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.