2016 Election, Conservatism, Dona;ld Trump, Media, Republican Party Establishment

Rush Limbaugh and the End of the Ancien Regime in America

The “Ancien Regime” was the name given to the French dynasties from the 15th Century until the monarchy was thrown down by the French Revolution in 1787. It was a bloody and cruel affair, producing a Bonaparte instead of democratic institutions, which the French still don’t seem to have grasped wholly even today. By comparison, the Catholic monarchies of England were thrown down almost bloodlessly, with only a beheading or two, resulting in the Glorious Revolution in 1688, replaced by a constitutional monarchy of William and Mary, under the stewardship of a full blown Parliament.

As in almost all things civilized, the Brits were usually years ahead of the French, compare the barbaric Jacqurie revolt in France followed some years later by a more organized Peasants Revolt in England, led by an intriguing man named Wat Tyler. That revolt too was put down, only it didn’t fail…

“…the law was the peasant’s prison” (Barbara Tuchman)

…for the founding of America was an indirect result 200 years later. I think God chose to bring civilization to America through England instead of France or Spain all because of the higher-classed common man the Magna Carta had produced.

                                     The Ancien Regime in America is about to fall.

I don’t think most Americans really understand just how severe that fall may be felt in many areas of our society, especially among those who orbit around the halls of power in Washington and New York.

Some things already have fallen only they don’t know it. High among those things is the Republican Party. That name is as useless as “Whigs” was in the 1860 election. It means nothing because it stands for nothing other than itself, armed only with a drawer full of platitudes made golden by near-forgotten and rarely- mentioned heroes like Lincoln and Reagan, and traipsed out only once in a blue moon around election time, much like the Indian tapestries in the Great Hall at Dartmouth, when their rich alumni come to town.

Oh, the GOP has a real brand, the “Doctine of Liberty”, from 1863, which it buried away by the late 1800s. But it was held close to the hearts of the people into the 1960s, when they finally lost control of their schools. Most of the over-55 voters for Trump today are graduates from those times, and possibly the last of our species.

This election will decide if this is so with finality, one way or the other.

And depending on how the more intransigent members of the Ancien Regime behave if they lose this election, the Republican Party even may be rejoined with its original brand, with a shiny, newly-painted shingle adorning a new RNC headquarters somewhere a little safer distance from Washington.

But the old GOP, the one the media has spoken about with so much concern about its health lately, once Donald Trump came on the scene…that GOP is dead. No matter what. No amount of media (mefia, according to Larry Schweikart) intervention can keep that corpse alive.

And in the sense of the falling, the main stream media is also dead in the hearts of Americans, only the media doesn’t care so long as it can dwell in the hearts of the political establishment and spread fear among them. It doesn’t matter to the media that it is feared or revered by the political class, just so long as they remain the self-appointed gate-keepers who can keep a person from attaining office, or destroy that person once in office.

The true measure of Donald Trump’s impact on the survival of the entire Ancien Regime is that the media has thrown overboard all pretense of objectivity and truth, in both the factual sense, as well as the cosmic sense of “fealty to country”, in trying to keep this outsider out. Marxism, fascism, call it what you may, “we’re for it” so long as we stay in orbit around it, guarding the gates.

To some degree, win or lose, Donald Trump has already succeeded in deposing the media. Already in the shallow end of a shallow pool in believability among the public, viewed or read by fewer and fewer people than ever before, they are also sinking into irrelevance. No one, save the political class, pays any attention to them anymore. So this election is also the  media’s “Flight 93 election”; they sink or swim with the survival of the ancient regime.

And they will still be around even if Trump wins, only in a drip-drip-drip sinking back into the days when John Cameron Swayze headlined a 30-minute reading of the news on an undecorated sound stage. This is their natural station in a free republic. After Trump, no amount of scoops about lewd conduct by the Enemy Administration, or its successors, will gain it even a moderate news share bump  outside of Manhattan. The Mets and Jets will draw more viewers, and advertisers will abandon the industry wholesale, and feminine care products will replace General Motors as NBC News’ new sponsors.

So long conservative media, too.

But as the main stream media goes, so will go the need for a strong, multi-faceted media menagerie to defend us against this evil the Ancien Regime had once been. The enemy vanquished, old soldiers go home and hang up their swords. This is the part the younger privateering conservatives don’t understand. This was always a war that had to end, with either a win or a loss. It couldn’t go on forever, Ben.  Tat time is now. Beck will be finished. So will hundreds of fine, and not so fine, beacons of the blogosphere and their soldiers. Great tweeters like @IowaHawkblog, David Burge, may go on forever, for they are genuinely clever and never uninteresting. There will always be a place for conservative insight, from 145 characters to 5000 words.

But I’m not so sure that Rush Limbaugh, nearing 70, understands this yet. For many years after Reagan, and the Ancien Regime grew to its current height and power, Rush was “firmly ensconced” as the lone sentinel the Left couldn’t silence. Every other radio commentator, popular magazine writer and blogger, each owes a great debt of gratitude, and part of their earnings, to Rush Limbaugh.

But when the media returns to 30-minute news briefings for the masses, followed by the Farm Report, even as on the Left, “in the streets the children scream, gay lovers cry, and poets dream of building bombs in their basement” (with apologies to Don McLean) because their goddam music weas finally killed off, the guardians of the Constitution will shrink as well. They will return to the likes of the original “National Review”, which stood watch for 50 years, and lesser versions of Limbaugh.

As Rush Limbaugh proved in the late 80s, when the hunger and thirst is there for rescue, the market will decide. And someone else will step forward then. Let’s just hope that Donald Trump has the foresight to insure that is not for many, many years

What will not be so easy to sweep away, will be the corpus of the political Ancien Regime, especially under the direct hand of the new president. It will require two deft hands, one wearing a velvet glove, the other iron mail.  We will speak of these things post-November. I’ll only be glad it is our side up there on the horses


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