The Heart (and Spleen) of Conservatism
posted at 4:40 pm on May 30, 2009 by The Other McCain
My Nietzschean friend Richard Spencer attempts to explain the seemingly inexplicable:
The term “Jacksonian Conservative,” coined by Walter Russell Meade, remains . . . quite useful for categorizing a certain type of Republican voter, many of whom, like Old Hickory, descend from the legendarily sanguine and splenic line of Scots-Irish. A “JacksonCon” doesn’t give a fig about “democracy promotion” or “nation-building,” but after 9/11, he wanted to go over to the Middle East and kick ass. He might try to make time for the Permanent Things on occasion, but mainly he likes attacking lily-livered liberals.
If you’re still not sure who a JacksonCon is, I present to you Mr. Robert Stacy McCain. He’s a guy who can’t keep quiet about his recognition that the Iraq War was a ruinous fiasco—but then just to make sure you don’t think he’s an antiwar wussy or anything, suggests we engage in an equally insane campaign in Cuba for the simple reason that it’s … uh … much easier to get to. This is havin’ a “nuanced” foreign policy—Stacy McCain style!
This is just basic strategy, Richard: Cuba is 90 miles from Key West. It is an island, and no power on earth could challenge U.S. naval supremacy in the Caribbean. So if the Marines had to fight Marxist resistance, at least there would be the certainty that the guerrillas could receive no reinforcement or support from abroad, as has been the case with our foes in Aghanistan and Iraq, and was the case in Vietnam and Korea.
Beyond the geopolitical arguments — to say nothing of the vision of young Marines enjoying their R&R smoking Cohibas and sipping pina coladas with the senoritas beneath the swaying palms in Havana — I think Spencer has put his finger on the essential divide between many grassroots conservatives and the GOP elite. The grassroots are not philosophically conservatives so much as they are temperamentally conservative.
It may be helpful, in explaining this, to address a question I’ve been asked a few times recently: “Why are you writing for that vicious anti-Semite, Taki Theodoracopulos?” Well, for starters, I have never met Taki and suspect that his enemies understand him no better than they understand me — and the same enemies who denounce Taki have also denounced Rush Limbaugh, David Horowitz, Michelle Malkin and many others. Very little of what I’ve written for Taki has been political. Richard Spencer is a friend of mine, whom I met when we were both on a panel discussing the Duke rape hoax. Richard was a Duke graduate student during that episode and is therefore a young man thoroughly familiar with the vicious lunatic dishonesty of the Left.
So if Taki and Spencer are willing to pay money to a proud philo-Semite, the (hypothetical) first Gentile prime minister of Israel, then this must be viewed as evidence that Taki’s “anti-Semitism” is something akin to my alleged status as a “neo-Confederate lesbian” — one of those rumors too good to deny:
“With enough courage, you can do without a reputation,” as Rhett told Scarlett, and the “black-hearted varmint” was right. Once you’ve become a living scandal, there is a tremendous liberation to be had by ceasing to care what people say about you. This surely explains Kathy Shaidle’s fiddle-de-dee attitude toward Canada’s “human rights” commissars.
“If you want people to respect you, never ever apologize for who you are or where you are from.”
The defensive, apologetic instinct that urges conservatives to shrink from fighting over the Sotomayor nomination is not the kind of l’esprit de la guerre that shouts, “De l’audace, encore de l’audace, et toujours de l’audace.”
President Obama seems to be trying to do what no conservative leader of the past 20 years has been able to do: Re-unite the Reagan Coalition.
Ignore his poll numbers, his soothingly sonorous baritone and his “smooth, impeccable, sophisticated” image, and it is obvious that Obama is the most radical major American political figure of our lifetime. He is a latter-day Huey Long, if the infamous Louisiana demagogue had been a half-Kenyan community organizer with a Harvard Law education, a teleprompter and influential friends in the media (including “The Republicans Who Really Matter“).
An investigative journalist told me Thursday that if he “could work 24 hours a day” it wouldn’t be enough to report all the misdeeds being perpetrated by Obama and the Democrats. “They’re flooding the zone right now,” he said, referring to the Democrats’ massive tsunami of policy initiatives, abuses of power and shady dealings.
There is no point in reporting such stuff if, every time any conservative states his opposition to the Obama agenda — as when Rush Limbaugh spoke The Four Words No One Is Allowed to Say About Obama, “I hope he fails” — he is immediately denounced by prissy Republicans who condemn him for not pursuing the Politics of Niceness.
What conservatives need now is courage, not etiquette lectures from the Stuart Smalley wing of the GOP. Obama respects those useless weaklings about like Moe Green respected Fredo Corleone — and in this, if in nothing else, Obama’s judgment is impeccable.
Am I a “Jacksonian Conservative”? Heh. I never even heard of Walter Russell Meade until I saw his name in Spencer’s column. Labels are a distraction. At this point, it doesn’t matter if you’re a neocon or a paleocon, a libertarian or a Christian conservative. It doesn’t matter if your motto is “Live Free Or Die” or “Don’t F*** With Me.” What matters is whether you are willing to fight against the Obama agenda. (Starts with an “s,” ends with an “m,” and I don’t mean “sarcasm.”)
Call me what you will. I prefer to think of myself as a hunk of burnin’ love.
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