Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Elizabeth Warren v. Rand Paul: Why Obama should avoid Nantucket

The Hill’s long-time commentator John Feehery writes in his column this week, Populism run amok, that it is not only the young 'uns at CPAC that are  going all Jacksonian – Sarah Palin, Rand Paul and others – but that the new Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is just as Jacksonian. Exactly so.  And in so many ways; an Okie grandmother who knows how to bake a cake and loves Tom Brady. She is as country as is Sarah Palin and I am sure she knows herself to be the anti-Palin. And it was the Democrats, with recent Virginia Senator Jim Webb who opened to door to Andrew Jackson and who  brought the first Jacksonian rant against the Eastern Establishment when he referred to the “robber Barons” of Wall Street in reaction to George W. Bush’s state of the Union in 2007. I believe John McCain, whose best gifts are literary, caught on right away and chose the rustic former governor of Alaska for VP. It was a door that opened that will not be closed.

Recall, y’all, that Andrew Jackson’s rant against the Boston and Virginian snobs was a complete success and when the opposition came to fight back, they had to go country as well. The Democrats have already done so with Elizabeth Warren. And that is why President Obama should not bask at Nantucket this year.  I grew up about a day’s sail away when that little corner of New England featured Portuguese fishermen in plaid shirts and grey flat bottom skiffs and flinty lawyers who would drive the oil executives to apoplexy at town meetings. One lobbyist actually had a heart attack and died at a town meeting. But after the death of the Kennedys a shadow fell upon us from which we have barely crawled out, and Nantucket became the focus of a decadent and dilettante kind of liberalism that seemed from then on defeatist and increasingly nihilistic. It echoes that today.

I would love to see a Jacksonian Democrat run against a Jacksonian Republican in 2016. It would begin to bring our lives under  control. Nothing could be better for America. And it is in the Democrats best interest to do so because really there are two creation myths in America, the one in Boston Harbor and the one at the Alamo. It is not clear which will dominate or if we can and will live in equilibrium, because this is not over. The last time contention erupted strength had come fast to the northeast with industrialization leaving Jackson’s heartland quickly behind. History follows demographics. And this time, as the Manhattan Institute documents, the greater potential for wealth rises in the heartland and the northeast is falling behind.
I see Warren as the best of potential candidates. She is not one who doubts her own worth as Sheryl Sandberg appears to – and perhaps she speaks for the entire Obama generation. She knows her mind. And she did not follow her husband or anyone else to her future. Simply, she is better than Hillary Clinton who is, like her husband, a generational cultural figure instead of a problem solver and politician.

Possibly the most important thing that happened at CPAC 2013 this past week is that Republicans, young and old, proved that they could successfully engage and embrace a new generation. It gives them the great advantage, getting there first,  because soon, MSM will follow. The Democrats must now play catch up at the Republicans had to do when Jackson first showed up in Washington. But if the Republicans can get behind Bush and Rove and the old school and old generations, the Democrats should be able to get behind the Clintons and the Kennedys. They should abandon the Nantucket subculture and start again from scratch with this Jacksonian populist.

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