Saturday, October 29, 2011

How Rick Perry will win . . .

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/11/11

The lesson for the press in the last election should be drawn from Marshall McLuhan’s famous vision that the media are themselves the vehicle and the message. TV’s popular celebrity commentators were gatekeepers to a geist of their own time and generation (their own “kind”); sentries at the portal to tell Sarah Palin that she could not go in. She gave her children funny names. She used a Garfield desk calendar. She shot a moose and ate it. She dressed like a “slutty flight attendant.” She did not belong with them. Rick Perry, naturally leery in this otherworld of imagery and style, will not be likewise taken down. By solstice it will be clear to all that he is an instinctively agreeable and genuine person with a common grace that McLuhan’s winged monkeys cannot exile.

I had an excellent brief conversation with Rick Perry at the Barley House after the NH signing Friday about the astonishing World Series game the night before. It meant something to Texas. Viewership of the World Series jumps way up when the games are between the Yankees and the Red Sox as if some ancient memory drives us. But the great series this year advances my theory that America is finding its “center” now in the middle of the country (St. Louis, say) and leaving the New England families – Kennedy, Bush - behind. It increases the bitterness of us in the northeast; engenders the subtle feeling that we are no longer important. That we are being left behind.

This how I see Rick winning: He needs endorsements of Trump, Palin, Giuliani and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. Cain, who is really on a self-promotion tour, will fall apart – he has no money and has begun the spiral to cloud cuckoo land. What I have been calling the “establishment” Republicans – Bush/Rove/neocons - will fall apart as well; they crave ideas whose time has long passed and can’t let go – they have become nostalgicos, relying on the reassuring clich├ęs of their Jesuit priest and the quiet confidence that in the end they can still rig something in Florida – they’ll always have Florida. Bush senior, Bob Dole, the WW II wounded. War is over. We won. But the Republican Party today resembles those lost but loyal Japanese officers still hiding in the jungles of Indonesia decades after the armistice.

Since they can’t get Chris Christie in now (and Jeb Bush as VP of course) they will now pour their cash into Romney. But Romney is a shade, a deception, and they will self destruct just as the Eleanor Roosevelt liberals did in the face of Jack Kennedy rising in early 1960s.

The 11% creep factor will ruin Romney & the establishment Republicans. George Will accurately projects this: “Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable; he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate.” He seems falling apart by the day now; he seems possessed by New Hampshire’s mountain witches. That leaves only Perry standing, steady and sure. With Nikki Haley as VP he beats Obama and empowers the new generation and the rising heartland movement. Long term I look forward to 12 years; Nikki Haley taking on the challenge of Elizabeth Warren in 2020 (Jim Webb as Warren’s VP) with Jon Huntsman as Haley’s own VP.

Going with the contours or time and economy, America is a peaceable kingdom. Otherwise there is breakage.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Take America back: Boycott the debates

Jon Huntsman boycotted the Nevada debate to protest Nevada’s decision to move up its caucuses to January. (They changed their minds.) Said here that Newt Gingrich’s rant at Charlie Rose at the Dartmouth debate, which boosted Gingrich into the mainstream, would have given him a Marlon Brando moment had he boycotted the Bloomberg/Washington Post fashion show altogether. Now Rick Perry says he may boycott the upcoming events. He should. Gingrich as well. Debates don’t indicate who will be a good President. They tell who will do well on the lucrative lecture and fundraising circuit after their Presidency. Ask Bill Clinton, he of the 50 gold watches.

"All they're interested in is stirring up between the candidates instead of really talking about the issues that are important to the American people," Perry said of Fox.

The GOP debate drama rewards style over substance, said the Washington Post’s conservative columnist Kathleen Parker. The operative maxim in cable television can be summed up as follows: Is it good TV?

“Brilliant is good but not enough,” she said. “Attractive is imperative but not enough. Also needed are tension, conflict and passion. Television is visual storytelling, and it doesn't succeed without all elements working in sync with the additional demands of the human eye.”

“Now we judge a candidate's worthiness for public office as much according to his stage performance as by his plan to balance the budget. Scorecards include hair, makeup, wardrobe and body language. In other words, the leader of the free world has to be someone we want to watch. Is he or she good TV?”

Anyone who has ever lived in Silver Spring, Alexandria or any of the other regions of Washington might recall regular visits from the FBI to run clearance checks on neighbors seeking work for the government. Undoubtedly they will look at college transcripts as well. And arrest records. And all sorts of things. But for the most sensitive and fateful positions, presidents and vice presidents, we have debates.

It is political theater. And it has brought some who appeared dangerously unstable to the Presidency, some compulsive and twisted and it has made us Americans apologists for all of these things.

The entire primary thing should be reviewed. Jimmy Carter and James Baker came up with a much better program a few years ago but it was ignored.

America is not a game show. Those who comply with the host, Romney and Bachmann in particular, show a fawning conformity; a desire to meet those standards set by pundits, ad men and advertisers. It drags America down to the lowest possible standard.
Elizabeth Warren, the anti-Palin, Pt. 2

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/27/11

Elizabeth Warren went up against the winged monkeys a week ago when she referred to herself as a hick, commenting on her Harvard association and how that may alienate the Fenway public. She called herself an “elite hick” and the cries of pain went up from the hick anti-defamation league. The Wonderful Whites of West Virginia were particularly offended.

But that is precisely how she got here. Warren in the anti-Palin conjured here in New England to defend against the rising life-force of the heartland these past two years; since February, 2009, precisely, when New Hampshire state rep. Dan Itse first challenged Obamacare on a Jeffersonian (Kentucky Resolutions) defense and 29 states followed suit. All red states, all hicks.

The rise of Grizzly Mama brought them together and brought shock and awe to the unbearably light sensibilities of the Nantucket eloi.

Like Palin, Warren seems to be made of stronger stuff.

Raised in hard scrabble Oklahoma, she brought heartland to Harvard Yard. A waitress during college, she worked her way through like the best of us. Like Sarah Palin.

Warren shouldn’t back away from claims that she framed the Occupy movement. As Cavuto said to Rick Perry on Tuesday, “You sound like the Occupy crowd.” As Perry was the first governor, back in December, 2008 – the Bush period – to publicly oppose and opposition then when in Virginia calls against came in 10 to one as those of Occupy now.

But before we had Palin we had Jim Webb of Virginia who, when Mark Warner was governor of Virginia, first brought anti- Wall Street rural rustification to contemporary politics.

A tobacco-chewing, gun toting, proud-to-be-Scotch-Irish warrior novelist from the way far hills and hollows of westernmost Virginia.

But the country wasn’t ready to start again and the best of the new Democrats like Wesley Clark and the old like Russ Feingold were passed over as the Democrats wasted away again in Hillaryland.

They/we may be ready now; ready to begin again with Elizabeth Warren.

This is the second time rustification has happened in America. The first after the Colonial period when the east rusticated to defend against Andrew Jackson. Prediction for this time: If Herman Cain is elected President in 2012, Elizabeth Warren will be elected in 2016.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

There’s still time for Sarah Palin

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/26/11

Mitt Romney takes support of New Hampshire’s former Governor John Sununu this week while Jeb Bush and Karl Rove publicly attack Rick Perry. Chris Christie is out. Romney is now certified as the Eastern Establishment candidate. But although things can and likely will change, Rick Perry has yet to consolidate the non-establishment (anti-establishment?) or Tea Party sentiment going now to Cain, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich.

The Fox poll out Wednesday night has Herman Cain in the lead with 24%. The CBS/NYT poll out Monday has Herman Cain at 25%, Mitt Romney at 21%, Newt Gingrich at 10%, Ron Paul at 8% and Rick Perry at 6%. Herman Cain persists and advances.

Romney’s “establishment” support seems frozen at around 18%. With Perry’s 7%, the combined total for the non-Establishment, independent conservatives is 65%. But no one in this race has been able to consolidate this scattered Tea Party, “constitutional conservative” (how about counter-culture conservative?) libertarian conservative and independent conservative vote.

Note to Sarah Palin camp: Friday, October 28 is the last day to register for New Hampshire. There is still time.
The Hill

Is the Herman Cain campaign all a prank?

by Bernie Quigley

For on 10/26/11

Is the Herman Cain campaign a publicity stunt that got out of hand? Cain is up to 31 percent in the new CBS/NYT poll. Could this suggest to Cain and company that he could actually be president in 2012 and that was never the actual intention of his campaign? The strange new video of his agent appears to be a parody of campaign videos or of presidential campaigns in general, and this suggestion is advanced at the end when the agent inexplicably lights up a cigarette. And Cain enters with a mischievous smile.

The video suggests not so much that Cain shouldn't be taken seriously as a candidate for president but that he never intended to be taken seriously as a candidate and never hoped or wanted to be president. It was all a motivational speakers self promotion gag that got out of hand. A prank perhaps to comment on the tawdry and devolved “American idol” quality of a serious presidential campaign handed over to media promoters, ad men and pop culture mavens.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Visualize Rick Perry, Pt. 2
by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/25/11

With a solid endorsement from Steve Forbes and an idea whose time has come - the flat, fair and free Cut, Cap and Grow plan, Rick Perry's team rolls out. And if I have it right the Texas Rangers are on the verge of winning the World Series tonight. For the first time.

The show of tight jaws unsettled the pundits last week at the debate, but it worked. And Perry wandered the wildernesss of Iowa in tree bark since, gun in hand. What gave Rick, the hunter, that aspect of authenticity was the contrast with Romney's bookishness. And Perry’s jaws were still tight. He was shooting birds with tight jaws. Shooting birds in anger. The pictures were great.

As The New York Times’ Ross Douthat said when Perry first entered the race, quoting a Texas competitor, “Running against Rick Perry is like running against God.” Very few politicians smile naturally . . . Jack Kennedy and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Perry does too. But his anger is authentic and palatable as well. High contrast with New Englanders here of the old line where anger and joy are both eclipsed by form. To the degree where the reader would be chilled to the bone by the pure democratic fairness and Buddhist detachment of three men in a small skiff off Nantucket in the whaling days, drawing straws to determine which would kill and which would be eaten. Seafaring people with names like Coffin. So many cousins, all named Coffin. Such are the dark spirits which still haunt the swamp Yankees. We bury our feelings. We hide our past. We move.

The witch spirit haunts the hills of New Hampshire as well said Nathanial Hawthorne - they come and go; Mitt Romney take note - and sometimes Fenway Park. Still it was with disbelief that we watched the gifted Dominicans, brought in to lift the Curse, praying to Big Papi’s mother in heaven after each home run, win the Pennant from New York. Under a full eclipse off the moon. Really.

Some say they had conjured the dead. Old school in bondo patched trucks listening on radio didn't even watch the World Series or listen because all that mattered to New England was New York v. Boston and the Pennant flag. That was the world, our world, New York and Boston, nothing else in 150 years.

Now this. Texas maybe to win the World Series tonight. And Rick Perry.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What’s next for Sarah Palin? How about a “super committee” of governors?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/24/11

What's next for Sarah Palin? She seems at the moment to be finding a role as a general commentator, remarking on Ron Paul's foreign policy and what not. That is, she seems to be at loose ends. There is much more she could do as an Alaskan in terms of advancing regionalism and states as laboratories as Rick Perry talks about it.

Palin’s role these past two years has been much as the La Passionara of the Tea Party movement. Seeing her at the Nashville Tea Party Congress at the beginning showed a connection to this rustic grass roots movement which brought it to large recognition.

But something happened in the interim. Old school professionals like Dick Armey commandeered the rising spirit and it became an unfocused conservative howl, and old fashioned country rant against those effete Washington people.

The Tea Party has lost its original intent. State sovereignty issues as they are maturely discussed by Andrew Napolitano on Freedom Watch and Thomas Woods and Rick Perry and governors like Butch Otter of Idaho and candidates like Alaska’s Joe Miller and advanced by legislators like Delegate Jim LeMunyon of Virginia need some time to percolate. And there couldn’t be a better Petrie dish than Alaska.

A sympathetic president like Perry cannot dictate these changes top down. They have to rise up from the states and governors must take the initiative. And the status of governors must be enhanced. Palin is in the perfect position to bring leadership to this new direction.

Richard Nixon brought forth a model of regionalization of needs and resources that could enable this vision but it was ill conceived culturally and the time was not right. The entire idea in the Jeffersonian view is to advance cohesive American cultures holistically as they mature. George Kennan recognized the need of shifting from global to regional in his last book, “Round the Cragged Hill”:

“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.”

It has been suggested here that a “super committee” of governors and former governors be formed to consider these issues and build a working framework for discussion and action. I can't think of anyone better than Sarah Palin to form and chair such a group.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Jon Huntsman’s brilliant tactic

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/21/11

“What happens in Las Vegas stays in Vegas. And I say that what happens in New Hampshire impacts the world.” So said Jon Huntsman in Hopkinton, NH. Huntsman will boycott Nevada and spend his efforts in New Hampshire. It is a brilliant move and one that can put him in contention.

As the Wall Street Journal reports: “The candidates were all smiles this week at the Las Vegas debate, but behind the scenes, many were wrangling over what to do about the state's January caucus. Since Nevada moved its date up to January 14 (just three days before New Hampshire's primary), the outrage has been palpable. Yesterday, New Hampshire encouraged candidates to suspend all campaign activities in Nevada, and some are already planning to skip the state entirely.”

Huntsman senses that Romney may be vulnerable. I believe he is. And this rhetoric about New Hampshire “impacts the world” is music to our ears. It was even true 50 years ago. But we above the commercial districts of Manchester have little to bind us now to the outside; the nation’s first primary and a mountain in the shape of a man’s head. Then a few years ago the man’s head fell off. So being first is even more important to us.

From the WSJ coverage: “For some, an earlier set of dates would help by denying their rivals time to organize. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry have declined to engage in the Nevada boycott threats. But other campaigns have rallied to Mr. Huntsman's way of thinking. Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Newt Gingrich have all threatened to skip the caucuses.”

New Hampshire makes little difference to Rick Perry. Romney has been expected to take it, then Perry would potentially rise in South Carolina. But Romney has put lot of stock in New Hampshire over the years, including a second house on Lake Winnipesaukee, and understands New Hampshire’s importance in any future election. After this long cultivation will Mitt now deny New Hampshire its first in the nation status? It would be considered here to be an act of betrayal.

But that could be very good for Jon Huntsman.

Indeed, the Trickster may be at hand and whole season could shift on this as it did in the third game of the Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

“Primal scream”: The continuing crisis of authority

Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/20/11

We should be in a season of celebration. Three of the Republican candidates for president, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman, are of the highest caliber, on a level we have barely seen in the post-war period. But interest is lukewarm. And the mainstream yearns for the family member of a former president, one not particularly distinguished; a monarchist yearning. Or Herman Cain. It has been like this for awhile: Obama, Hillary, Mike Huckabee, W. Bush, Al Gore and others should be seen as history's passing fancy, yet in our time they rise to the top. This is a crisis of leadership and authority coming to its most critical moment. If we fail again this time, this time the country will fall apart.

The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank notes that in the recent debate in Nevada, Jon Huntsman, “governor, ambassador, the man who in a normal political environment would be the most qualified and formidable candidate in the race, wasn’t even on the stage.”

And he is right when he says: “A system that rejects a Jon Huntsman in favor of a Herman Cain isn’t a primary process. It is a primal scream.”

What went wrong? Everything. There is something wrong with everything: The government, the press, and the people.

I’ve been following this descent since Bill Clinton’s Elvis caricature followed in his inauguration parade. It was all good fun, no? A President with the moral overview of the Hunka hunka burnin’ love himself. Maybe not. At the beginning of the Clinton presidency I felt we had turned the corner and entered the vestry of the place of no return. I wasn’t alone. It was then that alternative government, secession and regional thinking began. It began with the League of the South and in New England, the New England Confederation. The idea cross cultured and took steam in the Bush administration and took off in Obama’s moment. There are now dozens of states’ rights and sovereignty movements across the continent. And the so-called ‘occupy’ movement resembles the Pirandello play in which the actors are in search of an author.

They could very well find them in authors like Thomas Woods, or at Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch or at the Tenth Amendment Center, a Petri dish for brilliant new Constitutional thinking. And if the grownups don’t get it right this time, they may find no other options.

Monday, October 17, 2011

CNN Western GOP debate: Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman and Kurt Cobain - draft

Bernie Quigley, for The Hill 10/18/11

Jon Huntsman made a comment regarding Kurt Cobain there a few weeks back after comments here that some of these musician/politicians who were in the Presidential race seem like leftovers from the Sixties. Was said that only Wolf Blitzer got Huntsman’s reference. But Kurt, the maistro of his generation who sought God in his own way carried a warning: "I'd rather be dead than cool." Good to know that Jon is up on the pop culture. Did I mention that he looks incredibly like Carlisle Cullen, the benevolent patriarch vampire in the Twilight saga which comes to fruition on 11/11? And did I mention that theory passing on the Internet that the vampires in Twilight are not bad boys like in the old school but really-high minded angels or gods come to help us out and it was widely suggested they are Mormons?

Whatever, never mind. More to the relevance of this race is a contrast between what might be called new world and old world. Not U.S. and Europe, but the old world receding east of the Mississippi and the new world rising west of the Mississippi. Mitt Romney straddles both, straddles all and none, but Rick Perry and Huntsman personify the New West rising in energy, resources, commerce and karma. It is a booming new land where new immigrants are scorned as they were here in New England in the 1830s. Here then the century could be seen beginning to rise to a boom in both new classes and masses with Irish workers and European Jews just over. Today there is virtually a mirror image in the southwest and northward with new immigrants from South America and Asia which will build a booming America again to the New South of Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal and the New West of Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman if it is allowed to awaken. Immigrants are a sign of prosperity: They bring joy. They bring families. They bring desire and work ethic.

But the old people back east don't get it. Maybe that’s why the Dartmouth debate was so boring and predictable. Take the journey west with Frasier. Give up the Boston Irish bar patrons of Cheers for the Hindu waitress in the Seattle coffee shop. Because Kurt would never have found his path to certitude and conviction back east. Or Joseph Smith or Stephen Austin or Sarah Palin for that matter. It is a west thing and Rick and Jon could awaken it. Like everything that will happen next in this country, if it doesn't awaken in the west, it won't awaken.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bring the Churchill bust back
by Bernie Quigley

For The HIll on 10/15/11

Question to Republican hopefuls: Would you bring the Churchill bust back to the White House?

What was the real purpose of division between the U.S. and England during the American Revolution? Trade? Taxes? Or something more? At its mythical core we might look to Sir James George Frasier who wrote that one of the central-most myths of a rising people is the cutting down of father's tree so as to make one's own generation rise in the world. And this mythical significance is found in Washington, who could not tell a lie but had no problem with random vandalism; he chopped down the tree on behalf of his revolutionary generation.

Taxes and trade seem to be taking care of themselves. But if the only purpose of the American Revolution was to be separate culturally from England so as to grow our own tree, maybe we should think that through again. Because we fully bonded once again with the mother country when Winston Churchill brought us kicking and screaming to defend against German fascism.

Today, the spirit of Anglosphere flows uninhibited across the Atlantic and as far west as Australia. It is revealed in the final episodes that Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, drew her sword of discrimination from a stone put there in Arthur’s time by the Earth Mother herself. Dr. Who freely traverses time and the cosmos to the Andromeda soul of the universe and Chef Ramsay beats us out of lethargy. Neil Gaiman, possibly the greatest living writer, who has my kids lining up to see him, comes again from England. No surprise as Tolkien turned the mythic corner post-war and the rising generation’s creation myth is from that medievalist trickster/shaman Harry Potter. So Catherine and William are for us as well. This culture flows smoothly. It is not globalism. It is not Europe, Christendom, “the West” or the “global village” or HIllaryland or Bill’s pathologically named “global initiative.” It is not an abstraction or a political construct. It is who we are. It is tribal and it is the tribe from which we emerged.

Two telling details: As a New York disk jockey observed at the time, there was question how The Beatles would be taken in America because the French sensation Johnny Holliday "couldn't get arrested " in America. Jim Rogers, the legendary investor said at the global crash in 2008 that "London and New York" were finished. He didn't say Boston and New York because Boston and New York have never been connected. The true psychological state of old soul/new soul has always been London and New York.

This is the natural history of the English-speaking people. It should be symbolized by the bust of Winston Churchill which was sent to the White House after 9/11. Sent back later by Barack Obama.

Friday, October 14, 2011

In Charlie Rose’s Mandarin Court Mitt Romney wins the Rose Kennedy award

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill

on 10/14/11

A purely zen way of looking at the Dartmouth debate might be to look at not what was said but why it was said in the first place. And why it was said at Dartmouth with New York commentators in the bucolic New England autumn in black suit and brown shoes and 400 dollar shirts and Charlie Rose. This would be a test on political instinct and action and commitment to principle or a moral ethos, in a countervailing war within the self with the politician’s desire to be included, to be famous, to be, like Terry Malloy, somebody.

Hold into perspective Rose Kennedy’s question when the Kennedys and the Boston Irish had already taken power in Boston and she asked, “When are the nice people going to invite us over?”

The analogous question today: When will Charlie Rose invite us to his circular table?

In context, Rose’s question was asked when Joe Kennedy in particular but any Irish at all were not allowed to buy a house in Cohasset and so built their compound in Hyannis Port. By the “nice people” she meant the Yankee Protestants. The men, meaning Joe and Jack, understood from the first that the answer was “never.” And they did the right thing. They built their own world, they built their own network, they built their own America and it is today’s America and it does not belong thankful, to the “nice people.”

Gingrich and Rick Perry, like Joe and Jack, correctly understood the discussion on Wednesday night.

Gingrich understands this instinctively. Newt was right when he said 20 years ago that the northeast, like the China Mandarins, still see themselves as running the century when they are irrelevant. All things will pass, even the Lodges and the Kennedys.

But the nice people are back and Charlie Rose holds the Mandarin court. And the desire to be part of the court virtually gushed from Michele Backmann.
Marlon Brando, repudiated the banality of the times when he refused to accept an academy award. Newt could have made a better mark on this debate by his conspicuous absence. As it was, he did well and he did good by lashing out at Rose’s pusillanimous attempt to weaken his command that the money launderers in the Obama administration be thrown in jail. His ratings went up to the double digits. I’ve never liked Gingrich until that moment. Now I like him.

Rick Perry did well in this regard as well. He could easily have brought out an economic package on Wednesday night with some of the otherrs, but bringing it out this afternoon showed a refusal to be marketed, dominated, territorialized, packaged, chewed up and spit out by the Washington Post, by Bloomberg and by Charlie Rose, late of PBS.

But Mitt Romney wins the Rose Kennedy award. Thrilled to be invited in by “the right people” he even made a joke about Rose’s obsequious, milquetoast life as a PBS commentator.

Romney has modeled himself recently as a Tea Party guy, earlier as a Massachusetts liberal and now as Admiral Perry incarnate threatening to whack the Chinese this time with his black ships. And it all seems so staged; every day in every way a life staged from birth to one day be president.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Herman Cain has peaked

The Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Herman Cain to be leading the Republican field Cain 27, Romney 23, Perry 16. But Cain's rise is about to end. His campaign has peaked.

He has enough momentum to go along till February maybe, but possibly not enough money. And attitudes of the other Republican candidates toward Cain suggest he will not be gaining more money ahead.

Cain is primarily a motivational speaker of the kind that appears throughout the heartland advertised in local newspapers, featuring clear-thinking egotism and a positively-charged guy like Cain along with a sunny preacher, a retired football player and a simple message. As Jon Huntsman said, 9-9-9 sounded like the price of pizza. When I first heard it the Subway 5-5-5 inches long jingle came to mind.

But what indicates that his ride will now peak and slow is that none of the other candidates see him as serious as they see themselves. Bachmann, Gingrich and Santorum rank in self-importance and Cain is delightfully free of it. But Cain's 9-9-9 mantra became the friendly joke theme of the recent debate night with even the formidable Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg joining in about the price of beer (to go with pizza). He is Ringo Starr and the room defaults to him for relief when tension rises between the battling principles, primarily Perry and Romney.

The 9-9-9 marketing strategy has backfired on Cain. He has leveraged his whole campaign on it and it is not enough. And there is something about Cain that doesn't so much want to win, but to be included. And he is. But this is as far as he will go.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The debates minus Sarah Palin

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/7/11

“We are Dartmouth. We speak for the trees!”

“Michele Bachmann get out of my womb and that goes for the rest of you too!”

So rose the chants politely corralled on Dartmouth’s common off to the edge of the large Bloomberg stage. Newt Gingrich paid homage to Sarah Palin in vindicating language about “death panels.” But this was a neutral forum which included everyone. Except Rick Perry.

In a discussion at Dartmouth’s Beta House later the other Rick Perry was revealed. Thoughtful, dynamic, engaged, with better ideas. In my opinion a candidate remarkably like Wesley Clark. And like General Clark, his premise that energy independence will being peace and prosperity is a little misguided. All history’s dynamics today linked to external oil; Islamic forces at a receding realm, Israel in a the rising realm - and cannot be made separate. But Perry smart and uncomplicated on the Canada pipeline. “Build it now.” Otherwise the agreement will go to China. But it will be the same with external oil.

The blurb cited by the MSM at the Beta event was that Rick Perry mixed up the date of the American Revolution. Gotcha! Does anyone really think that Perry doesn’t know that 1776 was in the 18th century?

This was the most polite debate. Designed perhaps for The New Yorker crowd but with a feel like that of the T.S. Eliot poem, the one where the evening is spread out against the sky like a patient etherized upon a table.

“I’m bored,” Tom Keene repeated in his afternoon broadcasts for Bloomberg.

Note to Sarah Palin: October 28 is the last day to register in New Hampshire. There is still time.

The presidential race is okay, but the most fascinating politicians in our time are Sarah Palin and Elizabeth Warren. They are doubles, one produced by the presence of the other. I’d like to see Palin and Warren run for president in 2016, Palin for the Alaskan Independence Party, Warren for the New England Party. Throw in Ron Paul who won the Values Voter Summit straw poll this weekend for the Texas Independence Party. (Howard Dean for the Vermont Party?) Start again from scratch.

Sooner if Mike Bloomberg is stupid enough to start (buy) a third party run. Bloomberg believes he can buy America like he bought New York. But New York is not America. He vastly misunderstands America. The Democrats and Republicans, those Ford guys and Chevy guys of the establishment, in their drive to mediocrity will continue to send in their own; Hillary Clinton maybe or someone related to her and Mitch McConnell, Kay Bailey Hutchison or a Bush relative. But if the times are to ascend; we need to think regionally.

That was the idea of the Tea Party before it was commandeered by Glenn Beck in his quest for world conquest. But the Tea Party today is nothing but a provincial rant.

It might be recalled that it did not start on the right, it started on the left. It did not start in the Obama administration; it started in the George W. Bush administration. It started under the influence of two places: New England and Alaska. Two major influences were Emerson’s essays, particularly, “Self Reliance” here and the venerable AIP there. There was a silent partner in the New England initiative, Thomas Jefferson.

These ideas leave the discussion now that Palin has been sent into exile and Ron Paul has been accepted at the table with the tall men.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Dartmouth debate question: Did you serve?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/10/11

(Photo: Virginia Senator Jim Webb, Vietnam)

Not that I've ever been so inclined, but if I'd ever had the dark inclination to run for office, especially president, I would want to do two things: Go to college and do military service. The first is least important although a Jeffersonian with a natural pride of place might do undergraduate work at her or his state school; U. Tennessee like my surgeon friend in Tennessee (and his father and grandfather before him), U Mass., Texas A & M, etc. Military service more important as it has a ritual quality: You go before your rational function is fully developed so you enter the moral ambiguity of war on a leap of faith; faith in the collective you will enter as a full adult. Common honor which common people once strived for. Today only Prince Harry, doing combat training in California, sees it as a duty.

I am sure they will not ask the contestants (the word contestants suggests game show, no?) on Tuesday night in the Dartmouth debate this question: Did you serve? Please answer yes or no. So here are the military records of those in the Republican lineup for American President in 2012. No substitutes (Outward Bound, Peace Corp, college, Boy Scouts, civilian working for military, worked on kibbutz).

Mitt Romney: Did not serve. He talked tough at the Citadel this week but like many of those who did not serve - most dramatically in the W. Bush administration - he was doing something else when people of his age were being called up; Romney on a mission of religious intent in Lyons, France. There is a neurosis to those called chicken hawks in the Bush administration like Cheney who took five deferments and did not serve. They spend the rest of their life compensating for the mythic passage they did not make when they were young. Tends to create needless war and mayhem.

Newt Gingrich: Did not serve. Warmonger as well. (He worries that weakling countries like France will be dominated by Islam and sharia law. So what?) Possibly felt he could serve his country better by going to college. Newt, who wants to be vice president, is all about serving his country.
Michele Bachmann: Did not serve.

Herman Cain: Did not serve.

Jon Huntsman: Did not serve.

Rick Santorum: Did not serve.

Ron Paul: Served as a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1965 and then in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968.
Rick Perry: Commissioned in the Air Force, completed pilot training, and flew C-130 tactical airlift in the United States, the Middle East, and Europe from 1972 to 1977. Ranked captain.

Friday, October 07, 2011

New directions for Sarah Palin, Elizabeth Warren and Ron Paul

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/7/11

The presidential race is okay, but the most fascinating politicians in our time are Sarah Palin and Elizabeth Warren. They are doubles, one produced by the presence of the other. I’d like to see Palin and Warren run for president in 2016, Palin for the Alaskan Independence Party, Warren for the New England Party. Throw in Ron Paul for the Texas Independence Party. Start again from scratch.

Sooner if Mike Bloomberg is stupid enough to start (buy) a third party run. Bloomberg believes he can buy America like he bought New York. But New York is not America. He vastly misunderstands America. The Democrats and Republicans, those Ford guys and Chevy guys of the establishment, in their drive to mediocrity will continue to send in their own; Hillary Clinton maybe or someone related to her and Mitch McConnell, Kay Bailey Hutchison or a Bush relative. But if the times are to ascend; we need to think regionally.

That was the idea of the Tea Party before it was commandeered by Glenn Beck in his magical mystery quest for world conquest. But the Tea Party today is nothing but a provincial rant.

It might be recalled that it did not start on the right, it started on the left. It did not start in the Obama administration; it started in the George W. Bush administration. It started under the influence of two places: New England and Alaska. Two major influences were Emerson’s essays, particularly, “Self Reliance” here and the venerable AIP there. There was a silent partner in the New England initiative, Thomas Jefferson.

Citing Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions, it was suggested up here in 2003 that the northern-most New England states need not participate in the invasion of Iraq because it was unconstitutional. George Kennan liked the idea and agreed with it. John Kenneth Galbraith thought our (I helped) idea of sending our own New England representative to the UN “wonderfully to the good.”

And Kennan recognized the need of shifting from global to regional in his last book, “Round the Cragged Hill”:

“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.”

Jefferson’s premise is that the only defense against a bloated or malevolent federal government is the states organically related in their regions. In this model Texans are Texans, Alaskans Alaskan and New England may find its Emersonian soul again before Bloomberg buys it. Hayek works in this model. Health care works. Everything works. Not how it worked in 1930, but how it will work successfully in 2030.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Apple in mourning

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/6/11

Illistration by Leif Parsons for Bloomberg

For The Hill on 10/6/1

When I heard of Steve Jobs’ death last night the thought came to my mind of John Lennon’s death; the circumstances were different but the times – Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980 – remarkably the same. And both found symbolism in the apple. Drudge had a picture of Steve Jobs from the beginning, dressed in a business suit, holding an apple. Actually, offering us an apple. The apple appeared as well in Virginia Postrel’s remembrance of Jobs in Bloomberg, illustrated by Leif Parson’s rendition of the iconic Magritte painting of the Englishman in bowler hat with an apple before his face. But the apple is sky blue like the company’s logo and the sky grey, in mourning.

Steve Jobs of course brought the apple to the day but most in the day assumed he got it from The Beatles as the apple was the symbol first with them: Apple Records.

Homage to the times in which Jobs, like Lennon, broke bread with the Hari Khrishnas. But to go back, the Magritte image of apple man tells us something. It was painted in 1964 and overtly suggested a shaman rising was at hand. The painting was called “Son of Man” the phrase taken from the Book of Daniel, widely seen among the faithful as a harbinger of the awakening. From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

“In the great vision of Daniel after the appearance of the four beasts, we read:

‘I beheld therefore in the vision of the night, and lo, one like a son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and he came even to the Ancient of days: and they presented him before him. And he gave him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve him: his power is an everlasting power that shall not be taken away: and his kingdom shall not be destroyed.’

Like so many things in art of numinous circumstances this picture comes with a double; Magritte did another painting just the same but with the image of a white dove before the face of the Englishman instead of the apple.

No question, something rose with the times in about 1964 and ascended in the bard of Apple’s phrase to visit a million suns, calling him on and on across the universe. It carried through every day and to the end of Steve Jobs’ life.

I remember where I was – in my kitchen in west Philadelphia feeding my cat - when the call came from a New York friend to say that John Lennon was dead. And although I was never the greatest of fans of tech per se and still read by oil lamp, I think that last night when Lou Dobbs, almost in tears, broke off his interview with a Massachusetts sheriff to announce that Steve Jobs had died, will stick as well.

That which arose in spirit in1964 feels like it has come to a final end here this week. But if it die it brings forth great fruit. I’m sure the shaman of Cupertino saw it coming; no doubt, and he gave a suggestion with his last public words to describe the new Apple campus with its extraordinary circular building which looks like a grounded UFO.

“The spaceship has landed,” he said.

But maybe he was talking about himself. Or something else.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Dartmouth Presidential Debate begins the season

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/5/11

In all likelihood, the President of the United States in 2013 will be Barack Obama, Rick Perry or Mitt Romney. This is a historic moment and it begins at Dartmouth College next Tuesday in their Presidential Debate. That is where the Republican contest begins. Potentially, that is where the century will begin.

It is still too early to say with conviction that Sarah Palin will not enter. My guess is that she is holding out with an eye on Herman Cain, who has caught up with Mitt Romney in a recent poll. Like Ron Paul, Cain represents a part of the Tea Party. But although Paul’s analysis and perspective is mature and reliable, his numbers have gone down and very likely so will Cain’s by the first primaries. But Palin brings a spirit to the conversation which no one else has until now and without her rising cry Tea Party – including Paul, Bachmann, Cain and possibly Perry - would have remained in the margins. But at the moment, I do not see Palin finding the need to enter. If she does enter without the need; if Perry and now Romney can metabolize and mature Tea Party karma between them, she will not rise. But the pattern of her professional life suggests she will not make that error.

What is historically significant about this race is that the eastern establishment and the Bush/Cheney/Rove faction does not have a horse in this race. If President Obama wins a second term they will be back in 2012 unless something happens in the interim; third party and there is a strong likelihood now that the Massachusetts liberals (Kennedy) and Massachusetts conservatives (Bush) form by 2012 or 2016 to a third party in opposition to the converging Perry/Romney/Tea Party force and the heartland rising ascending now to the mainstream.

But this new lineup is a strong force. In effect, Romney has been pushed out of the establishment by the Christie effort and camps now with Perry and the Tea Party. Good to have. Herm Cain will have a good week as he will spend a lot of time on Cavuto and elsewhere. But summer is over. The field is likely set. And the first real contest is next Tuesday at Dartmouth.

Proposed here in October, 2008, that we face a Jacksonian age ahead; an indigenous rise of political influence in the heartland and the west following post-war demographics. That, I think, is panning out. It was Gingrich who said at least a decade ago that the commentators and politicos in the northeast were like the Chinese Mandarins, still thinking they held sway long after they had become irrelevant.

They will not go quiet into the night. But he was right.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Republican establishment: No Mormons or Texans, please

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 10/2/11

In November, 1963, the conservative political establishment including Dwight Eisenhower, General Lucius D. Clay, Bill Robinson of the Herald Tribune, Augusta’s Cliff Roberts, and Slats Slater met at New York's Waldorf-Astoria concerned about the bandwagon developing for Barry Goldwater. They were anxious to discuss “moderate alternatives” including Pennsylvania's Governor William Scranton, Henry Cabot Lodge and Michigan governor George Romney. This last week a new political establishment made up of hedge fund managers, Republican donors, industrialists, a personal investment guru and other billionaires, mostly based in New York and Bush former employees and family members including Barbara Bush, gathered or spoke together to find an alternative to former Massachusetts’s governor Mitt Romney.

Barbara Bush?

And they came up with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Who could possibly be more of an establishment politician than straight-as-a-gate Mitt Romney? What did Romney do to turn the eastern establishment against him? Support Cut Cap and Balance? But some in this group including the Bush family’s loyal maestro, Karl Rove, had also looked to Paul Ryan as the Romney substitute.

Is it possible that Romney’s only offense to this establishment is that he is a Mormon? Does this attitude pervade the entire Republican Party? Friday night on Cavuto, Neil asked Southern Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee if he would vote for Mitt Romney.

“Of course,” he said.

Why did Eisenhower and company not care that George Romney, Mitt Romney’s father, was a Mormon? In the Eisenhower administration Mormons were appointed to cabinet positions, the federal judiciary, ambassadorial posts and positions at all levels of government. Those who had served as missionaries in foreign countries were heavily recruited because of their linguistic skills,

Possibly it is as the Chinese proverb says, “prosperity cannot last three generations” and conservatism today is a bankrupt establishment that has been spiraling in a moral free fall for two decades.

Will Chris Christie save them? Will Obama save the Kennedys? Because as Obama is to the House of Kennedy – the last man standing – so Christie is to the House of Bush and both these royal Massachusetts families are going the way of the Nepal monarchists and the Romanoffs.

We are on the verge of a new conservative political age. States rights? Yes. Troops to Mexico? Yes. A rising patriotic age? Yes! Yes! Yes! Mormons, Baptists, Jeffersonians, red necks, Tea Partiers, Goldwaterites. Libertarians, gold bugs, Tenthers, hobbits, hockey moms, Texans, Alaskans, Constitutional conservatives and all will bring a new political awakening. We are turning a corner. Huck should enter now, and Trump, Giuliani, Sarah Palin, Joe Miller, Jim DeMint and anyone else with something to say should have their say right now. As fate has brought us the unfortunate American Idol model we should bring it right now and bust out this fall to a foot-stomping tent revival or a hell raisin’, head banging hillbilly happening and keep it going all the way to the convention.

And in the end, which will come quickly as the irresponsible shifting of primaries will have us voting before the leaves fall here in New Hampshire, there will be a brand new party.

And there will still be two standing: Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. How will these two, the Texan and the Mormon - among the very best governors and managers of the post-war period - feel about the old eastern establishment trying to purge them?

How would you feel?