Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New age of Jefferson: How will the world respond to American decentralization?

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/28/12

The optimists on Charlie Rose Wednesday night said likely the vote would likely preserve Obamacare. Turning back the way of life since FDR seemed unrealistic. The war of ideas between centralization and decentralization is supposed to have been settled at Cemetery Ridge. But this is not over. Senator Mike Lee of Utah said 5-4 turning back the Obama initiative.

Pundits say it is as important as Brown v. Board of Education. It is a good comparison in that yes, what the Court rules this week will change America. I felt the best perspective was in an editorial, Bracing for the Court in the New York Sun. They compare the challenge today to an appeal to the Supreme Court in 1935 by a family of kosher butchers, challenged the constitutionality of the National Industrial Recovery Act, which was the centerpiece of the New Deal. They appealed to the Supreme Court on much the same grounds as the states are now making their appeal on health care.

But consider the scope of the challenge to centralization then and that today. This is not a challenge from a family of kosher butchers in Brooklyn. The challenge to centralization today comes from 26 states. It goes beyond Brown v Board of Education and past Schechter Poultry v. U.S. It goes to our very beginnings.
America’s outward trajectory in the world depended on New York consolidation of power in the Roosevelt era and before in the Lincoln era. But it harks back to Alexander Hamilton. Centralization of capital and power was Hamilton’s vision. Thus the name, the “empire” state. But is New York still the Empire State? One would assume so reading The New Yorker or watching Charlie Rose, but the cash on which those assumptions were based for more than 200 years has dispersed. Capital runs today lickety split throughout the regions and throughout the world. In fact, there is clearly more now on the other side of the world than here. In fiscal and economic matters, decentralization has already happened.

In the stock market crash of September, 2008, legendary investor Jim Rogers said, “London and New York are finished.” Rogers has a historic view of economy and sees a cycle of farming rising to industrialization and then tailing off to an age of investment which occurred in New York in the Reagan/Clinton period. Then the age falls fallow. Things go back to farming and the heartland, rich in commodities, is a healthy place to start the world again.

And here we have completed that arc. The country is full. The states are beginning to think for themselves. That, I expect, the Justices understand, with a challenge presented to them today by 26 states.

In the beginning, wrote historian Frank Owsley, two men defined the fundamental principles of America, Hamilton and Jefferson. Hamilton was for extreme centralization, while Jefferson was for extreme decentralization.
When America moved to centralization in the 1850s the world followed. But today, decentralization is even a theme in massively popular pop cultural venues like The Hunger Games.

How will stocks and world markets respond to American decentralization? Hamilton’s vision has reigned since about the time Mozart was writing the Requiem. This is the turning we are at today. How will the world respond instead to Jefferson?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mitt Romney, Jedi Master

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill o n 3/27/12

The ancient masters were subtle, mysterious, profound, responsive. – The Tao de Ching, #15

The Hunger Games
is important because it marks a new generation, just as Bob Dylan marked a new generation when he appeared at a folk festival in my high school football field in the early Sixties. This book and movie is a definitive marker and will imprint a generation now in high school. If your kids are just a little older, even in college, they might not get it. But Mitt Romney gets it.

It is interesting that high school teachers love this book and college professors hate it. When I saw Star Wars in Boston when it first came out, next day I had lunch with two Harvard professors new in the English department. I was amazed at the underlying themes; a text book for Taoism (“the Force”) with lessons direct from classic Eastern texts like “Zen and the Art of Archery” all held together by the themes of mythologist Joseph Campbell. The Harvard professors were apoplectic. They were intent on creating the new generation of French nihilists who dominate culture and liberal politics to this day. This was an existential threat to them. They will be terrified when book two of The Hunger Games series appears: It is purely revolutionary.

That is the problem with generationality: Each rising generation of purpose identifies its own gen in opposition to the last. Sir James G. Frazer wrote that important generations symbolize this by chopping down a tree as Washington did, to show their break from the past. A better analogy: The Red Queen (Victoria, in Twilight) must be killed so the White Queen (Bella) can begin the world again. If The Hunger Games brings the storied fourth generation of the clever book The Fourth Turning by William Strauss and Neil Howe, this generation will be a tree chopper.

And only one major figure gets this: Mitt Romney. He intentionally took the day off from campaigning to go see the movie, The Hunger Games, with his grand kids.

"I enjoyed it,” he said. “I actually read the books too.”

From the book: “When I was younger, I scared my mother to death, the things I would blurt out about District 12, about the people who rule our country, Panem, from the far off city called the Capital. Eventually I understood this would only lead us to more trouble.”

Ages rise while others recede, like the tide. It is the way of all things. The new century will not resemble the last. It never does. But the old generations (Clinton/Bush) will try their mightiest to prevent the birth of the future. They always do.

I’ve been on the Strauss/Howe theme for 15 years and see three historic features of the rising century: Rise of the Anglosphere in cultural cohesion – potentially in the lifeline of William and Catherine to advance; the continuing cohesion and rise of Israel (as a sacred state) awakening in a world dying around it - the post-Netanyahu (post-Clinton/Bush) era rising with Moshe Feiglin; and third, the cultural and political rise of heartland America in opposition to the edges.

All public elements have been shopping The Hunger Games to propagandize and legitimize their own agendas, from hunting to world hunger. The movie speaks for itself. But the key to political futures is the “grandfather” (“ancient master”) who constellates with the rising generation. In Star Wars term, that would mark the Jedi master.

Only one rose instinctively to The Hunger Games: Mitt Romney.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

“Girl on Fire”: The Hunger Games generation

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/24/12

The path to imperial conquest has long passed into the universe but Captain Kirk is still with us, appearing on Broadway today as William Shatner. This outward movement was most poignantly observed by Walt Whitman in his poem of 1871, Passage to India. And was this not God’s plan from the first, asked Whitman, that we would travel across the seas to India and beyond; to Sirius, to Jupiter and beyond?

But the outward journey has found its edge. We can no longer take China as our own and India or anyplace else for that matter. We turned inward possibly as early as the Sixties when the soldiers refused to go. Newt Gingrich got his knickers in a twist when the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi rose to prominence and this just as he and George W. Bush and Cheney were about to ship out to Nam (Not!). And they would not forget. No worries, the hippies would soon join the conquerors on Wall Street. Something was happening there, said Stephen Stills in our time of brief moments. Something that is still not really clear.

We today are at another turning and those Student Life administrators in colleges across the country who look to the markings of new generations should look to The Hunger Games. It is insidious and dark and beautiful and will raise a cry of liberation and awakening to a new generation.

Suzanne Collins is a serious and committed author; her Underland Chronicles series within reach of wisdom; wise maybe like Stephen Stills, only for a moment, or Whitman, in timelessness. I don't think this generation will look abroad for self identification and seek to conqueror elsewheres with priests - Bono, Lady Gaga – or soldiers, money or smart phones. There are no more elsewheres left to conquer. (“The spaceship has landed,” Steve Jobs.) They will look here, where we live. This generation will look to the heart instead of the head. And maybe it will be as Whitman prophesied: Past Sirius and Jupiter we return and "The true son of God shall come singing his songs."

Donald Sutherland is the great totalitarian in HGs, but the Emperor walked with the Sith long ago in Star Wars with Obi-wan in opposition. Hamilton’s original vision of one world is now a global freak show ruled by game show hosts and preening modernists, extending caricature beyond Rome’s wildest circus. While the heroic hippie/survivalist Katniss, “girl on fire” in the Hunger Games, is armed with only the simplest tools, faith and intuition. It is a dangerous, revolutionary, magnificent movie and could change everything. I was pleasantly surprised by the quiet erudition. Without giving anything away, suggested homage to "Man's Fate", Andre Malraux's iconic revolutionary novel of 1933.

It was hidden from view by the game show hosts of MSM but Star Wars was likewise an insurgency text from the beginning. Only Mel Brooks, in his parody Space Balls seemed to notice. He named the place they sought to begin again Druidia. All space journeys today return to a place like primitive earth; Avatar, Lost, John Carter and even the TV series Survivor. It is a reoccurring dream or maybe an ancient memory fighting its way back into reality. In Hunger Games it is an anthem. It is a call for the mythic White Queen and it has been these past 40 years – Leia, Padmé Amidala – a call to begin again in time. With Hunger Games we do not seek a future. We seek a beginning.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Political themes in “The Hunger Games”

by Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/23/12

“A lot of people are reading political themes into it,” said Stuart Varney on his morning Fox Business show. Reviews are right to feel uncertain about “The Hunger Games.” A new generation identifies with it and rises with it. It is insidious and deep like a changing tide and it reaches in symbol to the deepest anthropological feminine cord; that of Diana, the huntress. Incidentally, so did Sarah Palin. The NY Times front page review in the first line links the picture with the words “teenage survivalist” – the phrase associated with random right militia movements of the 1980s. Others have asked correctly if “The Hunger Games” insinuates “Tea Party” values. No, but yes.

The book was published in 2008 and it was April, 2009 when the phrase “Tea Party” came into vogue with the daily rantings of Glenn Beck and Fox and company. But it does bring to mind the “prehistory” of the Tea Party and the values of Jeffersonian opposition which came to oppose in the George W. Bush era when it appears that Suzanne Collins was writing her trilogy.

I tend to know some of those involved and if there ever was a female survivalist-type inspiration to author Collins that could well be the formidable Carolyn Chute, author of “The Beans of Egypt, Maine.” Carolyn and Thomas Naylor, a retired Duke professor who lives In Vermont, in fact began the general opposition to Washington at the beginning of the invasion of Iraq making the claim that their north country New England states and mine need not participate in the war on Iraq. (Disclosure: I helped.)

Few were interested then but when the Obama administration appeared later, the same arguments of state sovereignty and non-cooperation with the feds, again based on Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolutions of 1797, were introduced by Rep. Dan Itse and a neighbor of mine to the state legislature in Concord, NH, making the case against Obamacare. 29 states quickly followed suit and the Tea Party rose from that.

Naylor started then the separatist The Second Vermont Republic with the support of Carolyn and found agreement with America’s great ambassador George Kennan, who wrote to him, “All power to Vermont in its effort to distinguish itself from the USA as a whole . . .”

Kennan was the inspiration for this thinking and had recently presented a vision of the United States in his book, Around the Cragged Hill: A Personal and Political Philosophy. Kennan’s ideas, wrote one reviewer in Foreign Affairs “ . . . range from benchmarks for thought (why not a United States broken into smaller, more cohesive republics?), to long-term approaches to constitutional governance (a council of state beside the legislative and executive branches as custodian of national interests that would be above immediate political tugs), to more specific guidance (a foreign policy limited, insofar as possible, to permitting the United States to get on with internal renovation).

Kennan envisioned an America devolved to – guess what – 12 districts.

“I have often diverted myself, and puzzled my friends” Kennan wrote, “ 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 . . . 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.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

“Deconstruct” the Eisenhower memorial committee

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/21/12

Dwight D. Eisenhower was as elementary to our lives as the five-star highways are today. He was a man like Ulysses S. Grant and Lord Nelson but he did not strive to be. Hear Nelson declaring that England demands that every man will do his duty. Read Grant’s memoirs; he was as formidable a figure on the page as he was in the field of battle. But perhaps the greatest tribute to Eisenhower is that iconic photograph of him talking to the soldiers about to enter battle in Normandy. The photo speaks to American purpose and determination. What was he talking about? A tour of the Capital will explain that he was talking about fly fishing. And that is the honorable riddle behind Ike. Behind the general was always the man. The general was not an artifice apart. The general and the man were the same. But Susan Eisenhower is right in her criticism of the Frank Gehry design of the Eisenhower memorial which includes a gigundous bas relief of the famous photo. Presented this way, it looks like something out of Stalingrad.

Gehry’s buildings always look like they are falling apart or blowing up or the ship is sinking. He speaks to the times and our times are not the times of Grant, Nelson or Eisenhower. Ours are the times of Charlie Sheehan, Lady Gaga and Bart Simpson. And appropriately, Gehry has had his moment immortalized on The Simpsons. Ours is an age of falling apart.

Gehry’s ideas are all old pre-war European-based ideas which can be seen reflected in Dada, Duchamp and Picasso. Virtually every piece of work in the Gehry oeuvre seems to default back specifically to one painting, Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp, done in 1912. That age rose to mastery when it shifted from the nihilism of Dada to transcendence with André Breton’s small, visionary sanga of Surrealists. Breton and his artists came to understand the difference. But they never got the memo at the American university in the post-war period and defaulted back to nihilism.

Artists of the Gehry culture or geist tend to be Europeanists. They tend to see the long slow death of Europe in what Raymond Aron called “the century of total war” and translate it to America. But America did not die with Europe in 1917 or 1946 and incidentally, neither did England. Were these issues discussed by the Eisenhower memorial committee? Because this is a legitimate point of view academically (call it institutionalized Dada), but for a government monument committee to chose Gehry, who speaks to the unraveling, would be the very worst choice to convey Eisenhower.

Eisenhower built the roads for Jack Kerouac and company and awakened America after the fall of Europe. It doesn’t matter what they do in academic culture. But Washington must understand that America is not Europe.

If the Eisenhower committee could just wait a few minutes and start again say next year, for there are strong indications the age is turning and the new century is about to start. The falling apart is ending and the awakening and building will soon begin again. Gehry is the perfect choice for the waning times and the end of the last century. He is essentially fin de siècle. But Eisenhower, like Grant and Nelson, is the one who comes next. We seek him out to fight our way back after we have broken everything, and we are still in the midst of the breakage.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

District 12

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/17/12

The gods hide in low places, they used to say, meaning the simple truths are everywhere apparent and can be told in the simplest tales. One such tale is The Phantom of the Opera, best watched with children or grandchildren. Joel Schumacher's 2004 version featuring Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler is the best. This story has been told a dozen times and will be told again. Possibly nothing tells of the death of Europe like this tale. Worth seeing again because since the fabled fire in the opera house Europe has not recovered. Likely now it never will. It is replaced by varied economic zones which all strive to be the same and which now, with Germany dominant, are required by law and regulation to be the same. And to be more like Germany. Today, instead of Europe we have stylish, modernist, economic zones which are heading instead to a nowhere land like that of District 12, the home of Katniss and Prim in the tale of committed love and liberation, The Hunger Games. But that which was once Europe no longer really exists.

The question today is does China still exist? Or is it, like the Pamen of The Hunger Games, just a sequence of economic districts on which the world’s entire economic life and livelihood depends?

As China edges up today to a new leadership fight, the Washington Post is correct to ask whether a purge is going on and the expulsion of neo-Maoist Bo Xilai portends a new leadership fight. At the victory speech of Hu Jintao on the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic, on which occasion Hu dressed in Mao suit, it should have been asked whether there is really any “China” left to advance.

Taoists, who brought the dragon spirit to China up to six thousand years ago are today being pulled off the streets and thrown in prison with the quiet compliance of the western press and American state department. Elderly Chinese women of the traditional devotions even find their way into my life to seek help to get their families out of jail.

Suzanne Collins, like Neil Gaiman and Hayao Miyazaki, brings psychological depth and mastery to her task which a rising young generation has long been familiar with. The rest of the world will catch on Friday when The Hunger Games opens nationally. Intrade posts a 90% chance that it will gross over $100 million on opening weekend.

Is there any dragon left in China, any tiger remaining in the Jewel Heart of Buddhism? But maybe Collins’ blockbuster is meant to send a reminder to us and not to those realms gone to history already, as Katniss’s District 12 is said to be Appalachia, the last place on earth still with the faith to fight for its life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mitt Romney/Rick Perry 2012

by Benie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/14/12

Another nice mess you’ve got us in now, Ollie! Santorum has taken the Deep South! Mitt Romney might now have to form a deal in order to avoid a brokered convention, a leading Gingrich surrogate told The Hill.

What kind of a deal? Newt Gingrich as Vice President? As he said earlier, he is willing to serve his country in that capacity. But would Gingrich on the ticket increase Romney’s electability? Only in that 51st state, the dark side of the moon. Gingrich brings too much baggage. He got to this position he is in now by a strange twist of fate. It was all really a book promotion that got out of hand. But they were saying this not long ago about Ron Paul who no longer has the leverage. Romney would have to deal with him. Ron Paul as VP or maybe his son, Rand, as surrogate. So maybe Gingrich can bite the bullet as well and put principle before ego and present as a deal to Romney his closest surrogate on the issues, Texas Governor Rick Perry.

It would incorporate much of the new thinking that has come into this campaign. Perry literally wrote the book on state sovereignty and the devolution of power to the states. Romney said repeatedly he would follow this initiative as president. And Steve Forbes says Perry’s tax ideas are the best. As a manager, he is a match for Romney, for anyone.

Romney likes Perry and admires his work as governor and has said so in the early part of the campaign before Perry entered. And a Romney/Perry ticket – a Massachusetts/Texas ticket - would fit the tradition of harmony and equilibrium between the regions.

America is recklessly accelerating toward economic disaster. And Rick Perry, Texas governor for the past decade, is uniquely qualified to offer a firsthand perspective on why the United States – the most successful civilization in human history – is being threatened with economic collapse. Gingrich says so in the introduction to Perry’s book, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gingrich and Perry and Huntsman, oh my! (And Sarah Palin.)

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/13/12

To understand Sarah Palin it might work best to view the movie U.S. v. John Lennon. The Nixon administration was unaccountably preoccupied with John Lennon. One of the commentators said that they had no interest in others like Mick Jagger and saw him as a flighty, marginal figure, But Nixon, his men and the FBI were dogged and driven in their obsession with Lennon. Likely the same with Sarah Palin. The latest, the HBO offering “Game Change” suggests as well that they can’t stop thinking about her. Possibly because she and her husband Todd, late of the Alaska Independence Party, are, like Lennon, potentially revolutionary figures.

It is a nice rumor, possibly started here, that Newt Gingrich is in talks with Rick Perry to bring him in as his Vice President. I wouldn’t be surprised. As I recall, Gingrich said long ago that candidates might announce the VPs and staff ahead of time so people would know what they are getting. He also suggested that Jon Huntsman, Jr. would come in some function due to his expertise in China if I have that right. And he said he would bring in John Bolton in some capacity. And Sarah Palin. Visualize that.

Which does tell us a lot. Who would Rick Santorum bring in? Times columnist Stanley Fish has been running several useful columns this week defending Rick Santorum’s position on religion. Santorum claimed that JFK was wrong to separate church and state in his mind. Santorum has a unified perspective. In my opinion it clears things up by taking the “left” and “right” aspects of partisan warfare out of the debate. It does then make the case for regionalism; people in one place want to think one way, let them. Another place different, let them. That is the Jeffersonian perspective and in our times, that is revolutionary thinking. JFK wanted to include the Irish in with the mainstream. He could otherwise have made a case for Catholic regional autonomy in a Catholic-majority region and so could Santorum.

On Lou Dobbs last night, The Hill’s Dick Morris made the plea for Republicans to vote for Romney. If the primary continues until August, he said, there will not be enough time to defend against President Obama in the general election. And if Gingrich or Santorum win the primary the big winner will be Barack Obama.

I've felt from the beginning that certain forces in the most conventional conservative establishment have been looking to Obama victory in 2012 anyway, so that they, the conventional political religionists, may win in 2016. George Will recently suggested as much. But maybe everyone here including Santorum and Gingrich are looking to bypass 2012 and rise in 2016.

If Gingrich wins the primary and loses the election, he would be going into 2016 as leader. (Visualize that.) This might be considered a revolutionary position and a revolutionary strategy, because Gingrich, Rick Perry and Ron Paul should be considered revolutionaries (and Sarah Palin the La Passionara of this rising movement). Like all successful revolutionaries, Vladimir Lenin had no interest in who would win WW I, as the war itself was a checkers game and Lenin saw the chess game underlying. No matter who won, the war itself advanced the revolutionary position. And so the extended primary, which weakens the Republican Party, strengthens the “revolutionary” position. And so would a second Obama term advance the positions which have come to contention in this primary.

In other words, by 2016 America may be in a state of revolution.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

“Free the American West”: But western lands could trigger revolt

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/12/12

The Hill’s John Feehery asks the important question: Is this election about revolution or restoration? Since April, 2009 when Texas Governor Rick Perry chanted “ . . . states’ rights, states’ rights, states’ rights!!!” at the Alamo, it’s been on people’s minds. Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann, Paul have tendencies.

Revolt needs philosophers like Ron Paul, distinguished supporters like Perry, passionate advocates like Sarah Palin, warrior ascetics like Alaska’s Joe Miller and even mad hatters like Glenn Beck. But most a revolt needs casus belli; a singular cause that bonds to purpose. Otherwise, there is no rebellion. There is an issue today that qualifies: Land.

“Whose land is it,” Connor Boyack, Director, Utah Tenth Amendment Center, asks in The Daily Caller? “Has the federal government become so arrogant as to claim ownership of the land over which it has jurisdiction? Put differently, does the United States of America exist to protect and defend the property of each individual living within its borders, or to own and control that property itself? This is not a theoretical question reserved for intellectual banter. It is a real question pondered often, especially by those in western regions where the majority of land is owned and regulated by the federal government. Although the federal government owns less than 10% of almost every eastern state, it owns large swaths of the West: 65% of the land in Utah, 83% of Nevada, 63% of Idaho, 45% of Arizona, 44% of California and similar percentages of the surrounding western states.”

We never consider it back east, but demographics bring it. Slightly more than one hundred years back the western regions were virtually empty, struggling for a purchase under a Comanche moon. Today, those who prioneered there might want to make their own determinations.

Last week Robert H. Nelson, senior fellow with the Independent Institute in Oakland, CA, wrote in the LA Times (“Free the American West,” March 7, 2012) that U.S. public land policy is a vestige of the past, established in 1910 when America’s population was just 92.2 million and a western state such as Nevada had only 81,000 residents.

“The United States can no longer afford to keep tens of millions of acres of ‘public’ land locked up and out of service,” he writes. “Some of these lands have great commercial value; others are environmental treasures. We need policies capable of distinguishing between the two.”

Few Easterners realize the immense magnitude of the public lands, he says. The federal government's holdings include about 58 million acres in Nevada, 45 million acres in California, 34 million acres in Utah, 33 million acres in Idaho and more than a fourth of all the land in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon and Wyoming. Add to that Alaska, where 75 million surface acres are federal public lands.

“It is time to end outdated federal land policies that are draining our country's wealth, tying up valuable resources in red tape and bureaucracy, and harming the environment. The transition to a new system would take time, but it might reasonably be completed over a 10-year period, the same time frame Washington is using for deficit-reduction planning.”

Utah legislators are demanding the feds cede control of 30 million acres and Boyack says other westerns states are closely following with model legislation they can likewise implement.

But suppose the feds won’t let go? Does anyone really think they will?

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Romney wins: Conservatism’s Lost Generation is over

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/6/12

Last words of celebrity; gods they would be called in old Greece, are important. In his last conference Steve Jobs, dedicating his landmark building in California said, “The spaceship has landed.” As often with Jobs it is thought provoking and suggests something else. Andrew Breitbart had some significant last words as well, screaming them at a bunch of young people who were demonstrating against the rich: “You are freaks and animals!” he shouted at them, distorted in scorn and laughter. I was reminded of General Colin Powell who wrote in his autobiography about returning from a second tour in Vietnam and visiting the Pentagon, shocked to see thousands, hundreds of thousands, of young people railing against America. His response was compassion and understanding and he vowed to live his life to make these young ones love America as he did.

What a contrast. In the recent passing of Breitbart, Anne Coulter said it was like “the death of John Lennon.” Other conservatives compared Breitbart to Abbie Hoffman. For anyone who lived through those times the comparisons are absurd, but you get the idea. Conservatism has been experiencing an age of dissent; an anti-age or “counter culture” like the political aspects of the Sixties. They do indeed have their Bhagwans and Jim Joneses – Rush Limbaugh and Cheney come to mind and maybe Coulter could be considered the Susan Sontag of this motley group. America has been drinking the Kool-Aid now for more than a full decade.

This Lost Generation of Conservatism, to coin a phrase, saw its high water mark with George W. Bush. I felt that Bush and particularly Cheney intentionally brought in Colin Powell to embarrass him and to disgrace him; dissent does not honor honorable men and needs to de-legitimize it. Which they did, by sending America’s most honored soldier to lie before the UN.

But Powell doesn’t belong to them. He belongs to us and if Obama is reelected he should bring him in as staff. And so should Mitt Romney. It would have even greater significance. It would show to America that conservatism’s Lost Generation is over. Our most distinguished, like Eisenhower’s son John and granddaughter Susan might even come back to the party.

Conservatism today gets a new start. John Thune, Nikki Haley, Bob McDonnell and Rob Portman in particular, form an elite group of Republicans who were with Romney before Tuesday. They advanced Romney at the critical moments when he needed them. They should be remembered for this.

Also, those who held back from the center of the party should be remembered as they bear the burden for dragging this race out and risking the health and survival of the Republican Party and hoped to engineer a brokered convention. They should be left behind with the Lost Generation.

Say good bye as well to Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum, never to be heard from again. Romney now must bring order and stability to America in a 12-year-ride (Romney/Portman 2012, no?). By then (2024) the young, dedicated and enthusiastic followers being schooled today by Ron Paul and Judge Andrew Napolitano will be just beginning professional life and they will bring this new force forward.

Then all hell breaks loose.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Romney will rise on Super Tuesday

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/5/12

The reelection of Scott Brown in Massachusetts would be a landmark event. It would indicate that Massachusetts had passed its post- liberal period and is coming back to national relevance. A Suffolk University poll gives Brown a lead of nine over Elizabeth Warren, the best proxy candidate in an Obama referendum. This is bad news for President Obama. Intrade has Obama ahead at 60 % which might be a better indicator than fickle national polls which have him under 50. But that liberal Massachusetts continues with Brown a second time is a good indicator that we, the most entrenched of liberals, have reached a sea change and the Romney tide will rise on Super Tuesday.

Romney will rebuild conservatism from scratch and he is not a bad one to do it. He knows how to make things and fix things which are broke. It is what he does. And he sees utility in the everyday just as Picasso found utility in found objects. He will surprise everyone by inaugurating state sovereignty and regional responsibilities in new places and will apply much of Ron Paul’s thinking. Watching him in Massachusetts and at the Olympics I am sure of this. He is the rare politician who can see the value in new ideas when they apply and will not hesitate to use what works.

A New York Times column yesterday and my column here claimed the GOP was dying, which it is. But Romney will bring it back to life. He will make it a new party. It is what he does and has always done. “The last gasp of the GOP?” the Times asked and they insinuated that it was. But I recall asking the exact same question in a graduate class during the Jimmy Carter administration. It should be said by now that Obama is no Jimmy Carter. First off, he gets his man and the assassination of Osama bin Laden was a stunning piece of work by all involved, especially Obama.

The failure of Carter to get reelected was not policy related. It was temperament related and in that way Carter does compares with Obama. Personally, Carter was interesting and personable and so is Obama. They brought us a break at the end of stressful historic times. But after we have had our rest we return to management indicators on the resume; Nixon after Kennedy, Reagan after Carter, Romney after Obama. Rest period is over and Romney’s era starts today. One, in my opinion, in which America will prosper and the American West will rise in influence.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

End the Republican Party; start the Ron Paul party

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/4/12

Conrad Black, the conservative editor of the NY Sun, says the first words Fidel Castro has ever uttered that he has agreed with are those recently published on his blog in which he opined that the current republican race is one of the most inane and stupid events in modern world history. George Will says they should just let it go until 2016. And the editors of the Washington Post say Republicans can no longer avoid their Limbaugh problem. Good news for President Obama who remains at 60% at Intrade. Indeed, they may begin to ask if there will even be a 2016 for Republicans. The constant rant from Limbaugh and his mindless others on the radio waves suggests the tailwind of a lost cause, like the bitter wind that persisted followed the Civil War with Nathan Bedford Forest and the Ku Klux Klan, and the Brown Shirts after WW I.

The beginning of wisdom, said William F. Buckley, Jr., quoted by George Will in the weekend Post, is “fear of the Lord.” Maybe, but not my experience. That, I think, is the problem with the current batch of Republicans formed by Buckley and Will: They see the wrath before they see the glory. They enter life by way of the shadow. Now, I question whether their shadow play can survive. But the Pauls seem different.

Consider that we see actual conservatism with the rise of Ron Paul like we have never seen it here before since Kennedy, since before Roosevelt, since ever.

The beginning of a new conservative period rises today and Ron Paul and son Rand have by now institutionalized the new thinking and it will not go away as it is the rising political culture of the young, and it makes sense. Forget about 2012 and 2016 and start a new party. Call it something else; the Conservative Party or the Federalist Party. It will help explain what these words mean again or maybe for the first time.

If Obama wins he will bide his time. The mainstream establishment featuring Jeb Bush, his ready sidekick New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and the Weekly Standard crew immediately stage their 2016 comeback but are ignored. History passed them by in 2012. A new conservative youth culture arises featuring Ron Paul, Constitutional government, state sovereignty and regional rights and responsibility. Rand Paul/Judge Napolitano 2016 awakens a new America era and runs the century.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Olympia J. Snowe departs the Congress of Easter Peeps

By Bernie Quigley

For The Hill on 3/2/12

The Post's top lead today tells us that everyone in the small town of Washington, Oklahoma, lives the conservative life. The same could likely be said about the rest of Oklahoma. Those who feel differently, like Elizabeth Warren, might move to Massachusetts. Having lived in every New England state except Connecticut which is really part of New York, I'm glad Warren is here. She's a good fit. She belongs here and I'd vote for her if I lived in Massachusetts. But why should the rest of Oklahoma be forced to be dominated by us New Engalnders? That is the question Olympia J. Snowe should be asking when she returns to Maine. And this one: Why should we in New England be dominated when Texas and Oklahoma run against our moral being? Like in the invasion of Iraq?

Snowe has spoken for years, she says, “about the dysfunction and political polarization” of the Senate. The Senate, she says, “Is not living up to what the Founding Fathers envisioned.” The great challenge, she says, is to “find common ground” and only then will we achieve results for the “common good.”

But in the invasion of Iraq and in many others situations, there is no common ground and there should be no compromise. Snowe supported the invasion and so did most of New England’s senators and representatives although calls were said to be coming into Senator John Kerry's office in Massachusetts ten-to-one against. Instead New England compromised.

Jefferson offered a better solution: In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1797 he said when the states were driven to unconstitutional or illegal actions by the federals they need not and should not participate. The Kentucky Resolutions and the Tenth Amendment were raised recently when the feds forced its will again on the states with Obamacare. This time conservative states like Oklahoma and Texas objected citing Jefferson and 29 states followed. The New England states should have done the same with the Iraq vote.

There is a dark and subliminal human need perhaps for bloody vengeance in our condition (Atlanta, Hiroshima, Baghdad) but it leaves a bitter taste. Those who singularly and heroically oppose, like Wisconsin’s Russ Feingold, are sent back to the hinterland. The compromisers and appeasers remain but are held in little regard and Snowe leaves a Congress today which has an astonishing approval rating of 13 percent.

The Congress of Easter Peeps which she leaves behind also injured our most valued ancestor, Israel, by creating the impression that Israel insidiously ordered the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq from a secret cabal in the U.S. It will take Israel another decade to recover and it can well do so perhaps only by repudiating its relationship with the United States entirely.