Sunday, January 29, 2012

Erskine Bowles for North Carolina governor

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/30/12

President Obama’s invitation to Bush family members to the White House makes him seem an Everyman; all things to all people, and Caroline Kennedy’s open letter to vote for Obama a second time because her name is Kennedy, both mark the turning of the times, and suggest that Obama, like the Kennedys and the Bushes, is no longer a rising part of the times. We have left the age of two family politics, honoring Northeastern gentry who bask in Kennebunkport or Hyannis, and have entered instead into a full-bore Jacksonian heartland awakening. Tea Party has taken the mantle these past two years. But Jacksonian populism, channeled today by Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Ron and Rand Paul, all started in Virginia with Mudcat Saunders.

This new Jacksonian wave brings a most auspicious beginning. It awakens a new generation of politics; the first new wave in the new century. It could bring Elizabeth Warren, Tom Brady loyalist and Massachusetts’ own Okie grandmother, to the White House in the future, and Erskine Bowles to the governor’s chair in North Carolina in 2012. Public Policy Polling says that Democrats “will have a better chance at winning the North Carolina Governor's race now than they did yesterday no matter whom their candidate is this fall. But one potential candidate really rises to the top: Erskine Bowles.” Bowles, with assist from Dave “Mudcat” Saunders and Steve Jarding, authors of “Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole the South and the Heartland and What the Democrats Must Do to Run ‘em Out” could now find a path.

Jarding and Saunders helped Mark Warner win the governorship in Virginia, sponsoring NASCAR stock cars and bringing in The Stanley Brothers. This was not the anti-South, self-hating liberalism which has sapped the spirit of Virginia. Warner’s liberalism demanded fiscal responsibility and economic health and progress. It was liberal politics which sought the center, not that which rushed to the edges; one that families, hillbillies and hunters could feel comfortable with. Warrior-scholar Jim Webb, supported by General Wesley Clark, followed, to remind Virginians that before Ronald Reagan, they were Democrats. The same spirit shortly rose in North Carolina with Senator Kay Hagan. They go to church, watch the Super Bowl, serve in the armed forces and honor those who do.

Bowles would be a prodigy of Warner’s creative model of governance in this rising era. Simpson-Bowles was a heroic effort and Bowles and Simpson were heroes just for one day. Warner was a strong supporter. Bowles could well run now in opposition to a weakling Congress, a failed “super committee” and an ineffective Presidency.

Bowles and his folksy sidekick, Alan Simpson, former senator from Wyoming, brought an old school voice of country authenticity to a time of discontent and confusion, not unlike the voices of Sam Ervin and Howard Baker during Watergate proceedings. It gave sudden clarity to the issues and gave the possibility of a safe recovery and an auspicious future, if only we had the courage and common sense of these two. He could build bipartisan support on this in North Carolina.

The Raleigh News and Observer reports that Bowles and Simpson want to keep the pressure on Congress as they tour the country giving speeches about their deficit plan.

"I think the future of this country is very, very bright if we face up to our problems," Bowles said at one event.

"If not," Simpson interjected, "we'll be a great country, but we won't be No. 1."

Friday, January 27, 2012

Note to Gingrich: “The Seventies called . . . “

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/27/12

“The spaceship has landed,” – Steve Jobs, 2011

Note to Gingrich: To paraphrase from the movie “Joe Dirt”: The Seventies called, they want their space program back. Gingrich is the disco paragon; a conservative reaction to the Sixties in double-poly leisure suit, white patent leather belt and shoes and all the baggage trailing from the very end of a century of total war. Like David Bowie’s Major Tom, Newt is stuck in Seventies space/time. His comment RE the moon base egging us on to get there before the Chinese, might be looked at in view of the singular American conservative genius barely mentioned in the Republican debates, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who saw the moon project as a stunt. It wasn't then, but it is now. China flies blindly to the moon with no purpose but competition with America, but it is a competition we do not share in.

We as Anglo-Americans are unable to see and feel the competition with China that we felt with Russia. Asia is foreign and difficult to penetrate. Lao Tzu has no equivalence in Angloamerica. A legitimate swami like the Maharishi Mahesh Yoga is soon scorned back to India by MSM and Gingrich’s Seventies space/time mentality. Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy on the other hand somehow fit, and often guide us to our deepest places and belong to us. With China it is merely economic, with Russia it is existential. With Russia we share our primordial European prehistory and cultural prehistory which swings back a thousand years and beyond. To their credit, the creators of the Project for a New American Century, Kagan and company, understood this.

The are good reasons to go to space but a moon colony is not one. The Kennedy space program had its beginning in the German rocket program in WW II and in post war imagination still fired on military systems and in the economic competition between American Keynesians and Russian Marxists. For more than a hundred years Anglo-American imagination preceded us in space with Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, mavens of the pop culture in the rising populism of mass democracy. The pop culture space imagination ended in the mid 1990s with the rise of a new earth-based myth cycle seen in “Lost” “Survivor” and “Avatar.” The rest of us have returned to earth, but Gingrich, like David Bowie's Major Tom, remains lost in space.

Gingrich thinks the imagination of luminaries such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and J.J. Abrams trickles down from some government official offering direction. In fact, and this can be found in endless interviews with space scientists and engineers later in life, it goes the other way around.

If Gingrich wants to see the future he might open to page 22 of The Atlantic this month. There is a picture of a long procession of bearded patriarchs in a row leaving a snowy Russian Orthodox Church which doubled in the space age as a gulag. There may be relevant symbolism to that. Say whatever else you might about the Russians but they have moved on from the age in which Gingrich is stuck. They have returned to the earth and like Raskolnikov, found their way again to God. And they may have gotten their ahead of us.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Free New England: Repudiate The National Defense Authorization Act

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 2/26/12

New England was a Jeffersonian region of independent-minded yeoman farmers and free-thinking, independents before the Civil War. We lost that earthy colloquialism to the abstraction of federalism after teaming up for the conquest of the west and the South in 1857 and 1865, and again to globalism after the conquest of Europe and Asia in 1946. But today New England begins to find its yeoman soul again. We have always been Jeffersonian. We just forgot. When it starts to catch on any step outside the prescribed Constitutional reservation by the feds will be considered overreach, domination, totalitarianism. And it is starting to catch on. The National Defense Authorization Act is a giant step in the direction of the benign American police state.

Provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act may allow for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens, but the feds could find they get no cooperation from some state and local officials.

Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Manassas) introduced HB1660 which would, “Prevent any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”

On Wednesday, a House subcommittee passed the bill 6-3, moving it closer to a full House vote.

And the Tenth Amendment Center reports that as many as ten states will consider legislation or resolutions in response to the detention provisions in section 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA.

We read today that liberal iconoclast Oliver Stone begins to look to Ron Paul. My kids, reared on Kurt Cobain and Flogging Molly, tend to as well and the Pauls have become big hits on college campus. A new generation is rising to the idea of states rights as a defense against the hovering domination of the federal government.

Lawmakers in Rhode Island and Washington will likely introduce resolutions authored by the Rhode Island Liberty Coalition within the next week, writes Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center. Additionally, local governments, including Fremont County, Colo. and El Paso County, Colo., have passed resolution condemning the detention provisions.

"Federal politicians never seem to repeal federal law. It's going to take ‘We the People’ in our states to stand up and say, ‘No!’ to this unconstitutional monster," Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.

The Rhode Island Liberty Coalition, “a grass-roots organization dedicated to the preservation of Civil Liberties, Economic Liberties, and the inherent autonomy of the individual” is especially interesting. I’d like to see it expand to The New England Liberty Coalition.

“We drafted nullification legislation that can double as a draft state-wide Act as well as a local ordinance --in any state, county or municipality in the Country -- that denounces Section 1021 of the NDAA and prevents local officials from cooperating with military investigations and detainments of United States Citizens and legal resident aliens,” their website states. “The Act goes one step further and attempts to outlaw military investigations and detentions of citizens and resident legal aliens within those states, counties or municipalities. Did we mention this legislation can be used as a template in jurisdictions ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY?”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What’s next for Rick Perry?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/24/12

“Come and take it” – Texas flag at the Battle of Gonzales, March, 1831

Rick Perry takes it back to Texas. He might run again for governor. He should. As Steve Forbes says, he's a great governor with great ideas. I'd make the case that his poor performance in the presidential race is a credit to him as a Texan and a Texas governor. He feels uncomfortable away from home, away from Texas. It is the Jeffersonian ideal and Perry is paragon of these earth-based, sense-of-place values. More than values. A sense of being; at one with the ancestors, at one with God, at one with one’s own place on earth and free of abstractions.

What Perry wanted to achieve for Texas as a Texan was unachievable as a President and Ron Paul should take note. Because Perry and Paul are both in their way “free state” guys. But the freedom and autonomy they seek cannot be granted top down like a benevolent master freeing his provincial serfs in the far provinces. They need to take it. Like his boots say, "Come and take it." If Texas wants it, she’s got to take it.

And right now Perry has a whole posse with similar ideas; the Pauls, Judge Andrew Napolitano, Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate from New Mexico, Joe Miller of Alaska, Sarah Palin of Alaska, the Tenth Amendment Center – more daily, and tens of thousands of young students who are beginning to listen to the Paul's.

Perry must have seen the problems rising right away when he entered the presidential race; the problems of globalized abstractions superimposed on real people of the desert and big sky in places likeTexas. Gay marriage? Michelle Bachmann wanted to legislate from Washington, D.C. how people live in Vermont and Massachusetts on issues which the federal government has no jurisdiction. It is Tea Party totalitarianism and the tendency was always there which I warned about when I first encouraged Perry to run for president in 2009. Perry called it correctly a states rights issue in his great book , “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington”:
“We are a diverse people – incapable of being governed from a faraway capital by people who do not share our values. Recognizing this fact is critical to the preservation of a free state.”
Then he walked it back and fell in line with Bachmann and the others in trying to govern the behavior of Massachusetts and Vermont from D.C.: It is totalitarian when the Chinese tell the Tibetans how to pray, it is totalitarian when Washington tells Vermonters how to make love.

What Perry wants for states, especially Texas, cannot, will not be given by a federal government. It has to be taken by Texas and the few other states which seek free state status and Constitutional government. Rick Perry as Governor of Texas needs a committee of like-minded governors. He should be the leader of this movement. He needs to lead a super committee of governors in sympathetic states.
Texas is ready for self government, so is Alaska, Kentucky, Kansas, Idaho and Utah and few others. That means full Tenth Amendment rights and colloquial consciousness. But this is a job for states and their governors who have the courage to take it, because it will not be given and it is not worth having if it is given by central government. Perry can do this and possibly only he can do it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

And now for something completely different: Petraeus/Jon Huntsman 2012

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill
on 1/23/12

Newt Gingrich’s samurai moment brought a turning. Bloomberg’s Al Hunt said it came right over the plate and Gingrich hit it out of the park. Matthew Dowd on Betty Liu’s Bloomberg report gave a succinct analysis: If Gingrich, who had the crowds rising to their feet in the week’s earlier debate, could rally and dominate in the first five minutes he would have it and he could turn the entire election. That would be the most important moment – the historic turning event – that would change everything and possibly send Gingrich to the presidency. And it came as easily to Gingrich as Tom Brady’s 45 - 10 victory last week over the Mile High Messiah. They said it couldn’t be done, but even women voted for him. Consider that the Gingrich resurgence in South Carolina is not a bump but a birth pain.

I wish New Hampshire, which claims in song and story to have a mind as clear, hard and strong as granite, still had the spontaneous and instinctive gut South Carolina has, but we don’t. Which is why New England today is barely a shadow or reaction to real, organic events rising in the heartland (Occupy the anti-Tea Party, Elizabeth Warren the anti-Sarah Palin). Our primary is irrelevant now: We are North Massachusetts.

But South Carolina still brings it with a rebel yell; they have not lost themselves to the geist and the degenerate gods and golems of mass communications and that horrible music that poisons the air in every mall and grocery store in the realm these last hundred years (Huxley warned of this). And Gingrich has awakened again that which has been sleeping in the earth for a century.

In contrast, Mitt Romney was eating birthday cake at the children’s table and singing happy birthday to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Timing could not have been worse. Hey, I checked her birthday horoscope in Chicago Tribune, significant perhaps on the first day of Aquarius: “Work hard today to bring a wild idea to life.” Eating birthday cake with Mitt Romney? And this: “Do your research, because you'll want this thing to hold up to scrutiny and review.”

Could Gingrich beat Romney? Possibly he already has. And there is no question in my mind now that Gingrich could be named President in 2013. Yes, he could beat Obama and those who say he can’t are like the unfortunate sad eyed John King of CNN, the priests selected by the elders to accompany the conquest, not watching the astonishing thing that is rushing to the front right before our eyes right now, but hoping to preserve the patrons of the past and the old temple.

Gingrich is a revolutionary and there are two authentic revolutionaries in this race, Gingrich and Ron Paul. Gingrich takes the day. He could beat Romney now and Obama. But it is too early for a Gingrich revolution or any other kind, although he has the classic profile of the trickster who starts revolutions. It needs more time to simmer. It will come, but not today and Gingrich will not take the presidency.

But General David Petraeus could in a brokered convention.

The New York Times reports on Saturday that cadets at The Citadel, who generally speak with a united conservative voice, are torn this time between Romney, Gingrich, Santorum and Ron Paul.

The old temple will pitch the usual suspects; Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, all surrogates for Jeb Bush. They are already. But how would the Citadel cadets feel about David Petraeus?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Newt Gingrich/Rick Perry 2012

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/20/12

If Newt Gingrich wins the South Carolina primary Saturday:

Gingrich would not be my first choice for president right now, Romney would be, but he does fit the historic contours as I’ve been writing about them here now for several years, making two claims: First, we enter now an age of Jackson, when the heartland rises in opposition to Eastern cities influence as it did shortly after the death of Jefferson and Adams, sending the cold willies up the spine of gentry in Richmond and Boston. Jefferson’s contempt for Jackson was echoed in the establishment of his day and paralleled the “Eek, a mouse!” response of MSM’s to Grizzly Mama, Sarah Palin; daughter of the forest. Second: America has always had two countervailing “creation myths,” the Boston Tea Party in 1773 and The Alamo in 1836. It is not clear yet which will dominant.

Possibly the best and brightest observer of policy today is that Native America fisherman from Alaska Todd Palin, who first threw support to Gingrich at the critical turning. A week later Sarah Palin followed. Rick Perry then, just in the nick of time. These things are related not by design but by intuition. If we enter now a Jacksonian age, Gingrich is the definitive trickster. Here is what a Gingrich administration could look like: Rick Perry, Vice President, John Bolton – he prefers Romney but will take the job as Secretary of State, Sarah Palin, doing something, John Huntsman, doing something else. This would effectively bring a Jacksonian turning as successfully as Jackson himself did. But this time it may turn out differently.

Prediction: In this scenario, Gingrich, bored after two years as president, will either quit or get thrown out and Vice President Perry will take over.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Moshe Feiglin v. Netanyahu: Last Exit to Jerusalem

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/19/12

Why must I, a cold country New Englander and a solitary mountain dweller with a broken foot, be the only American to write about the upcoming election in Israel for leadership in the Likud, as critical to Israel’s destiny and to American interests in Israel as the fateful primary in South Carolina? The Israeli paper Arutz Sheva reports that Moshe Feiglin, who is challenging Binyamin Netanyahu for leadership of Likud in the party's primaries two weeks from now, cited a favorable poll Tuesday morning as evidence that his chances of seriously embarrassing Netanyahu are high, and that a victory by Netanyahu is not a complete certainty: “In a poll conducted by polling company Ma’agar Mochot, about 26 percent of Likud members not affiliated with Feiglin's faction agreed that ‘it is important to vote for Moshe Feiglin in the upcoming primaries, even though it is clear that Binyamin Netanyahu will win, just so that the right wing inside Likud will gain strength.’”

As Feiglin has written not long ago, this year for the first time there are more Jews living inside Israel than outside inside: "The exile is over."

European Jews have been returning to the source in Jerusalem since 1492. It has been a journey homeward, like a parallel event; a shadow journey of European Jewry joining in with the gentile world on the way here to New York City. But the last 500 yards of the journey, up the steps to Temple Mount, where Jews are arrested today and sometimes beaten by police for praying, is proving to be one of the most treacherous links of the journey.

The changes we face today in the United States are generational; Bush, Clinton generations moving out of the scene and carrying with them their generation gods, demons and furniture. Israel faces a similar generational change which portends Netanyahu and the American-dominated Israelis, leaving the scene now or in the near future. That is why this race is critical.

These upcoming races move toward an auspicious future where Israel and the United States, alone or together in a different way than they are now, both enter light and air. Europe faces a different trajectory and different destiny; a journey which recedes from Yalta inauspiciously as capital flees to Asia. Bret Stephens, columnist of the Wall Street Journal, calls Europe’s state a “slow suicide.” But Israel and Europe have different destinies.

Ten years hence Americans will have new friends in Israel and Israel will have new American friends. There is no telling with Europe; moral descent of the world geist since Yalta can be seen not only in the collapsing economy but descending as well from the clarity and density of Hannah Arendt writing to the one-world voices today of Lady Gaga, Bono and Bob Geldorf of the Boomtown Rats. Where can they possibly go from here?

As Stephens suggests in a recent column, the sinking of the cruise ship suggests Europe’s trajectory. Should be noted that the first harbinger of a plague in Europe in the 14th century came when a trade ship entered the port at Constantinople and everyone on board was found to be dead of the plague.

But that is not our fate and it will not be Israel’s. The generations will shift and rise in the upcoming election in Israel and in the races here in the coming year.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mitt Romney/Lew Lehrman 2012

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/17/12

Conservative pundit Bill Kristol hates Ron Paul. All through the hour on C Span’s afternoon call in show yesterday he kept coming back to it, proudly pitching the praises of his own kind; the predictable and graceful long-in-the-tooth old school after The Beatles had already landed. And that is the Republicans’ dilemma. Because the rebel yell is heard again in the heartland and the young ‘uns rise again in the night; this time rallying to Ron Paul’s revolutionary cry. It is the greatest measure of Ron Paul’s achievement. Could be the real big story this cycle is Ron Paul.

Paul should do well in South Carolina and his ideas, taken from Jefferson and the Austrian economists, will not fall fallow in South Carolina or throughout the heartland where things of the earth agree. Paul has marked a distinct change in American consciousness and it could well mark the century.

But he cannot bring this thinking much further. Nor can his son, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is doing a great job just where he is but would do even better as governor of Kentucky. Ron Paul will bring it to the convention but there he will have reached the water’s edge. And anyway, like all tricksters who initiate organic change and even revolution; John Brown or Boston’s James Otis who inspired John Adams, he is cranky and contentious. Lew Lehrman, who authored “The Case for Gold” with Paul in 1982, might take it from there.

If Paul, then Lehrman: You get much of what is needed in Paul without the bloody revolution. And Romney, who knows how to fix things, could find a match in Lehrman to accommodate the vicissitude of Paulian change without chaos or breakage. In this regard, Lehrman is more a man of the times than Romney or any of the non-Pauls that will rise to the stage tomorrow night in South Carolina.

And tomorrow will be telling. Crowds rose to their feet when Gingrich spoke of his personal brand of economic liberation in soaring rhetoric. They cheered as well Ron Paul although MSM edited much of it. Romney has the go-along-get-along vote but spirits are rising. Front runner next week could just as well be Ron Paul or Newt Gingrich (with Sarah Palin, who has endorsed him in SC, tagging along again as VP).

But Romney is likely to win and take it by Florida. He should consider Lew Lehrman as VP. These two together could build a new establishment and one that could creatively surf the contours ahead of economic tide receding in Europe and rising in Asia with us stuck in the middle. The potential for failure is catastrophic. Mastery is needed now, not ideology. And Romney and Lehrman are masters.

Lehrman is smart-as-paint and a stalwart Reagan Republican. He achieved national prominence in a 1982 campaign for governor of New York, in which he ran a close race against Democrat Mario Cuomo.

“Gold puts the money supply back in the hands of the people,” he told Fox’s Neil Cavuto recently, who called his debates with Cuomo “a Lincoln/Douglas moment.” Lehrman is a fearless intellectual and he repeated his case Monday night on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s Freedom Watch.

Think of Lehrman as the “thinking man’s” Ron Paul but with foreign policy perspective closer to real time and as better friend to Israel.

Conservatism has not seen a better man since Eisenhower. A match with Romney would not bring a revolution but a sea change.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A world without books

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/16/12

Christian Davenport reports in the Washington Post on the crowds waiting to take out books at the Fairfax County Public Library. Out or towners should note that Fairfax County is target center for globalists on the make in America with more candle power on hand that Brooklyn managed in the early part of last century. As I recall, several years ago, Fairfax County High School had 41 valedictorians. So what are Tiger cubs and their dominating, upscale mothers reading? E books. But what?

“Want to take out the new John Grisham? Get in line. As of Friday morning, 288 people were ahead of you in the Fairfax County Public Library system, waiting for one of 43 copies. You’d be the 268th person waiting for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” with 47 copies. And the Steve Jobs biography? Forget it. The publisher, Simon & Schuster, doesn’t make any of its digital titles available to libraries.”

Pop culture. But even Steve Jobs doesn’t make the cut. You would have to buy the book.

A world without books leaves trees without singular purpose because that is the purpose of trees- to make books. Books give voice to trees. That is their end and their best metamorphosis. As we enter the age of light and air, everything goes to the sky – Cloud now is the conduit - and wisdom; finding perspective in long stretches of time, is impossible. Globalism is a place in the sky without past or future. Possibly that is how we should go or must go, hell bent into the future, without reflection, and like the Kamikaze pilots, without landing gear. It is the American way and most attractive and necessary to new people and new generations, leaving history behind; chopping down the tree (killing the tree), like George Washington. And this way we go as that heartland bard Jean Shepherd (“A Christmas Story”) described in his own times: "Mindless we laughed, mindless we loved, and mindless at last we died."

Years ago I worked in a publisher house, a temple really, of small books saved; books saved from annihilation and reprinted such as “The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus, the Christ” published in 1908. There were so many lost and unheard tales and unseen and unwanted manuscripts; the pictures of Hildegard von Bingen, Newton’s million word manuscript on the “vegetation spirit of the earth” which no museum wanted, the Policy Planning Papers of George F. Kennan, which few wanted, the creative shadows of Alexandra David-Neel, first to walk Tibet. Even minor classics today are sure to be lost again like MIT theoretical physicist Kerson Huang’s translation with his wife Rosemary of the ”I Ching”. So many come to mind: Ruth Benedict, Andre Malraux (“The Temptation of the West”) Alfred Kazin (“New York Jew”) that were more of less mainstream thinking to the people who walked the night through The Strand, the famous second hand bookstore in New York City in the 1950s.

If you got on at Flatbush, you could be there in 30 minutes back then. I wonder where you would go today in Fairfax County, or if there is such a place? A place for books to go when they are no longer wanted in the mainstream? Because that is the way of return; of gradually getting back to earth in the generations, without crashing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mitt Romney/Nikki Haley 2012 or Gingrich/Palin 2012?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/11/12

Romney’s victory in New Hampshire can almost deliver the nomination to him and I am convinced, the presidency. There cannot be a more auspicious moment. Having a man from Bain come in and restore your company or country is like having Chef Gordon Ramsey reawaken your restaurant. And Romney brings skills to his task akin to those of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

It is a transitional moment but it might even be considered a transcendent moment. Barack Obama’s job was to complete a work project begun long ago by Jack Kennedy and Eisenhower and even farther back to Lincoln, Emerson and Garrison. This aspect he has graciously mastered and completed.

But we are a different country today than we were in 1831, 1865 or 1956; a rich and full country and one that looks auspiciously out across the Pacific as well as the Atlantic. A place today like Black Elk looked to as “the center of the world”, East, West, South and the Great White North. So 2012 brings a beginning and there is no one better to begin new processes, systems and establishments than Romney. There is no better man for our times.

Providing everything goes well in South Carolina which today is more important than New Hampshire.

2012 could bring Romney/Haley 2012 or Romney/Perry or Romney/Petraeus but this has been the political season of the trickster and the trickster is still at large. So South Carolina could just as easily bring Gingrich/Palin 2012. I think Romney has it. But the departure of Bill Daley from the White House is also ominous. Daley is honest and honorable. He was the first to speak out about the direction of the Obama presidency, claiming that it was leaving the middle behind. It appeared that Daley was brought into the White House to accommodate that middle. Now that he is being sent out it appears that the middle – and Daley’s warning to Obama – is being abandoned and the president will pursue a more radical agenda. This could bring crisis to a divided America like we have not seen in a hundred years.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Ron Paul on Israel: “Hong Kong of the Middle East”

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/9/12

Israel, in its current incarnation, can be seen in its post-war generations; warriors like Moshe Dayan, old world kibbutzniks like Golda Mier, Carter, Clinton and Bush allies, and these are characterizations shared by American sympathizers and Jewish Israelis alike. But in 2012 it is safe to say that these generations are passing into history and when former New York Mayer Ed Koch slanders Ron Paul in classic Sixties hyperbole it simply registers as rude and confusing. Gary Bauer, a Christian evangelical leader, with support from Weekly Standard founder William Kristol and the Emergency Committee for Israel, also warns that Paul is an enemy of Israel. But with what legitimacy do these speak for Israel today? The idea of Israel as an American pseudo-state becomes preposterous as more immigrants arrive from Russia and elsewhere, and as more children are born in Israel to first and second generation Americans and Europeans who have made aliyah or sacred passage. Moshe Feiglin, who challenges Netanyahu for leadership in the Likud this month, says there are more Jews today in Israel than there are outside: The exile is over. In this new situation, America’s demands and expectations on Israel can seen as ill advised and illegitimate as China’s over Tibet.

Ron Paul has been called an anti-Semite because he opposed George W. Bush’s war on Iraq. I was as well when I appeared on the same pages as Paul in that period. So was General Wesley Clark and Jimmy Carter. The Washington Post’s Election 2012 blog reports on Paul defended his Israeli policy this week in New Hampshire. In response to a question from an undecided voter, he suggested that Israel “should be the Hong Kong of the Middle East.”

Felicia Sonmez reports:

“I would want to maintain very close relations with Israel,” Paul said. “I’d want to be a good friend of Israel. And I also want to respect them in many ways that I do not think the United States should undermine their sovereignty in any way.”

He went on to defend his position that the United States should not provide foreign aid to Israel and should not “tell them what to do.”

“If they want to have a peace treaty with their neighbors and they think they can work it out, they shouldn’t have to ask us for permission,” Paul said. “They shouldn’t have to ask us permission to defend their borders. That should be their business. But also, I do not believe that I should take money from anybody here and send money to Israel.”

“We should be friends,” he said. “We should trade with them. I would encourage them to become the Hong Kong of the Middle East, or something like that. You know, have a really affluent society.”

Friday, January 06, 2012

The Eastern Establishment Konservatives (EEK!). Wes Clark/Elizabeth Warren 2016

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/6/12

“A working class hero is something to be,” – John Lennon

The only explanation for a mediocrity like Rick Santorum, celebrated in the NY Times and on Charlie Rose today by David Brooks and by Krauthammer in the Washington Post, as a working class hero and darling of the Eastern Establishment Conservatives (EEC), is that they are following TV mass market paradigms and have gone beyond the “American Idol” model to “America’s biggest loser.” Santorum is perfect. He makes all the unpleasantness that happened since 1957 just go away. (He didn’t say “black” people, he said “blah” people. Memorable.)

Undoubtedly, he and his core supporters have vast electric train landscapes in the basements with whistles, turrets, engineer hats and smoke pellets. But it has to have come to a tipping point when a most prominent pollster declares that what Romney needs to rise in the polls is a groping scandal. Is this why they hate Mormons? Because they are not squalid? Because they come with a work ethic? It ruins it for the gropers and for those who sleep late and come to work stoned. Is that their problem with Romney? He is too good? (Too good for America?)

When Kafka looked at America rising he saw its shadow and spelled it with a k: Amerika. Could be what we are seeing here is the new Eastern Establishment Konservatives (EEK!), a dark shadow of its heroic tradition; conservatism’s own Children of the Korn.

I proposed several years ago a way of selecting presidential candidates as you would cheese or maple syrup here in New Hampshire, by grade. Top grade, governor of a major state (CA, NY, TX, MA). Next, in emergency, a great military commander (Eisenhower, Grant, Washington) and to this, to survive, we inevitably return. Perhaps that time is now. Third, governor of a smaller or under populated state (Palin and Jon Huntsman, but Huntsman’s resume is so sterling and his character so honorable he belongs in the first rank.) Last grade: Stand-up comedians, circus performers, professional wrestlers, television pundits, Charlie Sheen, just anybody.

Traditions fail; it is the creative part of nature and nature’s necessity. It happens because generations pass and their idols (Kennedy, Bush, Reagan) pass with them. It is a tragic mistake to reach down the food chain to replace them with market imitations. The Republicans have already done this once with George W. Bush.

If two of the top three candidates – Romney, Perry, Huntsman - are not left standing after South Carolina, we should consider the failure catastrophic and quickly move on to an honorable (not a groper) military commander. David Petraeus seems the obvious candidate for the Republicans.

The Democrats, the party now of the fashionably rich, have already worked their way down to stand up comics, professional wrestlers, celebrities and relatives of past favorites. And just when they are about to turn the corner with the formidable Elizabeth Warren in Boston, in my home town they suddenly find an undiscovered Kennedy. They might start again from scratch with General Wesley Clark.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Rick Perry does the right thing. It’s all about South Carolina now.

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/4/12

“Not that there aren’t real Republicans here in Iowa,” Rick Perry told ABC. “But the fact is it was a pretty loosey-goosey process, and you had a lot of people who were there that admitted they were Democrats voting in the caucuses last night, so we’re going.”

Perry does the right thing in heading to South Carolina. He’s got friends there and as he says, the process is less “loosey-goosey” than in Iowa. And did somebody say “quirky”?

The process is still winnowing down to a select few and Perry in one of them. I’d contend here that Gingrich, Bachmann and Santorum are not now and never have been real contenders.

Bachmann is about the small mind of America she wants to force the rest of us to be part of so we stop our loathsome and low down city ways. Gingrich is a phony intellectual who so impresses his generational fellows in the House. But unlike most actually academics, he is unable to sustain a coherent theme. His mind is like an old bookstore with everything stuck all over; every book an awakening, every lecture enlightenment. But add them together and they make no sense. One day he wants states sovereignty, next he wants to conquer the world so the new world under his domain will have state sovereignty. He was the anti-Bill and now he is the anti-Hillary; a shadow player who will drift away when they do. He is half nutty and his phony shutting down of the government was irresponsible play acting (which resonates today) by one who so wanted to be called into the action and passion by the gods of war, plume in the wind and saber slashing up the Shenandoah Valley with J.E.B. Stuart – but fickle nature sent him to the times of modest women and men. And he never really fit.

Ron Paul is a man of character and will modify conservatism over the next years, but he will run along the side as Ralph Nader did and contribute that way to both parties and to the rising generation. His role in this race is up.

Rick Perry needs to beat Santorum in South Carolina which should not be so difficult because there is little to Santorum. Little money and organization too. Said here yesterday, Santorum is the Republican’s Joe Biden, waiting for the Fifties to come back. He was last on the Iowa merry go round, in which like suburban soccer, everyone gets a little trophy. He is devoid of substance and a sense of the reality of changing times, which is what politics is all about.

With these others fading, it focuses the mind. Perry now is the only one who can stand and deliver against Mitt Romney. Choices have narrowed. Sarah Palin should ask, who do I support now, going into South Carolina, Mitt Romney or Rick Perry? Donald Trump should ask the same thing and so should Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and the very influential Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham.

Romney will win sky high in New Hampshire next week but Perry can take South Carolina. And who takes South Carolina could take the nomination.
Romney and Santorum in Iowa: A good day and a bad omen

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 12/4/12

There is no need to consult the Mexican Grand Warlock to see a Romney in America’s near future. Intrade has him winning the Republican nomination at 81.5%. It was a good day for Mitt Romney yesterday and it will be a better one next week in New Hampshire. Possibly nothing could be better for the Republican party and America at this time of congenital leadership crisis because Romney has killer skills as a problem solver, akin to those of Cardinal Wolsey, Zhou Enlai or Dwight D. Eisenhower. America is broke in so many places and Romney can fix them because that is what he does. But he will need more than eight years to do so, so he must pick his VP wisely. His job is not only to rebuild the Republican Party but to rebuild America to find its way into the new century. John Thune, Senator from South Dakota, who appeared to figure prominently in support during in the Iowa campaign, may be the good helper in this as VP. But it is a problem that Rick Santorum came so close. Rick Santorum is the Republican's answer to Joe Biden, from the land where time stopped some 50 years ago.

The problems of our country run deep. I think the Republican establish so dislikes Romney and waged so much of its credibility against him - even bringing in Barbara Bush and Kissinger to oppose - because they know they are broken and do not want to be fixed. They have been cruising on nostalgia for two decades now and by sending in third tier types like former Senator Bob Dole have afflicted the world with the Clintons. Santorum is in that mold. This week David Brooks of The New York Times presents Santorum as the Republican’s working class hero: “The Republican Party is the party of the white working class. This group — whites with high school degrees and maybe some college — is still the largest block in the electorate. They overwhelmingly favor Republicans,” Yes, from the day of Babs and Riley in “The Life of Riley” or “Ozzie and Harriet” maybe; the land before internet, before grunge, before three-speed bikes, electric trains and color TV.

In fact, Republicans do have the avant garde of the working class, impossible to miss in the presence of Sarah Palin on the back of a Harley on Veteran’s Day, the Tea Party and Ron Paul’s almost dead even finish in Iowa. And it grows in the high schools and colleges. Had the candidates ever gotten to the hills of New Hampshire to town like Warren, Bath and Haverhill, they would see the Ron Paul signs. But it gives them the night terrors. Like Biden, Santorum is the antidote – the perennial Fifties candidate - to keep time from happening. To keep the present from happening.

But Romney is not afraid and it is possible today to see in Romney an American president. And in him, to see an agent sent by Bain, like the two young men who visited Mayor Shirley Franklin and helped restore Atlanta with her. And it could be seen that the Republican Party and possibly all of America still has a strong pulse beneath the ruin and is ripe for renaissance. And there is no better man to do it – born to do it possibly - than Mitt Romney.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Tim Tebow phenomenon

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 1/2/12

Could be that those who hate him to see it clearly: Tim Tebow, bent humbly in prayer, is a threat to the very core of America as we have imagined ourselves to be since 1776. They see a threat right to the core of science mind, head domination over the heart that has brought us to world conquest these last 200 years. They see love rising to extinguish power as invariably in time it tends to.

It could be the "Grand Inquisitor" moment that Dostoyevsky warned us about. Pop culture mavens may recall two knock offs in modern times, one penned if I recall correctly by David Duchovny and Chris Carter in “The X Files” and the other in magnificently portrayed all through a television season in J.J. Abrams “Lost.”
In the “X Files” account, the Christ reappeared on earth in the body this time of an alien. Immediately he is recognized by The Cigarette-Smoking Man as the Christ. He is sent to the dungeons for torture. "Science is their religion," says the ineffable Cigarette Smoking Man, meaning us, and it is his role as subtle agent, like the Grand Inquisitor’s, to protect the official religion. As Dostoyevsky’s Grand inquisitor did, Cigarette Smoking Man wisely saw this alien imposter in our midst as a threat to our very essence. Much as Bill Maher sees Tim Tebow.

But the “Lost” telling was a masterpiece, not only because it slipped beneath the TV censors and advertisers and critics exactly as Dostoyevsky’s great works did, but because of the exquisite telling of the story. In this telling, the execrable Ben Linus (read “Ben” = “Son” – the Christ; Linus, Muse of Apollo) was captured by the “Lost” islanders and thrown into the dungeon for torture. The definitive chest wound and a Dostoyevsky book used as a talisman, given to him by John Locke, a seeker, who wants to know better, identified him as the returned Christ, worn threadbare and gone half mad by his long journey.

In the Dostoevsky story the Christ appears and is thrown into prison by the Grand Inquisitor because what he asks of people is too hard, and what he brings will destroy everything the Inquisitor has built these past thousand years. He, the Christ, is sent to the dungeons for torture.

I don't pray and am kind of the opposite of the Tebow haters. I personally dislike public displays of religiosity unless they come from Jews or Buddhists (Asian ones but not Deepak Chopra). Because otherwise they have, these past decades in America since Jimmy Carter declared himself to be “born again,” seemed simply to be insidious and insincere projections of territoriality; the use of religion for political ends, which should be considered a kind of blasphemy.

But Tim does not seem like that. I like to watch him pray. He seems real and that is the danger. That is what Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor knew, and so do Bill Maher in our time and the Tebow-haters: One real man praying could ruin everything.