If you haven’t noticed, Establishment Republicans are using the immigration debate as a hammer to beat down “nativist” (GW Bush’s term) tea partiers and conservatives, but not to win a point as much to drive a nail in the coffin of the entire movement.
Getting rid of the conservative wing of the Republican Party may in fact be the true objective of the GOP in this whole wife-swapping adventure with the Democrats over illegal immigration.
Now, you may think I stand with the tea parties on immigration. Only I don’t. But I do stand with their “standing” to stand taller than the Establishment GOP here. And I believe this right is based on their greater claim to the original brand of the Republican Party.
My views on immigration have always been clear, my litmus test for being here, and eventually becoming a citizen, a simple one:
If an immigrant can kneel down and kiss the ground and bless the name of America, the Constitution and the Founders, I want him here, no matter how he got here. That has to be the first objective of any immigration policy.
If we just want hired hands, try another way. A cheap 10-page guest-worker law will work.
Right now the GOP establishment and Democrats are vying with one another as to whose feet those immigrants should kiss instead of the Flag. And that has me riled.
The simple truth is that only those who possess that original Republican banner can offer immigrants, any immigrants, the stuff he or she needs to “be Americans” (ser Americano). Both the Republican Party and Democrat Party abandoned that in the 19th Century.
Resolving the Unresolvable
Like the Arab-Jew “argument” over the rightful ownership of the Holy Land (both claiming a grant from God, the same God even) the legitimate ownership of the Republican Party belongs to the wing with the 1) greater historical claim to the brand, and 2) the greater staying power and proven effectiveness with that banner.
In the Holy Land we have two intractable parties to a land dispute in which there can be no agreed-upon court to adjudicate. We know how this sort of struggle must eventually end. One has to go. Only then will it be finished. It can only be settled by one side winning, the other side disappearing into the dustbin of history.
The same is true with the GOP today. If you can find grounds for compromise (other than wishful thinking) let me know. My right hand looks like I stuck it in a sausage grinder it has been batted away so many time, as I extended it in collegiality the past five years. I even voted for McCain, fergodssakes, which required a second hand, to hold my nose, and some need of a third.
My statement of the case
Since there can be no court to adjudicate the rightful heirs to the GOP either, I’m not here to offer up a legal argument as to who that rightful owner should be. Rather I’m here to state the case to and for the Conservatives as to why the original Republican brand is theirs, and that they should now either go and take the Party back in their own name, or, alternately, take the banner and form a new one.
Contrary to naysayers, I think it makes very little difference which. If there’s going to be a fight, let it be now. If there’s going to be a walkout, let it be now. The numbers are really in conservatism’s favor, despite what the Karl Roves and GOP deep money pockets say. In the end, money follows power.
Taking the party away from these current usurpers will be a long overdue restoration, and quite frankly, couldn’t come at a better time.
Everyone wants harmony and happy endings, I know, so I wish I could be more accommodating, but quite frankly, when Romney’s loss was laid at the feet of conservatives who refused to vote for him (which I seriously doubt), it’s now clear that the GOP Establishment has decided to get rid of the conservative wing; the Christians, the Pro-Lifers, the farmers, small business, the rubes, the un-hip and unsophisticated.
The GOP establishment lives under the misguided belief that it either can 1) go it alone, or 2) as long as there is a Left the conservatives will always vote the lesser of two evils, even as “lesser” continues to become more cloudy.
You see, when you get rid of 75% of your party’s voting base, without any hope of replacing it, the only other place the core GOP Establishment can go for safe haven is to be melded into the larger party, as junior partners. This is the probable strategy of the GOP today;
…sanctuary, based entirely on matters of class, economic station and the perquisites of power.
In short, being junior partners to the Democrats in a hereditary ruling class is preferable to having to roll up one’s sleeves and go back to the days of great grandmama and great grandpapa, and start felling trees and clearing land all over again, and worse, hob-knobbing with dirty, sweaty farmers and shop workers.
This reaction is also in accordance with their nature, so remember: don’t get angry at #cottonmouths for being #cottonmouths. The Republican Party has been slowly seething over all those unkempt people coming around for dinner since Ronald Reagan first invited them over in 1981. “At least they could have the decency to come around to the back door, so the neighbors won’t see.”
About those sweaty farmers, Blacks, and the GOP Brand
The Doctrine of Liberty
I bring this up to point out that the GOP Establishment’s claim of supremacy within the Party rises or falls on its legitimacy to carry that original Party banner, which was all about those sweaty farmers and shopkeepers, not to mention those newly emancipated slaves.
The Doctrine of Liberty is that original Republican banner.
There has been two Republican Parties since the 1870s at least, one for Liberty, the other for Wealth, (not to be confused with free markets.) I hereby claim the Doctrine of Liberty as the older banner of the two, as well as the one that represents the far larger number of Americans (not just current Republicans) and the one that has the greater chance of actually growing the Party in size in the future. This “meets and surpasses” all requirements for legitimacy.
I claim for the part of the Party that has paid in blood, sweat and tears the right to claim it. I claim for the inclusive Republican Party, not the exclusive one. I claim for the Party of the American Doctrine of Liberty instead the American Doctrine of Class.
George William Curtis, who most of you have never heard of, was a co-founder of the Republican Party in 1856. He wrote platform policy for John C Fremont when no one knew who Abraham Lincoln was.
Although the philosophical deepest of the early Republicans, Curtis would have been considered a Tea Partier today, for he was unbending about the purposes of the Constitution and its transcendental value for all mankind. Curtis, like the Founding Fathers, sided with the aspirations of the common men and women of America, the same sort of people his own American ancestors were (The Roosevelts and Rockefellers both started out as farmers, too.). Curtis gratefully acknowledged the strength of the shoulders he stood on, the lack of which is most notable among most Establishment Republicans.
In 1862, George William Curtis delivered his “Doctrine of Liberty” address to the Phi beta Kappa Society at Harvard (yep, that Phi Beta Kappa and that Harvard), on behalf of President Lincoln, who was encouraging support for the Emancipation Proclamation.
In it, he laid out the intellectual foundations for the purpose of American education that would last another thirty years in academe, and in public schools, nearly one hundred.
(This speech cannot be found on the internet, but I have a copy, which I’ll be happy to email to you by Word Doc if you’ll just send an email address to firstname.lastname@example.org)
I highlighted that sentence because most people have forgotten that before the Republican Party was the party of low taxes (the “small government” plank came much later) it was the party of Liberty. That was its first banner, and the banner under which thousands of homesteads and farmcots sent their sons and husbands to free a race of people they had never seen.
Not wealth-production, not business, low taxes, a strong military defense, but the fundamental dignity of man and liberty, the individual right to pursue life and happiness…fueled by a strong belief in God…did those men fight and die.
The GOP’s Second Coming
Of course the fabric of America would change with the Industrial Revolution that would bring millions of emigrant workers to our shores, and with it untold wealth to many men who would be there, firstest with the mostest, to stake claims in mining and transportation, laying the foundation for the nation that would later achieve the title “The Engine of Democracy.” At one time just a handful of them would claim over a quarter of the entire US economy.
You gotta give them credit for what they achieved, too. But they were businessmen, not philosophers (as Ayn Rand always dreamt.) Some were pretty sorry apples, but most were good men. John D Rockefeller tithed a full 10% til the day he died. And they all understood power and its exercise. So they selected politicians who would protect their interests, and since the Republican Party was the big he-bull in Washington after the Civil War, they chose Republicans. Big business was their philosophical doctrine. “Small Business” would be a term their great grandchildren would encounter, and many, even today, none too kindly.
So in some respects they were naive politicians, in that they saw the Constitution as a social Darwinist contract that rewarded the winners and left the losers to their own devices, with really very few options at the time. Go to the old Soviet Bloc today, with their new rich, and you will see this belief writ large, only they are less inclined to think God handpicked them for their good fortune.
So these first Republican deep pockets were not much into the handshake between the man at the top of the hill and the fellow down at the bottom. That would come later, on the back of the next generation of entrepreneurs, in applied technology, Henry Ford, Edison, Bell, and manufacturing and retail, John Sears, all of who spawned the first real small business expansion in America. None ever not got a single handshake from the original barons of wealth creation.
The black tie Republicans maintained their high political station until after WWII, when the east coast was still solidly part of the old Republican Establishment, even though the real politics of America had moved far away from their clubs and drawing rooms. By 1948 they had become a parody, when Truman beat Dewey.
Still, they control the GOP…with money.
So, with the Doctrine of Liberty abandoned, what else can the modern GOP Establishment claim as its banner? Yes, it was the party of low taxes, but if you’ll check, it lost out on tax policy around 1913, Reagan having cut rates more in 1986 than in all the previous Republican administrations since Coolidge. And the philosophy of “small government” was Reagan’s, with a little help from Coolidge, and of course, the Founders. Finally, a strong national defense and anti-communism were the progeny of Russell Kirk, William Rusher and William F Buckley Jr in the 1950s, since the Republicans were largely isolationists until December 8, 1941.
So, whatever else the original rich ruling class country club Republicans were, they were lousy at governance for all the people. From 1865 until 1900 the only non-hand-picked conservative in the White House was the Democrat Grover Cleveland, who was so good at conservatism the Democrat Party was split asunder and restructured in 1896 into the leftwing party it has become today. All that held it back was the Doctrine of Liberty at the grass roots.
(Conservatives might wish to study how that that Democrat Party transition took place, for within a decade, those new-and-improved Democrats controlled our government entirely, and have since, except for that brief hiatus with Reagan. Although Dems have been in an out of power several times, they have always controlled the argument except on national defense, and no Republican, except for Reagan, ever stepped forward to reclaim the field at the national level for the original party banner, the Doctrine of Liberty.)
In summary, by 1900 the Doctrine of Liberty had been expelled from the major colleges and universities in the East, replaced by the euro-centric class-based doctrines of Hegel and Marx, brought here by the very children of those wealthy businessmen who thought their children would be better served to study abroad. (Euro penis envy.)
Socialism had been introduced as if it were a new song from Tin Pan Alley or a new Paris fashion. It was introduced the same way for another 30-50 years to the rest of higher education in America. You can still see the “in-group” look on Occupy kid’s faces today, just as it was at the University of Illinois in 1931, or the University of Kentucky in 1964.
But public schools in America, mainly because they were controlled by the local taxpayers, held to the Doctrine of Liberty, even through the FDR years, into the Vietnam War era, when finally the iron grip of federal money engulfed them.
The Doctrine of Liberty still lives on, especially in those who were lucky enough (like Thomas Sowell, who was “lucky enough to be schooled before affirmative action”) to be grounded in the Doctrine in late 50s and early 60s, before it was kicked out.
Today, they are called the Tea Party, the last repository of George William Curtis’ Doctrine of Liberty.
The people of the Doctrine, also called Conservatives, have always been there to stop any apparent threat, with or without the Republican Party. They rallied to beat Obama in 2010. They rushed to the barricades to elect George W Bush to prevent a continuation of the Clinton brothel, and just in time it seems. Sadly, it was only this week that I learned the President Bush never knew just who it was that put him into office in the first place.
It’s time this nonsense is ended.
The Republican Party establishment hasn’t had its fingerprint on the Doctrine of Liberty in over 130 years. Still, that’s what kept the Leftism of the Democrats from consuming America in the Wilson era, the Roosevelt era, and into the modern era. It is still alive, despite several attempts on its life.
The Doctrine of Liberty is the ideological heart of the original Republican Party. If you want to expose Barack Obama as the small-minded pseudo-intellectual he is, just take the philosophical constructs of the Constitution one level deeper using the Doctrine, and all Obama will be able to do is mumble.
I’m no fan of third parties, but quite frankly, the prospect doesn’t frighten me, for the natural constituency of the Doctrine of Liberty is 70% of the current Republican Party but also easily 40% of the Democrat Party. Yes, I mean their client base. I already stated (above) what the political basis for immigration should be. Well, imagine going into the inner city with the promise that “We’re going to get you out, no more more drugs, no more gangs, no more organizers. Here’s the ladder.”
It will take some work, but we already know this is a place the GOP doesn’t want to dirty their hands.
Demographically, the GOP Establishment is strongest where it is already a minority, in the old GOP strongholds of the east and urban centers. GOP Establishment types like to hang out at courthouses, municipal buildings and state GOP headquarters, and never on street corners, so really have no chance of getting larger. Why should we worry if we’re going to lose half of the votes in blue states we’re going to lose anyway, especially if we can, over time, take twice as many away from the Democrats?
And in Red states, where the Democrats have strategies ongoing, such as the Colorado Project, just how long can the fifty or so really dedicated McCain supporters in Arizona keep that state from turning Blue? Just how many people really want to cozy up to a powerless John McCain? What kind of army could he lead into a new permanent-minority Republican Party? Or his whelp-dog Spot in South Carolina?
I’m sure the GOP is made up of some fine people originally. But we also know the system that pervades the Party once they enter Congress or the front office of GOP state and national headquarters; they are seduced and threatened, always with money or lack of it, and that money is tied to virtually every vote. It’s a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, just give the handlers time.
So, like McCain, just where will GOP money interests go if we walk out? Will they really go to Democrats? The Left?
Will America’s epitaph actually read “Death by Skinflint” ?
Personally, I like our chances, for one, because the people with the money can also read the numbers. If they want to join that gaggle of fascist, crony-capitalists, they can. But I’ll wager most won’t, once they see how things roll out.
Obama has declared himself, and the final scenes of his script are far worse than the one I just proposed. So, let’s take the Doctrine of Liberty and turn into a Doctrine of Emancipation. Only the Doctrine can prevail against this evil wind. At least the political death will be honorable
Shake the dust of the current GOP off your shoes. Either form a third party, or declare yourselves and cry, “Lay on, and damned be him who first cries “Hold enough.”
Drop the Tea Party moniker and become the Liberty or Conservative Caucus.
But first, wrap yourselves in the original Republican brand and you will see several ways forward to accomplish either.
Me? I want to live to see the next Conservative president elected, because if I don’t, neither my children nor my grandchildren will either.
Publications: Famous Common People I Have Known and Other Essays
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