In making preparations to run for President, the latest Bush (Jeb, in case you missed it) told the press that he looked forward to having some “adult conversations” about what needs to happen in Washington, DC to break gridlock and “solve” the various problems America faces. He cast aspersions, of course, on Tea Party activists and others he believes are too stupid or, what appears to be the same thing to Mr. Bush, committed to principles, to act like “adults.” Sadly, it is not surprising that this latest member of the Bush “dynasty” would think of himself as among the few adults in the room because the dumb kids actually believe that we are supposed to have what the drafters of our Constitution wrote into law: a political system designed to promote low-level conflict and prevent governmental overreach, to demand consensus and limit the powers of elites to legislate their own priorities over the objections of a people long devoted to running their own lives in their own communities, associations, and states. Having through hard work and talent been born into the right family, Jeb Bush believes he has the right and perhaps even the duty to continue a line of failed Republican presidencies devoted to managing the welfare and administrative state more efficiently than the Democrats.
One certainly can see where Mr. Bush would get his delusions of manifest destiny. After all, his father, who made fun of Ronald Reagan (you know, the fellow who cut taxes and won the Cold War), showed his superiority by raising taxes, losing the post-Cold War, and helping elect a hillbilly con man as his successor. His brother proved nothing so much as the long-term damage done to the reasoning and speaking faculties by cocaine use. Then again, he also invaded the wrong country, twice, in his search for enemies, spent like a drunken (or coked up) sailor, and helped elect our first openly socialist President.
None of this is to say that only Bushes are capable of running America. Jeb Bush’s prospects this year have been made brighter, we are told, because another “adult in the room” has dropped out of the race. Mitt Romney showed last time around that the American people can, in fact, spot a heartless automaton, and will in fact refuse to vote for the model of vulture capitalism even if they otherwise vote a straight Republican ticket and even if the other option is our first openly socialist President.
M. Bush does not have a lock on the nomination, or even on the much-vaunted “establishment” vote/ money. He still has to contend with Chris Christie, who proves that even an empty suit can have a very nasty disposition and perhaps with Marco Rubio, who has shown that even a son of Cuban immigrants can sell out his political principles to agribusiness.
The real issue here, of course, is the power of a relatively small number of powerful “donors” in the Republican primaries. Recent reports have emphasized that part of the strength of these silk-stocking Republicans stems from their consistent one-third support in overwhelmingly Democratic states. They cannot possibly win an election in their own areas, let alone nationwide. But they still can have an influence on Republican primaries. One would not want to overstate the “liberalness” of, for example, all Republicans in New York. The Evil Empire State actually has quite a few conservatives in its outer regions, completely ignored by the plutocracy in New York City. What makes the establishment important and dangerous is money and the influence it buys among the liberal press (which is happy to help automatons gain the Republican nomination, then turn on them in the general election) and among Republican political operatives.
There is an unfortunate tendency among some Republicans to take the natural and proper respect a free people should have for those who succeed in any honorable enterprise to the point of believing that the ability to make money makes one politically savvy, principled, and honest. One would think the party’s rotten overlords would have disabused all of us of that delusion long ago, for they cannot even win elections. Remember Bob Dole and John McCain? Both men proved that one can be a war hero and yet be both personally unpleasant and politically feckless. Oh, and basically liberal.
This last element, liberal opinion, is one from which the Republican establishment continues to run away—well, walk at any rate. The latest attempt is repetition of the claim that they and their minions (excuse me, “donees”) represent the “center right” in America. The term is perfect, actually, because it has long been used to describe European parties that seek to run European social welfare and administrative states slightly more efficiently than their socialist adversaries.
Republicans have an opportunity, in looking for a 2016 presidential candidate, to choose someone who actually is not a creature of the donor class. Of course, that class donates nothing; its members purchase. They maintain a solid grip on the Republican Party in Congress and have shown time and again that they hold in contempt people who seek smaller government, greater freedom, and a return to traditional American values. Thus, John Boehner takes the long knives to conservatives who dared oppose his right to serve as Speaker, but nothing to members who derailed the same pro-life legislation his party supposedly has supported for decades. Furthermore, Mitch McConnell spends more time and money going after actual conservatives than putting forward solutions for America’s problems—unless, that is, you think continued maintenance of an underclass of semi-legal aliens, continued subsidies for big business, and massive bailouts to save bankers’ art collections in the Hamptons count as solutions.
It is long past time for middle-class Americans from Main Street to stop allowing arrogant hypocrites from Wall Street and K Street to fool them with the same old bait-and-switch on social issues, then mock them all the way to the bank. Ours should not be a nation of dynasties, let alone a ruling class. It need not be either, if the people will simply refuse to pay attention to false promises of “electability” and recognize that even if the self-anointed adults “win,” they will not be “our” party in government, but their own.
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