Saturday, December 08, 2007
Ends Against the Middle
Are the Democrats really the party of the rich? Well, they certainly are the party of the plutocratic chatterers, from Robert Rubin to George Soros on the east coast, to David Geffen and the Googlers on the west coast. Meanwhile, in the heartland, Warren Buffett holds lonely liberal court.
And they all, of course, read The New York Times, still a rich man’s publication, even if the Sulzbergers themselves are fading fast. Yes, plenty of rich Republicans remain, but even among their ranks, many of the old GOP dynasties—Rockefeller, Heinz, Harriman—are now notably Democratic.
The phenomenon of limousine liberals has been around since the 60s—ever since the Ford Foundation started funding radical multiculturalists, ever since Leonard Bernstein hosted a fundraiser for the Black Panthers, ever since rich liberals such as Teddy Kennedy embraced forced busing while sending their own kids to private schools. In 2005 Michael Barone took note of “the trustfunder left”; the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, voted 70 percent for John Kerry, while on the other coast, Kerry picked up 73 percent of the Martha’s Vineyard vote. In addition, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee won such rich-nomad spots as Aspen, Sun Valley, and Boulder.
On November 5 of this year, The Heritage Foundation’s Michael Franc, op-ed-ing in The Financial Times, calculated that Democrats now represent the majority of the nation’s wealthiest Congressional districts. “More than half of the wealthiest households are concentrated in the 18 states where Democrats control both Senate seats,” Franc observed—which would include, of course, such obviously affluent states as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, and Washington.
Franc’s findings provoked a furious reaction. “Silly New Wingnut Meme: Democrats Are The ‘Party Of The Rich’” headlined TalkingPointsMemo.com; DailyKos.com was similarly nasty. Those two liberal websites, of course, are more notable for their Democratic partisanship than for any consistently lefty ideology. And so naturally, those two sites sought to inoculate the Democrats from the charge that they are now belong to bloggers and billionaires—that being precisely the thesis of Matt Bai’s recent book, The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers, and the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics.
Bai is a reporter for The New York Times, and that’s probably the only reason he got close enough to his subjects to hear them refer to evangelical Christians as “lizardheads” who live in “Dumbf__istan.” To be sure, Democrats have no monopoly on arrogance or asperity, but it is a Democratic Congress, now, that is showing no interest in closing the obvious capital-gains loophole that benefits hedge funders, of the type that hired John Edwards.
Meanwhile, journalists have made the same point as Franc: This is The Wall Street Journal, from November 16: “Affluent Voters Switch Brands/Stands on 'So-Called Moral Issues' Prove Costly for Republicans.” And here’s a headline from The Huffington Post—speaking of rich-Republicans-turned-rich-Democrats—from November 25: “Fortune 500 CEOs Favor Dems: Gobs Of Green Go To Blue Candidates.” Indeed, in their unguarded moments, even partisan Democrats seem giddy with their gilt; I found this August 21 headline, “Democrats Outraise Republicans 2-to-1,” on the website of the Democratic National Committee.
Of course, it can’t really be said that the Democrats are the party of the richest of the rich—because they have the poorest of the poor, too. From East LA to the Rio Grande Valley to the Deep South, donkeys rule.
So that’s the dual reality: The Democrats are safe in Manhattan and Beverly Hills, but they also rule among the poor. Look at Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton—they themselves are poor, right?
So what, pray tell, do Barbra Streisand and Charlie Rangel actually agree on? Probably only this: The Americans in between them, the Middle Americans, are the common enemy. In* this reckoning, small towns and suburbia are subtly racist—except when they are overtly racist—toward people of color. And everybody on the port side of politics knows that “family values” is thinly disguised code for sexual repression and homophobia.
In fact, the normal, historic pattern of small “d” democratic politics is for the very rich and the very poor to ally themselves against the bourgeoisie. The poor look up at the working stiff of a foreman and see the hated Simon Legree. The rich look down the social ladder and see nothing but Babbitts and other small-minded reactionaries, who might well be pro-life.
For their part, the Republicans might as well get used to their new status as the middle class party. Being the party of the rich is good for fundraising, being the party of the poor is good for invoking moral authority—plus provoking the occasional riot—but being the party of the Silent Majority is the best for winning elections.
Published in the 12/17/07 issue of The American Conservative.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
THE SCHWARZENEGGER DOCTRINE
News item, October 27, 2007:
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today spoke of the arsonists who set killer brushfire blazes in California: “We will hunt down the people that are responsible for that.” In addition, Schwarzenegger expressed special thanks to President George W. Bush for “being such a tremendous partner.”
Future news item, c. 2008:
In a major policy shift, Gov. Schwarzenegger today announced that he was no longer actively pursuing the arsonists, believed hiding in Nevada, who had devastated California last year and caused billions of dollars in property damage. “I know I pledged to ‘terminate’ those arsonists, but now we have new priorities. History summons us in a different direction. Our intelligence experts have identified even greater arson threats to California, as well as to our friends and neighbors. So now we must act immediately against grave and gathering threats, which could be launched at any time by remorseless pyromaniacs who hate us for no reason.”
Schwarzenegger, who early in his gubernatorial career seemed uncomfortable with soaring rhetoric, is now confidently using lofty language to describe the enemies of the Golden State. In particular, he has identified three states—Kansas, Nebraska, and Vermont—which form, he says, the “axis of ignition,” guilty of “state-sponsored pyromania.” Now, he continues, this axis poses an even greater danger than last year’s arsonists. And the danger could grow worse: “If these state-sponsors could gain access to WMC (‘weapons of mass conflagration,’) the fires of October 2007 would look, by comparison, like backyard barbeques.”
In the past, Schwarzenegger had warned, “Those who could become arsonists in the future are as bad as those who committed arson in the past.” More recently, the governor’s Sacramento-based “brain trust” enunciated a new policy agenda, which some dub “The Schwarzenegger Doctrine,” calling for “pre-emption” of fire-starting state governments across the US.
But Schwarzenegger insists that low-level enforcement efforts will continue in Nevada, where Golden State police agents are working with local authorities to apprehend suspected arsonist cells within in the Silver State. However, most analysts believe that the leading arsonists have fled even further, into the badlands of Utah. But Schwarzenegger dismisses any continuing danger from the 2007 arsonists, wherever they might be: “We have those arsonists on the run; they are ineffective, hiding in canyons. The real danger, now, comes from the ‘axis of ignition.’”
In particular, Schwarzenegger has singled out Kansas, led by Democratic governor Kathleen Sebelius. Schwarzenegger, a Republican, told reporters, “The weapons of mass conflagration that we know she is hiding could cause enormous damage in California.” Reminded that Sebelius says she does not possess such weapons, Schwarzenegger shot back: “OK, let her prove that she is not hiding WMC in Kansas.”
Schwarzenegger refuses to negotiate directly with Sebelius, but he has been persuaded to work with the National Governors Association (NGA), issuing demands to the Sunflower State—demands that neutral analysts equate to full surrender. And yet as those NGA negotiations drag on, Schwarzenegger says, “Time is running out.”
The California governor is believed to be preparing a pre-emptive strike against WMC sites in Kansas, with or without the NGA. Schwarzenegger is developing a “coalition of the willing”—including Indiana, Rhode Island, and Delaware—as allies in possible joint action against Kansas.
However, Schwarzenegger denies that any action is imminent. “Violence is our last resort.” But, he adds, “While I have no war plans on my desk, nothing is off the table.” He continues, “Kansans have just as much right to live their lives free from fire as Californians.”
Some have expressed concern about Schwarzenegger’s policy, fearing possible chaos in the Sunflower State. But Schwarzenegger dismisses those worries—“We are planning carefully for every possibility”—reminding Californians of the stakes as he sees them: “If you saw what I saw, the fires burning, from Malibu to San Diego, you would understand the need to take this fight to the enemy. We will make Kansas the central front in our war against fire—not that I have made any final decision about Operation Kansas Freedom.”
In fact, some Schwarzenegger advisers speak grandly of a “Greater Midwest Initiative,” to transform fire-usage across Middle America.
In other late-breaking developments, Schwarzenegger denied reports that he was building a secret prison site for suspected arsonists in Humboldt County. “That’s nonsense. We have all the prison space we need, now that we have re-opened Alcatraz and can give arson suspects the punishment—I mean, fair trials—that they deserve.”
Meanwhile, the Schwarzenegger administration brushes off reports of infiltration, into California, from Mexico. “There’s no danger to the south,” said a spokesman, “only folks coming across the border who need our help. Compassion does not stop at the Salton Sea.” The adviser added, “The Governor is looking east, laser-like, to the real threat—Kansas.”
Reprinted from the 11/19/07 issue of The American Conservative.
Posted by James P. Pinkerton at Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
I have created the Sovereignty Caucus and the American Sovereignty Caucus, as both blogs here on blogspot and as groups on Facebook. Everyone who shares my enthusiasm for protecting American Sovereignty--and by extension, the sovereignty of all law-abiding nations--is welcome to join one or both of these groups.
Monday, October 22, 2007
This is the cover art for my piece, "The Once and Future Christendom," which appeared in the September 10, 2007 issue of The American Conservative.
Those interested in the geopolitical prescription herein might wish to join me at "The Council of the West" group on Facebook.com