greater literature makes this case: Camus’s “The Stranger” and even better, Andre Malraux’s “The Conquerors.”

But California especially has spoken with the will of its people. Action by Justice or the Supreme Court would be pure detached totalitarianism, same as they experience today in Tibet as the arbitrary, distant and detached rulers in Beijing suck out their life force.

Government shutdown? As Judge Andrew Napolitano said on his “Freedom Watch” show the other night when this occurred in the mid-1990s main street folk opposed, as I did, but not now. The rising question now is who needs it?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The New Dominion: NH state rep calls for ‘State Defense Force’

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/22/11

State Rep. Daniel Itse of Fremont, NH, wants to create a volunteer "permanent state defense force," separate from the New Hampshire National Guard, to assist with disaster relief and "defend the state against invasion." The legislation would require NH Gov. John Lynch to establish a state guard comprising an undetermined number of volunteers who sign up for one-year stints. It would have an "inactive reserve" made up of all able-bodied adult state residents, with exemptions for conscientious objectors, state and federal officials, and others.

Itse might be considered the founding father of the Tea Party movement as it was Itse who proposed in February, 2009, that the state of New Hampshire need not comply with federal legislation, citing Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions. Within days, 37 states followed his initiative. This has brought a seismic shift in American outlook, from one of global conquest via economy, military, IPad, Google or Bono, to one which might be called a sense of regional dominion. In this vein Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia creates a new standard of governance, Judge Andrew Napolitano openly speaks truth to millions on prime time, and millions of Americans have awakened to the importance of their states as a defense against federal malfeasance and overreach and discovered the Constitution. Dominion tells us who we are where we are and how we willfully determine our own fate there.

"I simply believe it would be prudent for us to have it, in this day and age,” Itse told the Concord Monitor.

But Will Hopkins, executive director of New Hampshire Peace Action, described the proposal as costly and unnecessary. Hopkins, a former Guardsman, will testify against the bill. He said it would create "a rag-tag bunch of folks" too little purpose.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Tea Party needs leadership. Time for Joe Miller.

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/21/10

Before Wisconsin, the Tea Party was only an abstraction, now it is a real movement. Time starts here. The states suddenly realize they are free.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker marks the day. He stands fast while Organizing for America, President Obama’s residual campaign organization, runs 15 phone banks against him and fills buses of protesters to flood the state. But where will Tea Party go from here? At the recent CPAC convention they offered a trip to Alaska. They head in the right direction. Walker has even now been mentioned as a presidential contender in 2012. But The New York Times reported that during the crisis he called Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and Jeb Bush in Florida to consult. Christie and Jeb Bush have been mentioned by Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard as his first choice for President and Vice President in 2012. Is this where Tea Party should be going? No. It should press on to Alaska.

No question, Wisconsin is a milestone. But the new conservatives of the Tea Party are now at a fork in the road. Should they fold in with the mainstream and the conservative (Bush/Cheney) tradition? Or go alone? A year ago I would have said fold in, as Sarah Palin suggested. Now I’d say go alone. Too much has been gained. There is too much potential ahead and if they fold in with the tradition, it will be lost. Alaska’s Joe Miller is considering opening a PAC. But this might be the time to consider an independent run for the presidency in 2012.

Who will bring conservatism forward? Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Gary Johnson or Fred Karger of New Hampshire who says he is running for president in 2012 because “. . . the GOP needs a pro-choice, antiwar, freedom-for-all, spendthrift compromiser inspired by Nelson Rockefeller and Teddy Roosevelt.” Karger wants young gay people to see him run for president. And with Johnson calling for the legalization of marijuana and opening the Mexican border, the Republican debate season not far ahead begins to look like a leisure class affair; an American Idol line up of excentrics and middle-talent dilettantes, much like the Democrats have offered us these past decades.

But one stands apart, Joe Miller; Yale law school, West Point, combat veteran in Iraq with a whole group of kids. In this crowd of idea people he stands alone as a man of substance, fidelity and action. The Tea Party needs to continue heading west to Rick Perry in Texas and Joe Miller in Alaska, not turn back now to Vermont and Connecticut.

The Tea Party has no leader. It likes to imagine that it is multifaceted and self-organizing, but the hippie movement said that as well and it only lasted about five years. Without true leadership Tea Party will likewise be absorbed. Without leadership there is no form, no future. Tea Party should look to Joe Miller.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

“Faith-based revolution”: Israel’s Moshe Feiglin on the Egyptian uprising.

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/17/11

Moshe Feiglin is the leader of Manhigut Yehudit, the Jewish Leadership Movement in Israel. He is considered a “thorn in the side” of Benjamin Netanyahu because his group holds sway in the Likud. He calls for authentic Jewish leadership in Israel. We never hear a word about this group in the mainstream American press but in my opinion it is an important parallel to the Tea Party in the United States. His influence will rise in Israel as the Tea Party is rising here. The key to both; authenticity and a sense of place in the world to which one belongs. It is, in essence - in Feiglin’s phrase - “faith-based revolution” bringing into balance “Torah, Temple, Physical and Metaphysical.” His commentary on the Egyptian uprising and Israel gives a sense of this new movement:

“Why didn't Mubarak send in the tanks? Why didn't Tahrir Square turn into Tiananmen Square? Is the Egyptian regime less cruel than its Chinese counterpart?

“How is it that all the dictatorships in the Arab world have suddenly gotten weak in the knees over unarmed civilians doing nothing more than demonstrating? After all, the regime is all-powerful; they have built their security forces over decades in concentric circles so that the inner circle will owe its existence and power to the ruler and will always do his bidding. And if the need will arise, it will always force the ruler's will on one circle after the next until it reaches the very last citizen. What brought about the collapse of all these mechanisms of oppression?

“We all look on in amazement as history unfolds before our very eyes. . . Why are all the wise men - all the foreign affairs commentators, former ambassadors and professors - always surprised, while the regular people look on in amazement, but are not surprised in the least?

“Sovereignty in any type of regime is always in the hands of the nation. When the nation does not view the leader as being legitimate, all the mechanisms propping up the regime are of no avail. They will all collapse like a house of cards. This is true for dictatorships and democracies alike.

“We live in a dictatorship of thoughts, constantly under the watchful eye of the Thought Police. It is not easy to sense our dictatorship. That is why people in Israel are not demonstrating in the city squares. But the suffocation feels the same - the suffocation that doesn't even have a Tahrir Square to light up the end of the tunnel.”

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nixon’s regionalization idea useful today to the Tea Party

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/16/11

Rand Paul was interviewed last night on The News Hour, a sign that the Tea Party has arrived on America’s comfy sofa. Now the Pauls have a problem. They don’t have a plan. There are plans out there and Texas Governor Rick Perry’s book, “Fed Up: Our Fight to Save America from Washington” provides an excellent manual. The difficulty comes in thinking regionally in a country that has been thinking globally since Alexander Hamilton. But when Richard Nixon was President he had an idea that may be suited to our times: regionalization.

If you look at federal government as a business model it is a vast chain, but one without regional managers. In 1969, President Richard Nixon briefly divided the United States into 10 regions. The regions were random and inappropriate and did not take into consideration Jefferson’s vision of unique regions and distinct cultures. But the idea may be right for today. If Tea Party is to make progress it must begin to think regionally.

Most in the new Tea Party Congress were caught up in the fever of the moment. The movement itself was commandeered by the likes of Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and former governor George Allen of Virginia who claim to be “small government” types. They are simply Bush-era anti-government types who want to shift revenues to military.

We already have small governments. They are called “states.” The Tea Party, for the first time in more than a century, calls for the return of power to the states. The timing is right for this movement. The different states and regions have different needs, different ethics and different cultures. New Hampshire is not Mississippi and never will be. New England is not Texas. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s health care plan was not a bad plan for Massachusetts. It would not be a bad plan for New England. It would be a terribly ill fit and unfair plan for Texas or the Dakotas.

Government must fit the contours of regional cultures, otherwise one wealthy region (New York) rises to dominance. The states and regions must start to think for themselves. Texas and Alaska already do but most of the rest of the country including New England have become dependencies to federalist dominance since 1865.

In one of his last books before he died (“Around the Craggy Hill”) the great ambassador George Kennan brought forth his own vision of regionalization and it may be one suited to our day. He writes:

“I have often diverted myself, and puzzled my friends, by wondering how it would be if our country, while retaining certain of the rudiments of a federal government, were to be decentralized into something like a dozen constituent republics, absorbing not only the powers of the existing states but a considerable part of those of the present federal establishment. I could conceive of something like nine of these republics—let us say, New England; the Middle Atlantic states; the Middle West; the Northwest (from Wisconsin to the Northwest, and down the Pacific coast to central California); the Southwest (including southern California and Hawaii); Texas (by itself); the Old South; Florida (perhaps including Puerto Rico); and Alaska; plus three great self-governing urban regions, those of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles—a total of twelve constituent entities. To these entities I would accord a larger part of the present federal powers than one might suspect—large enough, in fact, to make most people gasp.”

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Carter and Obama, lost in the woods

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/15/11

Halfway through the course of my life I found myself in a dark woods. – Divine Comedy

Jimmy Carter was President of the United States between 1977 and 1981. Exactly halfway through his tenure, starting February 11, 1979, it began to unwind for him when (from Wiki): “guerrillas and rebel troops overwhelmed troops loyal to the Shah [Mohammad Reza Pahlavi] in armed street fighting. Iran voted by national referendum to become an Islamic Republic on April 1, 1979, and to approve a new theocratic constitution whereby [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini became Supreme Leader of the country, in December 1979.” The parallels between Carter and President Obama have been startling, but the timing of the Egyptian uprising, exactly halfway through Obama’s term and rising on the same date is for those who follow historic cycles striking. From Wiki: “On 11 February, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak had resigned as president and transferred authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces following 18 days of protests challenging his nearly 30 years of rule. On February 13, 2011, the Egyptian military, heeding protester demands, dissolved the Egyptian parliament.”

This is bad news for President Obama. The Egyptian uprising, celebrated and egged on by irresponsible American MSM, is spreading already to danger zones. But it might have been expected. Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are similar psychological types. They were both brought in as novel distractions to relieve the intensity of the previous historic periods; the tension of the war in Vietnam, which brought America, in Henry Kissinger’s phrasing, almost to the moment of civil war, and for Obama, relief from the accumulated anxiety of the divisive war on Iraq. Carter and Obama were/are Presidents the people in the outside world could like who didn’t like America. They were/are Presidents Americans would like who didn’t like America’s role in the external world.

But that would only go so far. Two years apparently. The same external forces, like the radical Islamists who came to power in Iran during the Carter administration, would recognize when it was halfway over that they had a window of opportunity. The cat was sleeping. It was time to act. They had two years to make progress. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Nerd imperialism: Why did Apple crash?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/13/11

In Egypt, when the MSM was essentially calling for a reenactment of the love feast with the fall of former Soviet countries and varied other “developing countries” Apple computers experienced a flash crash. No one seems to know why. Possibly because the events today in the Middle East are not essentially about Egypt but about America. About wanting the rest of the world to be just like America. It is a kind of nerd imperialism. The uprising, don’t you know, is the work of smart phones and iPads, just as we were told by the glowing supporters here of the Iranian uprising in 1979 that it was all because of the new Walkman technology and the ability to hear a speech by Ayatollah Khomeini in Paris back in Iran via tiny cassette devises. When one Canadian legislator expressed caution in a CBC interview this weekend she was chastised by a reporter for not showing “exuberance” for what was essentially a military coup.

But possibly the events that shook the world this week did not take place in Egypt but at the CPAC conference in Washington, D.C. Renegade Libertarians Ron and Rand Paul are now mainstream. Austrian economist Frederich Hayek is now an operational perspective. New names enter the lexicon of everyday life: Florida Rep. Allen West “rocks the house.” Rick Perry, governor of Texas, calls federal government an intrusive, overbearing “monster.” As Rand Paul said in his CPAC speech this past week, the Founding Fathers knew the difference between “a republic and a democracy.” Possibly nature does as well.

As Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune, something happened to Apple's (AAPL) share price Thursday afternoon that has investors still scratching their heads. “The stock, which had been sailing along near its all-time high of $360 a share, started to drop at about 1 p.m. Then, at 1:39, it collapsed, falling from $355 to $349 in the space of four minutes. In all, $10 billion got shaved off Apple's market capitalization before the stock began to recover.”

It bears a strikingly resemblance to the flash crash of May 6, 2010, he writes. But that shook the entire market. This one belonged to Apple.

Nerd avatar Steve Jobs’s Apple Corporation is of vast symbolic importance to the American tempo and temperament. It is to a generation just this year turning 65 what General Motors was to the Eisenhower generation when Charles Wilson, president of GM in 1953, declared before Congress that “as General Motors goes, so goes the nation.”

Flash crashes are not Acts of God. They respond to subtleties in the culture which are kept in denial then manifest all at once, like a neurosis. Three have manifested this month which will fully change America: The Ron Paul Disorder - The CPAC convention metabolizes a new political perspective, possibly a new party to replace one of the old ones; The Amy Chua Disorder - We have seen the millennium and it speaks Chinese. The Chinese have arrived and they bring again a work ethic. Good bye soccer mom mentality in which everyone gets a little trophy, anyone can go to Yale and just anybody can be secretary of state. Once again we will have to work for it; The Sarah Palin Disorder - She has hired chief of staff. Get ready.

Friday, February 11, 2011

“Yes, we can”/No we won’t: The end of Pax Hillary

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/11/11

Mohamed Elbaradei, who has spent almost all of his waking life on American soil and sees New York, where he taught and worked, as the center of the world, has finally come up with a slogan to unite the Egyptian masses: “Yes, we can.” It does have a catchy ring. The Tunisian revolution, we writes this morning in the New York Times, “sent a powerful psychological message, ‘Yes, we can.’” It is clear to Elbaradei who the true leader of Egypt is, American President Barack Obama. But things took a turn yesterday when Hosni Mubarak, who actually lives in Egypt, refused to yield to his demands. President Obama virtually ordered him to step down. Leon Panetta, chief of the CIA, announced that Mubarak would follow the directive without hesitation last night. But he did not. Mubarak’s slogan might be, “No, we won’t.”

Elbaradei accepts American cultural dominance of the world. He wants to be America’s regent in Egypt. Mubarak does not. What is interesting from a cultural and diplomatic point of view right now is that Mubarak’s Egypt joins a list of countries that have sent messages that they do not consider themselves to be pseudo-Americans; secondary appendages of American will: Israel, China, Germany, France and any number of rising economies throughout the world in the past year. What we see in Egypt could well be a continuing unraveling of American influence in the world.

The horde plays to the camera and the vast American/global audience. It is a model designed by General Vo Nguyen Giap in Vietnam and has been used successfully since almost everywhere. What could be unraveling here is not so much Egypt as Hillaryworld, the one-world awakening in the early 1990s; a world not of actual places made of earth, but in Elbaradei’s phrase, “virtual space” where Bill is the new celestial Suleiman, hovering in the stratosphere up there with Mistress Andromeda. It is George Soro’s world; a world in which everyone is a kind of American; an American by degree. Nothing else exists.

I would like to see Mubarak or whoever takes his place, send Omar Suleiman direct to Israel first off and begin discussions there. It would advance that great, historic moment in 1979 when Anwar Sadat first signed a peace treaty with Israel. There is more to be done with that although there is no braver man today yet to do it. It should seek to find that eternal world of places that existed before Obama, before T.E. Lawrence, before the United Nations made Egypt a marker on an American chess board. There are holy and historic places that still exist underneath. Because nothing in human consciousness runs deeper that the relationship between Egypt and Israel. And nothing is as ephemeral as the Pax Hillary.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Springtime for CPAC

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/9/11

The NY Times reports this morning that the upcoming CPAC contest starting tomorrow will begin the season of politics and bring forth those conservatives who desire to run for President in 2012. Undoubtedly it will be a watershed event; possibly a conservative love feast like Woodstock. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.

I say that in a disparaging way as Woodstock sucked. The music was terrible and it was largely a shadow event for those who missed the Summer of Love in San Francisco the year before. It was the definitive moment in which art turned to ideology and the generational culture turned from pensive consideration of Aldous Huxley, Buckminster Fuller, Ina May Gaskin, Tolstoi (“The Gospel in Brief”) and the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to MBA school. Virtually every individual at Woodstock then is either a journalist or a lawyer today. The greats recalled today did not attend. They had moved on. And what might be significant in the CPAC event are those who are not there this week.

“The three-day gathering of the Conservative Political Action Committee, which begins Thursday with more than 10,000 activists expected to convene in Washington, effectively rings the opening bell for the Republican presidential nominating contest,” reports the Times.

But Sarah Palin will not be speaking there, nor will NJ Governor Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee, all top shelf contenders in 2012. Not even Jeb Bush, who keeps saying he doesn’t want to be President but does and hopes to be drafted. Possibly these four will find their status lifted by not attending.

Some of the most original and committed candidates of the last two years, like Tim Bridgewater of Utah and Joe Miller of Alaska, did not get elected, so what got to Washington was a watered down, accommodating form of Tea Partism. And others, like Rand Paul, are as quirky as his two-fisted, forest brawler hero, Kentucky anti-slavery advocate Cassius M. Clay. And Ron Paul will never be president although he is likely to run alongside a rising conservative sensibility into the next ten years much as his friend Ralph Nader did during the Sixties and Seventies.

CPAC will be a celebration of these things and will bring in the traditionalists to show their tolerance to new ideas. But they will accommodate and dominate those ideas. The convergence of Tea Partiers and traditionalists at CPAC will bring a celebration and an ending rather than a beginning, as Woodstock did. Look to people with their hands on the wheel like Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia and Delegate Jim LeMunyon of Virginia to make the substantive difference over time. There is prelude to change as it has awakened in the past two years. But it will take longer and will demand that the states and their legal bodies and the governors take the initiative, not a president.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Sarah Palin v. CPAC

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/7/11

. . . the she bear moves the masses. – prophesy carved in stone in Bollingen, Switzerland

The Tea Partiers come to speak next week at CPAC with the traditionalists. Ron Paul, Rand Paul. Senator John Thune will be there. Rick Perry, governor of Texas, will be there and Michele Bachman. Front and center in the middle of their promo is that Glenn Beck; suffering striver for John Bunyan’s “world which is to come.” But Sarah Palin will not be there. Is she finished? Have the bipartisan Unfriends of Sarah – Tiny Fey, Barbara Bush, Letterman, Katie Couric, half of the Republican party and all of the Democrats successfully wished her away? I doubt it. The question now is: Who is stronger, CPAC or Sarah Palin?

Palin phobia still stalks the republic. It is the sign of an archetypal figure: Something comes from nature, something new. It is terrifying because it changes everything. Jefferson, Victoria and The Beatles were archetypal; but so is Swamp Thing. They are figures for which there is no turning back, figures for whom there will be no compromise. They are autonomous and whole within themselves. They sometimes get animal nicknames (thus The Beatles). Like Mama Grisly. There is something in them that turns the heart and liberates it, but terrifies those already invested as they are overnight rendered (to use that ubiquitous word from the archetypal Sixties) “irrelevant.”

Mitt Romney understands this better than anyone, possibly. Rick Perry likes her and in many ways is like her. I doubt Romney would want to hang with her and Todd. But he is not – and I think this is from his strong Mormon upbringing – not threatened by those unlike himself and he does not feel the alienation the others do from this woman of the woods. The winter Olympics he ran was a hippie paradise complete with Robbie Robertson of Woodstock fame and a celestial tribute on ice to the White Buffalo; indicator of aeon Aquarius. He seemed to enjoy it. And in recommending that Palin run in 2012 he appears to understand that she has a good chance of winning. And suggesting also that he can work with her.

The outlanders who want to converge now at CPAC with the traditional burghers owe their existence to Sarah Palin. Had there been no Sarah Palin there would be no Tea Party. Had there been no Sarah Palin Judge Andrew Napolitano would still be one hour on Saturday morning preaching Jefferson in competition with Johnny Bravo and the Powder Puff Girls instead of five nights a week on prime time. Nikki Haley would be selling real estate. Sarah Palin enabled much of this and metabolized these themes on an acceptable national forum. That she would turn this all over now to Carl Rove or Newt Gingrich misunderstands the aggressive level of management Palin brought to Alaska. Misunderstands Sarah Palin.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Not a Jew

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/4/11

In “Day of Empire: How Hyperpowers Rise to Global Dominance – and Why They Fall” by Amy Chua – that Tiger Mom in an age of penguins – I was struck that in the introduction, she referred to her husband as a “Jewish American.” I was an “Irish-American” in the days of Geraldine (“It’s my turn!”) Ferraro, an “Italian-American” who was Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984. There were Afro-Americans and WASPS (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) and Newyoricans (playwright Miguel Pinero and Justice Sonia Sotomayer) but Jews were just Jews. I’d only heard the expression “Jewish American” once before, years back when a Congresswoman awkwardly referred to some of her constituents as “Jewish Americans.” Commentator David Brooks got a laugh out of it saying, “I used to be a Jew. Now I’m a ‘Jewish American.’” But maybe Chua’s characterization is the better one for our times. Technically, as I understand it, you are a Jew if your mother was a Jew. But hypothetically, if you live in Brooklyn and support Hamas, if you don’t believe in God, if you married a Muslim woman and were married by Bill Clinton who also performed the bris on your first born, are you still a Jew?

It is a rising question and an important one. I’ve spoken to Jerusalem psychologists and corresponded with Israeli leaders about it suggesting that American Jews today yield to the classic anthropology of any other immigrant group. After three generations, you are no longer Irish-America. You are American. But American Jews have an option. They can make aliyah to Israel and end the exile. Or they can stay here and be Americans. We the former Irish cannot do that because when we left Ireland it changed forever and that which once was, no longer exists.

It is an existential question and Haaretz reports yesterday that the Interior Ministry and the Jewish Agency rejected a request from singer Barbra Streisand's cousin to come and live in Israel. Dale Streisand, 57, was reportedly refused new immigrant status on the grounds that his Facebook profile indicated he had been involved in Christian missionary activity in the past.

Nir Hasson reports that that Dale Streisand’s application had been rejected because he believes that Jesus is the messiah. Evidence of this, they told him, was found on his Facebook profile in the form of a link to a Christian missionary website. Streisand also told Haaretz that he is a newly Orthodox Jew, is studying Torah and that he wants to live in Israel and raise his children there.

According to the Law of Return, the interior minister may deny a Jewish person the right to immigrate if they have a criminal record, endanger public health or state security, or if they "work against the Jewish people." The High Court of Justice has in the past upheld the decision not to grant immigrant status to a Jewish person who has been proven to have converted.

The Jewish Agency released a statement saying the Interior Ministry determines individuals' right to immigrate according to the Law of Return. The ministry added that the right to immigrate is determined by Israel's Law of Return.

I never liked being an Irish-American. Brought to mind that Niels Bohr equation. How does that go? You can be a Particle or you can be a Wave, but you can’t be a Particle and a Wave at the same time. Better to be an American. Or a Jew.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The ObamaCare “individual mandate” case will determine America’s future

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/2/11

We haven’t heard from Bono and Lady Gaga yet, so it is too early to say, but in our age of second acts – Wikileaks, Jane Fonda workouts, Hawaii five o, Jimmy Carter (and isn’t the TV show “Dexter,” in which liberal frustration leads to weekly ritual sacrifice by a serial killer, a redo- of the very popular “Death Wish” in 1974?) - the Egyptian uprising appears to be a latte version of the Ayatollah Revolution in 1979; but one without the Ayatollah. And without the American hostages. The first brought Ronald Reagan from nowhere on to a steady trajectory to the most successful Presidency perhaps in the post-war period. Possibly we will see that heartland instinct which emerged in the Reagan period awaken now to dominance. Indeed, it is what we have been seeing with Tea Party, Constitutional Conservatives, Sarah Palin and Judge Andrew Napolitano these last two years. The key, in my mind, is one case rising before the Supreme Court; the case of ObamaCare’s “individual mandate.” It will determine America’s future.

The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto today has a good analysis. “If the Supreme Court were to uphold ObamaCare, it would mark a radical expansion of congressional power,” he writes. “The court would have to find that Congress's authority ‘to regulate Commerce . . . among the several States’ is so vast as to permit the enactment of laws forcing individuals to transact business with private companies.”

The 26-state challenge to the “individual mandate” is itself a second act. The first onslaught came when First Lady Hillary Clinton led Congress to try for a national health care bill in the first Clinton Administration. It descended into fiasco. But this time it was different. This time, under the good grace that allowed up to 70% of the people to support Barack Obama when he was running for president, Obama betrayed America’s good will to jam through this bill via the dark quaternity; Frank, Pelosi, Reid, Obama. In a sterling moment of character unprecedented in the post-war period, the people stood up and took it back.

As Taranto writes, the Supreme Court has expanded congressional power before, but in almost all such cases it was or at least seemed to be, going with the political grain. “By contrast, in upholding ObamaCare, the Supreme Court would be validating an unprecedented congressional power grab while upholding a law so at odds with the popular will that, to borrow the words of The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn, ‘there was something fundamentally illegitimate about the process that produced it.’"

If on the surface we are in late Seventies redux, our age has for the past decade brought to my mind the mid-1800s and the shift from the Colonial Period to the rustic Jacksonian era. In the people’s battle against the Obama Quaternity, the people are winning. The passage of ObamaCare legislation by a Congress which had the full support of 11 percent of Americans brings to mind the Fugitive Slave Act passed by Congress in 1850 which compelled citizens of northern states to act against their conscience and help return escaped former slaves into bondage.

As Texas Governor Rick Perry writes in his book, “Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington,” “. . . while the southern states seceded in the name of ‘states’ rights,’ in many ways it was the northern states whose sovereignty was violated in the run-up to the Civil War.”