Friday, April 29, 2011

Donald Trump, Thaddeus McCotter and the GOP Establishment

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/29/11

A phrase recently appeared in the MSM: “anti-establishment conservatives.” Brings to mind that well-worn phrase of the Sixties, “counter culture.” But modeled for a new century and for new generations. Sarah Palin first busted out and today conservatism – from Rand Paul and Judge Andrew Napolitano to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Donald Trump - bristles with creativity. It brings a change of paradigm to American politics and culture and suggests a forceful will and intelligence at work in its desire to become real. Commentator Michael Barone compared the change to that of the Sixties. There are now three elements: Democrats, Republicans and the new conservative counter culture which has no real name yet. By 2012 it could well become the new mainstream.

NY Daily News columnist S.E. Cupp has a name to add to the new people; guitar hero and Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, author of a new book, “Seize Freedom!: American Truths and Renewal in a Chaotic Age.” She says he could become the next President of the United States.

“At a time when so many Americans revile politicians for being part of the establishment, he sits unnervingly outside of it, at a matter-of-fact table with a matter-of-fact sign. So un-Trump,” she says.

In fact, McCotter might be seen as the anti-Trump.

McCotter is unflinchingly conservative, an unapologetic defender of American “exceptionalism” and the war on terror; he prizes good works over big promises, she writes. He was one of 59 Republicans who voted against House Speaker John Boehner’s last-minute budget deal with Democrats, making him a favorite among Tea Party voters.

He speaks better than perhaps anyone in Congress and thrills the crowd whether at the folkloric Tea Party rallies of heartland America or at Dartmouth student events.

Say what you like about Donald Trump and the usual bitter invective will come forth as it did with Sarah Palin. But when the Trump helicopter landed here in New Hampshire two days ago it was like the Beatles had landed. And it will be a tough act to follow.

Key to Trump is this phrase he used yesterday in Las Vegas, the most appropriate place to begin his campaign. From The New York Times: “Even as Mr. Trump upbraided the country’s leadership, he reserved his greatest scorn for a New York landmark. He told the crowd he was tired of returning from Asia, where the bridges make the George Washington Bridge look like a ‘toy.’”

It is perfect zen symbolism as Trump runs in opposition to the frumpy old GOP Establishment (Rove: “joke candidate”; Krauthammer: “provocateur and clown”). They want to refurbish old landmarks. Trump wants to build new bridges.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Donald Trump v. the “GOP Establishment”: Why Trump will win

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill to appear on Monday, 4/25/11

Last week Karl Rove, the official voice of what Sarah Palin calls the “GOP Establishment” took the bait. He called Donald Trump a “joke candidate.” Then at the end of the week Charles Krauthammer ran a lineup of what he considered to be the GOP potential for 2012. Krauthammer, who might be considered the GOP Establishment’s agent provocateur, said of Trump. “He’s not a candidate, he’s a spectacle . . . merely vulgar. A “provocateur and clown,” like the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Krauthammer proposed Mitt Romney as the GOP Establishment’s first (and only, really) choice. That’s terrible news for Romney, because in a Trump v. Romney race with Romney as the official representative of the Rove/Krauthammer/Bush/Cheney GOP Establishment, Trump wins.

Consider conservative influence which is not part of the GOP Establishment which has awakened say since Texas Governor Rick Perry wrote this in the Wall Street Journal on December 2, 2008: “As governors and citizens, we've grown increasingly concerned over the past weeks as Washington has thrown bailout after bailout at the national economy with little to show for it.” Since then we have seen Perry reelected with the GOP Establishment in full opposition, and we have seen Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Ron Paul (pulling over 40% of young conservatives), and Mile Lee of Utah in the Senate and Libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano and friends going nightly on Fox Business, and Fox News (without Beck), Joe Miller of Alaska taking the leadership of Western Representation PAC, 87 new Congress people, 17 new conservative governors, the Tea Party with its 3000 chapters, New Hampshire’s Free Staters (“ . . . opposing gun laws, legalize marijuana and Hillary is a bitch.”), The Tenth Amendment Center, state sovereignty movements in 37 states and did I mention Chuck Norris?

The GOP Establishment is Inside the Beltway. Trump is old school New York, but as new again and as innocent as John L. Sullivan half naked in the ring, taking on the world, alone. Some of these by no means would find Trump representative of their interests, but all have risen in opposition to the GOP Establishment.

The GOP Establishment peddles INFLUENCE. Trump understands POWER. And marketing. And packaging. And he sees what is quite obvious by now; an amorphous American movement looking for form and structure; a play like Pirandello’s looking for an actor; looking for a champion. And he understands that the old establishments both Democrat and Republican (Ford and Chevy? Meat and Potatoes?) are arid and calcified and lost in the wrong century. His combination of Bismarck and Phineas T. Barnum could well be the catalyst. It is not far from Ronald Reagan’s approach. Sending Rove and Krauthammer to apoplexy all in a weekend suggests he is on his way.

The GOP Establishment’s constant attempts to drag it back again to the Bushes suggests chronic fatigue. It is debilitating. And it is a roadmap to failure. History does not follow a straight line but moves periodically through tectonics shifts; Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt and Kennedy brought such changes overnight and so did Picasso and the Surrealist group, and The Beatles in the Sixties. It is nature’s way. We are at such a transition now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brad Watson, 2011, Mario Savio, 1964

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/20/11

And the Mario Savio “wake up America” award goes this year to Brad Watson, a reporter who had the audacity to ask Barack Obama why he was so unpopular in Texas? When the pharaoh unclipped his mike, he bruskly said to the reporter, “Let me finish my answers next time we do an interview, all right?”

The run up to the 2008 election may in hindsight be seen as journalism’s darkest hour in recent times. But there was something happening in the global psyche then, evident in the giving of a Nobel Peace Prize to a president who had only been in office eight days. Even the recipient felt it was absurd. But he didn’t give it back.
More than anything, the world - including the networks - wanted this man to be President and the price in journalism integrity was high: Donald Trump harvests now from the fawning incompetence by asking again the questions that should have been fully answered the first time.

The Brad Watson moment brings a well needed sea change to major media – meaning primarily the most pertinent to the zeitgeist, television – but the networks have quietly been in the works shifting their staffs already; removing the mid’lin and the odious, and returning to solid stock with Diane Sawyer at ABC, Scott Pelley at CBS and other ranking and top notch professionals.

But the Brad Watson moment shows how fragile and electric our moment is. His criticism was so mild it could barely be called criticism. The President’s reaction was lurid; sort of frightening.

Instead of the glittery and institutionalized awards given to journalists nowadays, which since the concept of embedded journalism have brought about reinforcement of already calcified establishment norms, there might be a new Mario Savio award. Mario Savio was a member of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement who jumped on the roof of a car and gave a speech that shook the world and it didn’t stop shaking for 15 years.

"There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part,” he said in 1964. “You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all."

Now that is excellent populist polemic. William Strauss and Neil Howe, the generational historians, make the claim that history and generations turn virtually in a moment, in an afternoon, and nothing is the same again. Savio’s blistering, elegant prose dissent came at a moment when the world was overripe for change; it was a dam waiting to break so the river could flow again. Our times are different times; the issues today are different, but the conditions are not so different.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Sarah Palin Manifesto

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/19/11

When Sarah Palin went to speak at the Republican convention two years back a hurricane came in and shut it down. But I suppose it was just a coincidence that hundreds of tornados swept across the South when she gave her Wisconsin speech last week. Something to watch, like the apocalypse. When I was raising my kids there in lower Appalachia, apocalypse was well on the minds of the local radio preacher shamans in the mountains and in the serpent-handling so-called “primitive “ churches in the hollows, and without question it shadowed the judgment of the born-again George W. Bush and what might have been called then the “GOP establishment.”

Sarah Palin used the phrase “GOP establishment” in her April 15 speech in Wisconsin, and incidentally, she has also redesigned her web site,, to look more Presidential. What with all the excitement with The Donald and tornados where they have never gone before, it might have gone unnoticed. The MSM, which she has promised not to goad again, breathes a sigh of relief that the storm has passed and Donald Trump is more fun to play with anyway because he lives in New York and is no real threat. But her speech was more than a speech: It was a manifesto. A few phrases:

Hello, Madison, Wisconsin! You look good. I feel like I’m at home. This is beautiful. Madison, I am proud to get to be with you today. Madison, these are the frontlines in the battle for the future of our country. This is where the line has been drawn in the sand. And I am proud to stand with you today in solidarity.

Well, I am in Madison today because this is where real courage and real integrity can be found. Courage is your governor and your legislators standing strong in the face of death threats and thug tactics. Courage is you all standing strong with them! You saw the forces aligned against fiscal reform. You saw the obstruction and the destruction. You saw these violent rent-a-mobs trash your capital and vandalize businesses.

Now, there’s a lesson here for the Beltway politicos, something they need to understand; the lesson comes from here in Madison. So, our lesson is to the GOP establishment first. And yeah, I’ll take on the GOP establishment. What more can they say about us, you know?

So, to the GOP establishment: if you stand on the platform, if you stand by your pledges, we will stand with you. We will fight with you, GOP. We have your back. Together we will win because America will win!

We didn’t elect you just to re-arrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic. We didn’t elect you to just stand back and watch Obama re-distribute those deck chairs. What we need is for you to stand up, GOP, and fight. Maybe I should ask some of the Badger women’s hockey team—those champions—maybe I should ask them if we should be suggesting to GOP leaders they need to learn how to fight like a girl!

The words “courage” and “solidarity” occurred throughout and the speech in my impression seemed cleverly modeled on one by Lech Walesa given in the rise of the Polish anti-communist Solidarity movement in 1980, which took even leftist New York City by storm.

The MSM thinks now she will not run for President. What part of “going rogue” don’t they understand?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Donald Trump for President?

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/18/11

This is from The Wall Street Journal’s “Journal Community” which I take it is a blog. What I think is interesting/relevant/thoughtful about this brief commentary, “Donald Trump for President” is the way in which it compares Donald Trump with Ronald Reagan:

“Donald Trump has thrown his hat, so to speak, into the 2012 Presidential Race ring; and he remains, still, without one hair out of place. But is he serious or this he playing US? I think The Donald is very serious, and I definitely do not think he should be taken lightly. In the context of the current political and entertainment atmosphere that now permeates the country, Trump actually makes a lot of sense as a candidate; even more so, and this is a big IMO, than Reagan did when he ran. Donald Trump is a multidimensional businessman / newly minted entertainment mogul, who has a very strong personality, is very pro USA, and once he unleashes himself into a project becomes a bare knuckles formidable opponent. And for these reasons he appeals, at least currently, to the Tea Party movement, whose roots lie in the hope that we can get this country back to its roots.”

The writer talks about the “context of the current political and entertainment atmosphere that now permeates the country.” Trump makes sense, even more so “ . . . Than Reagan did when he ran.” This correctly understands Reagan’s popularity: He was not a popular President “in spite of” the fact that he made movies like “Bedtime for Bonzo” but BECAUSE he made such movies. He was the heartbeat of post-war, populist America, and Donald Trump may be as well as a purely populist figure. If we wanted it to be different we should not have passed the 17th Amendment in 1913.

That liberal America has become entranced by figures like Bill Clinton who was a Rhodes Scholar or by Barack Obama who was editor of the Harvard Law Review is a symptom of decline. It is what used to be called “lace curtain.” Let the Canadians elect a liberal PM because he taught at Harvard. America is yet the robin-egg blue ’52 Cadillac convertible, chopped and channeled, rolled and pleated, with lakers and moon disks that Neal Cassady drove the Dharma Bums across America in or that Hank Williams died in the back seat of seeking Jesus. And it is the better place to be.

Friday, April 15, 2011

NOTE: Donald Trump surges ahead this afternoon:

"PPP released a poll today that shows in a hypothetical national runoff, Trump would win 26 percent of the vote, trouncing runners-up Mike Huckabee, who would garner 17 percent, Mitt Romney, who would pull in 15 percent, Newt Gingrich, who got 11 percent, and Sarah Palin, who brought in 8 percent, and Ron Paul’s 5 percent. Minnesotans Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty, who are expected to be influential candidates in the 2012 if not also favorites, took only 4 percent in the PPP poll."

- Karoun Demirjian, The Las Vegas Sun
Donald Trump was right

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/15/11

Trump told NY1 on 11/11/2008: "McCain, really, that was almost an impossible situation. Bush has been so bad, maybe the worst president in the history of this country. He has been so incompetent, so bad, so evil that I don't think any Republican could have won."

Trump was right. Go back and look to the first appraisals by General Wesley K. Clark and Senator Jim Webb of Virginia on the invasion of Iraq, both of whom Trump might look to as outside-the-box running mates.

The Republicans poison themselves today by trying to accommodate the life and times of George W. Bush; by trying to vindicate Bush. It is a psychological trap: It cannot be done by a free people if they are to remain free. Bush/Cheney will recede in infamy. They will bring their supporters down with them but they will not bring America down with them.

And he may in time be vindicated about President Obama:

"I think he has a chance to go down as a great president. Now, if he's not a great president, this country is in serious trouble," said Trump.

No consensus. But Obama’s failing is that he did not know what to do as President as he had never had a real job before. Had he hired William Daley and Elizabeth Warren (and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was all but begging for a job) in prominent supporting roles at the beginning it might have gone better. But as President he does push to the sidelines all other liberal Presidents in the post-war period, including Jack Kennedy and family and especially the Clintons, who bear some of the contempt appointed to Bush/Cheney in foreign policy.

But most important is that Obama fulfills and ends a period of history that began in 1831 with three specific objectives: 1) prevent the Southern states from secession 2) free the slaves 3) equality of life and opportunity between blacks and whites. What is important about Obama is that he completes a vast historic America epic: He completes us, and he does so with some grace.

And that is why 2012 and 2014 are most important. A new era awakens, portal to the century, portal potentially to the millennium.

Is interesting this week that Ayn Rand’s Libertarian icon John Galt comes to the big screen. Is Donald Trump John Galt? Rand’s characters are forms and archetypes, but Trump still has that real life New York common man swagger in his walk; it is that which makes one a New Yorker. It can be 50 Cent’s New York, but it can also be Toby Keith’s. He hasn’t lost that quality – which the Clintons as New Yorkers never understood and certainly never had – to the big bucks and his big, gaudy buildings.

Oh and it says that Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich – the endless apprentice - and Mississippi’s Haley Barbour are coming up to see us here in New Hampshire. And they are interesting to us now why?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

“The irrepressible conflict”

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/14/11

It is said with some fright here on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, that we face the same divisions again in red state and blue state. Demagogues like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow used the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War as an occasion to paint advocates of state sovereignty and the principle of nullification as racist “neo-confederates” says a commentary from the Tenth Amendment Center. It is much the same as that which came out of New Haven and New York in the time preceding the invasions of the Old South, Texas and the Mormon lands.

Indeed we do face the same division and we always will because it is the nature of the human condition to divide between red and blue, head and heart. Tai chi, it is called – the division of the yin and the yang, from which come all other things. Rome and Constantinople divided in their first beginnings as empires then as religious groups along the same contours and the division echoed all the way to the age of the Cold War. These are birth and growth pains which in the end resolve again to what might be considered as the state of “wu chi” – unmanifest karma; the world before birth and after death – Europe after 1917 - waiting to be born again, or not.

Wu chi; A state perfectly described by these phrases: “Imagine there’s no heaven . . . no country . . . no religion too.” A time in between; a time of waiting.

But it is our world today which begins and rises in head and heart and it is our world just beginning.

Technically, our binary nature began at Jay Treaty in 1794 when Washington teamed up with the New Yorker Alexander Hamilton in opposition to Virginia’s Jefferson and Madison. It never got right from there. As early as 1797 Jefferson anticipated northern invasion. And from then on it was always a question of temperament as it is today. As historian Frank Owsley wrote in his classic essay, “The Irrepressible Conflict”:

“In the beginning of Washington’s administration two men defined the fundamental principles of the political philosophy of the two societies, Alexander Hamilton for the North and Jefferson for the South. The one was extreme centralization, the other was extreme decentralization; the one was nationalistic and the other provincial; the first was called Federalism, the other States Rights, but in truth the first should have been called Unitarianism and the second Federalism.”

The difference then was that New York was red; fierce because it had almost overnight become powerful and rich through rapid industirialization. Today it is blue, broke and if Maddow’s prose is any indication, dispirited and nihilistic; a poor posture as the northeast turns today to the healthy agrarian heartland it so despises for a bailout.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quigley at Nullify Now! New Hampshire's conference

I was delighted to be asked to speak at the New Hampshire stop of The Tenth Amendment Center's "Nullify Now!" tour recently, sharing a platform with Thomas Woods, Michael Boldin and in other regions former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and the bright young writer Jack Hunter. Here are my comments:

FINAL - 1/19/11Speech: The New Age of Jefferson. Every State a Free State

To put it simply, the most astonishing thing that has happened these past two years is that the states have suddenly realized that they do not have to do what the federal government tells them to do.

The idea seemed incomprehensible when it was first presented up here in northern New England five years ago.

But today, if the Supreme Court upholds a lower judge’s ruling which allows gay marriage after the state has clearly indicated its collective will in opposition in a recent referendum, it will bring an existential situation to California. Five years ago it might have gone unnoticed. Today such a ruling would prove to Californians that their plight via Washington is no better than that of Tibet, dominated by alien and arbitrary rule by foreigners in Beijing thousands of miles away.

37 states at first initiated challenges to ObamaCare and the Obama bailouts when the Tea Party arose as movement. These states will not accept a Supreme Court ruling in opposition to their view. A Supreme Court ruling on the states’ challenge could potentially open to a legitimate revolutionary situation in America.

And it all started here in the free state of New Hampshire.

At the beginning of every movement is a wild bunch. Rowdy workers on the docks in Boston, John Brown and his half-mad family. When historians trace back to the roots of the Tea Party awakening, they will get to a wild bunch in New Hampshire called the “Free Staters.”

They moved here a few years back and live on the edge of the forest, not more than a handful at first but expecting thousands to follow, intending to start the republic fresh again. And in a way they did. I came to their attention with an article in around 2003 titled “A States’ Rights Defense against Dick Cheney” premised on Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions, making the claim that New Hampshire and Vermont need not participate in the war on Iraq without the permission of our state governors.

They had moved up here drawn to our state motto, I think – Live Free or Die. But it was no big ideological thing, more a free-spirited awakening. I received an email from one blithe spirit who said that she was basically about – quote - “ . . . opposing gun laws, legalizing marijuana and Hillary is a bitch.”

What we had in common was Thomas Jefferson’s premise that natural states formed of their own initiative. He acknowledged that in the Constitution by declaring that the states had the natural right and the ability to defend themselves against an abusive, arrogant, immoral or delirious federal government.

In the last two years this idea has taken off. I think now it cannot be held back. It will bring us a new breed of politician and a new political generation. It is already doing so.

This thinking first began to move in February, 2009, when Dan Itse, a New Hampshire state representative who is here today, read commentary related to Jefferson and the Kentucky Resolutions and proposed a 10th amendment defense against the Obama administration’s deficit spending; spending so extensive that it would tax future generations. Back in Boston my Irish relatives long ago brought the dead out to vote, but taxing the unborn was an enlightened new strategy.

It advanced again on April 15, 2009, when the Tea Party revolts started across the country. When Texas governor Rick Perry appeared at the Alamo it brought greater legitimacy to this movement. The legendary libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano was there. Perry’s friend, Uncle Ted Nugent, brought his own inimitable style. Sarah Palin helped bring this movement nationally when she led support to governors starting in the NY 23 race, bridging the Tea Partiers and the mainstream.
And it all started up here in the woods of New Hampshire with the Free Staters. Never underestimate the power of a handful of rural red necks, duty-bound, born-again to the Constitution and hell-bent on a free vision of starting the world again.

On first reports that a group of young Libertarians was looking for a place to make a fresh start, nor'easterners responded with a Yankee sense of concerned indifference and phlegmatic detachment. It was a good place to come - cheap living shrouded in beautiful mountains with six months of snow and silence; in the spring, bear and moose wandering into your back yard and in autumn, coyotes on the edge of the woods chanting like a church choir in the night.

A few Libertarians with new ideas didn't seem like much of a threat. In New England, we understood about federalism as it had come to evolve since the Civil War. We understood what it meant and what it would bring.

New England understands federalism because we lost our very Jeffersonian original spirit to federalism in the build-up to the Civil War. Just as the South would yield to the New Yorkers - they of the "Empire State" - so too would New England submit. Our great poets and speakers, Emerson, Thoreau, Mary Moody Emerson and Bronson Alcott who brought us natural religion were our best. But in my opinion, they were also our last.

This is a consequence of federalism. New England went willfully under the banner of federalism to great effect, and now there are consequences. From 1865 onward, complaint of the nature of the federal compact had come only from the South. But now, for the first time since the Civil War, the federalist principle was being challenged by northern people and that was a consequence of the war on Iraq.

The war on Iraq began to explain federalism up here to people who had taken it for granted for 140 years. Federalism meant that if Washington, D.C. declares war on some other country for whatever purpose, the states have no say in the matter. Nor do the states have a say in any other matter.

The Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq, in full cooperation with an appeasing and weakling Congress of Easter Peeps and a cowardly and accommodating Supreme Court, bought torture, stripped Americans of their most basic Constitutional rights under the Patriot’s Act, repealed habeas corpus and unleashed other un-American and unconstitutional strategies. Men of honor lied outright at the United Nations and the press went along fully embedded in the cause. It was in my opinion inspired by “the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man,” – John Locke’s phrase to describe the very essence of tyranny.

I fully sympathized with the very human cry for vengeance after the tragic hurt of 9/11. But the sadness we felt - as great as any we had suffered in our history - was very soon thereafter manipulated by the federal government and there can be no greater betrayal of the human spirit as the manipulation of the human heart for political purposes. So at the beginning of the war on Iraq I proposed that we in the northernmost states of New England did not have to participate and under Thomas Jefferson's view of the Constitution we had the right not to participate as states.

My proposal received surprising support from the most liberal quarters in the North as it did from conservative Southerners. But most northern people I spoke to then had never before considered themselves to be citizens of a particular state and region and having particular rights as a citizen of that state. My explanation was that the state defines you - you are a citizen of a particular place on earth- a place with formidable mountains and great beauty and character and with its own way of earth, water, wind, crystal clear starry nights in winter and its own soul and traditions and its own personality.

While in federalism and its globalist visions, you are a customer; a buyer within an abstract economic policy. You are a figment of a globalist illusion. You are the faceless, uniform and undifferentiated expression of a global horde holding a little candle in a Pepsi commercial. In federalism you do not live in a place. You live in an economic zone.

We had very few supporters at the beginning of our first efforts, but one in particular, came to our support on his deathbed I am told and I have no reason to doubt it. George Kennan, America’s great post-war diplomat.

In one of his last books before he died (“Around the Craggy Hill”) the great ambassador 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.”

Thank you.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Donald Trump/Bloomberg ’12 or Trump/ Carly Fiorina ’12 or Trump/Giuliani ‘12

Donald Trump tied for first place doesn’t come as a shock. My dental hygienist Noreen said yesterday she liked him and she is about the best indicator of real life v. the punditry. She likes Sarah Palin as well. What Trump and Palin have in common is that they are outside the box. (As author Thomas Woods says: “Not enough to think outside the box, smash it and burn it down.”) It indicates that there is more imagination and vital life force in America than there is in the sclerotic political parties. And Trump fits in my revised categories of presidential contenders in the second to top rank, right up there next to “governor of a big state” (Romney, Perry, Palin) as CEO of a major corporation, replacing this year “military commander” which is thrown out altogether. Way ahead of most of the others.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in a Trump building but they look at least as cool as Mormon temples. He might think of bringing in with him Mayor Mike Bloomberg of NY as VP or Carly Fiorina for an East/West thing. Fiorina would be my choice but with Bloomberg they could get a New York Party going. (And did somebody say Rudy Giuliani?) They might model an independent run on the great and venerable AIP, the Alaska Independence Party but for New York. Better yet, Trump/Bloomberg (or Trump/Giuliani or Trump/Fiorina) might revive Trump’s old friend Norman Mailer’s idea. Mailer and NY journalist Jimmy Breslin (“That bum is serious!” said Breslin) in 1969 ran for office to make New York City a separate state. Recently, just before his death, the great ambassador George Kennan made a similar suggestion about New York. In our climate today it could become a model for state sovereignty and Tenth Amendment political formulas. They could also revive the Mailer/Breslin campaign slogan, “No more bullshit!”

Maybe that is why people like Trump: No bullshit.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The new paradigm: “New 2012 GOP Face: Texan Rick Perry”

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/11/11

Keep going west, - Dennis Hopper, “The Last Movie”

Pictures go a long way in explaining; how would Hemingway have done without the masterful beard or James Joyce without the severe Irish angles and heavy shadowing in his face? George Orwell said we are all responsible for our own faces by the time we get to 50: Your picture becomes your icon. Which is why George W. Bush may have gotten off to such a rough start. Posed cutting brush in a brand new cowboy hat he brought to mind the “I’m a lumberjack” skit of Monty Python. Not a lumberjack, not a cowboy and not really a Texan.

It was a portrait of insincerity and the Republicans are still trying to work it through. The Bushes, try as they might, are plagued by this inauthenticity and don’t seem to fit or belong in Texas. H.W. had the same problem with the cowboy boots. Luckily, Jeb makes no claim to the West and so the traditionalists – the establishment; that is, the Eastern Establishment – hope today to bring it all back home with Jersey’s Chris Christie in front and Florida’s ex-Gov. Jeb as back up.
It might work for now but it won’t work later, because nothing will stop America’s drive to the west. It is our essential myth and destiny and more important to our centuries ahead that the Puritans short and symbol visit to New England. And the 2012 election could be the turning point to our rising destiny.

And Paul Bedard’s Washington Whispers of U.S. News and World Report reports a new Republican 2012 contender in this critical transformation. Texas Gov. Rick Perry:
“Considered a very long shot by GOP pundits and political analysts, nearly one in three of those in our [Synovate eNation Internet poll] chose Perry as the sitting governor most suited to challenger President Obama. By getting 29 percent to choose him, the two-term Perry shows that he could be a force in the upcoming Republican primaries, though it also suggests that voters aren’t satisfied with the more established GOP names in the 2012 field . . . The poll was also good news for New Jersey Chris Christie and Indiana Sen. Mitch Daniels, Christie won 27 percent, Daniels 22 percent, as the governors ready to run against Obama.”

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley came in fourth with 12% and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour fifth with 10%.

Recently, Perry had kind words for Christie because of his efforts to cut spending in New Jersey and it is interesting now that this poll pits the two potentially against each other. It follows a pattern which might be called Eastern Establishment vs. “New West” first identified in Perry’s gubernatorial primary last year. His opponent, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, had the support of the full Republican establishment; Dick Cheney, George H.S. Bush, Karen Hughes on behalf of W., Karl Rove and others. Perry had only Sarah Palin in his camp and won in a landslide.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Nikki Haley: Ronald Reagan in a skirt?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/8/11

With a memoir in the works, it's become increasingly clear that South Carolina governor Nikki Haley has Sarah Palin-sized national ambitions, writes columnist Chris Haire of the Charleston City Paper. And he says he can’t stop writing about Nikki Haley, the formidable and elegant new Tea Party governor of South Carolina.

She brings a very distinctive character and a new vision to the South. Some of the Tea Party elements moving up to the 2012 primary season have a vengeance quality – Bachmann and Ron Paul - which accentuates the dark side of the movement. But Haley was a Tea Party figure there at the beginning and can bring in the positive elements of state responsibility and sovereignty without the faux revolutionary jargon of Beck and Bachmann.

Unless more enter, Jon Huntsman, Jr. looks very good in this upcoming race and Haley might be an appealing VP choice for him. A Huntsman/Haley ticket could bring an antidote to the violent torpedo of mediocrity currently afflicting American politics and culture. It would make for a vital, young and imaginative ticket.

“As a candidate, the Republican lawmaker ran against ‘good-old-boy’ networks,” David Mildenberg writes in a recent Bloomberg report. She pledged to attack what Tim Pearson, a top campaign aide, referred to then as a “taxpayer-financed fraternity party” in Columbia, the capital.

“Likening Haley’s communications skills to ‘Ronald Reagan in a skirt,’ Representative Ralph Norman, a Rock Hill Republican, said the governor doesn’t owe anybody because when she started her campaign, nobody thought she could win.’”

But Mitt Romney shows active imagination as well and might be thinking of Haley himself as his VP. He was quick to come to her aid in her recent governor’s race and he will want to include some Tea Party accommodation in his campaign. And my observation when he was governor of Massachusetts up here is that although he may not look it in that squared away business suit, he can be the rare politician who notices and responds to useful new ideas and abstractions where others get blinded by the tradition and miss them in the passing.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Rand Paul as President?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 4/4/11

Long-time liberal commentator Michael Barone has commented on Fox Business that the Tea Party movement parallels that of the Sixties. The first major conference in Nashville last year did have the folksy qualities I first felt in the presence of Doc Watson and The Weavers back in Newport Rhode Island in the early 1960s.

What I've been looking at in the last two years is a kind of anthropological model based on what I saw happen there in the early Sixties when I went to high school. The Newport Folk Festival suddenly awakened our world with Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. The Beatles said they inspired them to greater artistic challenge. Some writers of the era say The Sixties started from there; some marking the day when Dylan switched from a natural guitar to an electric guitar. It spread like wildfire. The entire generation changed overnight in a matter of one or two years.

Overnight; when real, organic change comes, it cannot be held back. There has been that same feeling in the Tea Party; rustic, folksy, from the people. If this continues and I believe it will, I'd say it is entirely possible now to see Rand Paul emerge as the significant figure in this movement, particularly in contrast with the old-school establishment Republicans. And the competence of the old-scholars doesn’t help. It even makes the old seem more crusty and entrenched. Mitt Romney, who I admire in many ways, well establishes the contrast of the establishment with Rand Paul and the Tea Party renegades. He is good, very good, but so was Duke Ellington when The Beatles arrived. The season had passed.

In this rich and volatile environment we are seeing the moment of awakening. It is now entirely possible to see Rand Paul as President. . . . with three necessary conditions: 1) Rick Perry stays out. 2) Polls show he can carry Iowa and South Carolina in the primaries. 3) Sarah Palin stays out and endorses him.

And what a contest the Obama v. Rand Paul debate would be.