Night of the Yeoman
posted at 1:37 am on June 24, 2010 by Doctor Zero
There are two Republican parties, and both had a candidate on the 2008 presidential ticket. John McCain was the candidate of the thin-blooded aristocracy, tired men who dislike certain elements of their nominal constituency far more intensely than their political opposition. They have no strenuous objection to the premises of the Left, as could be seen from McCain’s swift acceptance of the freedom-has-failed spin pushed by the Democrats during the 2008 financial crisis. Many of them believe opposition to the Left’s emotional narrative is electoral suicide. This also makes them reluctant to criticize Democrat candidates in harsh terms… which they have no reluctance to deploy against conservative primary opponents. They might speak up against its worst excesses, but they have no serious argument with the basic concept of Big Government – remember “National Greatness Conservatism?” They offer themselves as wiser, perhaps slightly more frugal drivers of the vast federal sandworm. They invest great effort in cultivating relationships with the dinosaur media, which they perceive as an irresistible force dominating American politics. They always look honestly surprised when these relationships disintegrate at crucial moments during national campaigns.
The other Republican party is young and vital. On the 2008 ticket, its banner was carried by Sarah Palin. It’s the yeoman wing of the party, composed of people with middle-class backgrounds and real-world business experience. These people are appalled at the bloated mess in Washington, and the smaller but equally fatal tumors infecting many state capitols. They see a government speeding toward systemic collapse, its doom spelled out in the simple math of unsustainable entitlements and economy-crushing taxation. They’re in love with the American people, a sincere passion that rings from every speech Palin delivers. Their idealism and energy leads them to stumble occasionally, and some veteran political operatives of the old Republican gentry are eager to give them a firm shove from behind. They correctly view the dinosaur media as an implacable opponent, and sometimes waste energy complaining about it… but the evolution of Palin’s media presence demonstrates they are learning to control the media, instead of fighting it.
The yeoman wing of the Republican Party had a very good night on Tuesday. Nikki Haley strode with dignity across the puddle of sleaze leaking from the old party machine in South Carolina, with Tim Scott right beside her, while long-term incumbent Bob Inglis was annihilated by movement conservative Trey Gowdy. Mike Lee won a much narrower, but still significant, victory in Utah.
These candidates share important New Right endorsements from Palin, Jim DeMint, and the Tea Party movement. Most of Tuesday’s primary winners have also signed the new Contract With America, a sign of both intellectual consistency and honesty with the electorate. This country has had more than enough of candidates who reveal their agenda after election, through bills that must be passed to discover their contents. The yeoman Republicans understand that building a consensus, through honest discussion with voters, is essential to carrying out the difficult work ahead. It won’t be enough to slip into office with a one percent margin of victory, then settle for the best legislation that can be trundled through Congress without giving The New York Times a stroke.
The new Republicans are horrified not only at the mind-blowing cost of Big Government, but also its shocking incompetence. They’re watching colleague Bobby Jindal fight a courageous battle against a confused, corrupt federal apparatus that has become worse than useless in the race to defend the Gulf Coast. Jindal is often dismissed for delivering a clumsy speech at the dawn of his national career, but the yeoman Republicans understand something the rest of their country is slowly realizing: leadership has little to do with impressing pundits and scoring well at Washington parlor games. The current occupant of the Oval Office had a finely drafted political resume, stuffed with empty “achievements” that qualified him to do nothing except demand money and power. The horrifying inadequacy of such hollow men is on display off the coast of Louisiana. Good thing we didn’t get saddled with a president who isn’t entirely occupied with “transforming” an unwilling populace, or a vice president who actually knows something about oil drilling!
Federal and state governments are riddled with people like Barack Obama, producing a system completely focused on feeding itself, and too bloated to take effective action. It is almost completely insulated from consequence. Its wits are dulled by its perceived lack of budgetary or behavioral restrictions. Its deconstruction will require the conviction and charisma of Sarah Palin, the brilliance of Bobby Jindal, the courage of New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and the enthusiasm of the primary winners from Tuesday night. The American people should no longer settle for representatives whose resumes contain nothing but political accomplishments – as if those are somehow worth a damn compared to private-sector experience. It took a lot of accomplished politicians to engineer a government with over a hundred trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities.
Transforming a population is relatively easy – government policies in America have been doing it for decades, to the ruin of their subjects. Transforming the State is a far more difficult proposition. The victors in the November elections will win front-line positions in the greatest economic, cultural, and political struggle of our lifetimes. Their challenge will be to reintroduce concepts like due process, Constitutional restraint, and fiscal responsibility to a public grown accustomed to suspending all of those things, during a never-ending string of “emergencies.” They’ll have to explain why “freedom” is not a careful bargain with unlimited state power, and why markets are not “free” when the State has the power to revoke anyone’s presence in them, whenever it sees fit. They will be tasked with teaching an increasingly dependent population that no society can survive for long by devouring itself. There will be no room on the front lines for tired old men whose primary concern is negotiating a good price for their surrender.
Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.