Saturday, October 22, 2016

Après Le Deluge, C’est Hillary?


The national elections at this point may remind poor battered voters of Oscar Wilde’s description of fox hunting: “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable!”

Republicans, Victor Davis Hanson writes in National Review, will have much repair work to do after the election – whatever happens. National Review has not been hospitable to Donald Trump’s candidacy, but the election should awaken second thoughts among conservatives. In “Conservatives Should Vote For The Republican Nominee,” Hanson takes a birch switch to what Trump supporters might call disdainfully the Republican Party Establishment.

Here is the central premise in Hanson’s piece:
 “Something has gone terribly wrong with the Republican Party, and it has nothing to do with the flaws of Donald Trump. Something like his tone and message would have to be invented if he did not exist. None of the other 16 primary candidates — the great majority of whom had far greater political expertise, more even temperaments, and more knowledge of issues than did Trump — shared Trump’s sense of outrage — or his ability to convey it — over what was wrong: The lives and concerns of the Republican establishment in the media and government no longer resembled those of half their supporters.

 “The Beltway establishment grew more concerned about their sinecures in government and the media than about showing urgency in stopping Obamaism. When the Voz de Aztlan and the Wall Street Journal often share the same position on illegal immigration, or when Republicans of the Gang of Eight are as likely as their left-wing associates to disparage those who want federal immigration law enforced, the proverbial conservative masses feel they have lost their representation. How, under a supposedly obstructive, conservative-controlled House and Senate, did we reach $20 trillion in debt, institutionalize sanctuary cities, and put ourselves on track to a Navy of World War I size?”

In the reliably conservative Wall Street Journal opinion pages, Peggy Noonan, a longtime columnist and once a special assistant and speechwriter in the reliably conservative President Ronald Reagan administration, permits herself to wonder what a Trump campaign might have looked like if Trump had been sane.

On the Democratic side, an email tsunami threatens to capsize Clinton’s plush ground-game schooner. And she is – perhaps more than Trump – unspeakable and uneatable. After nearly a half century in politics, ambition scrambles the brain. White privilege may or may not be a political myth, but political privilege is the original sin of politics. Just ask Machiavelli, or Hanson, a classical historian and author of “A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.”

Here in Connecticut, the sort of people whose business it is to gauge the correlation of political forces are dusting off their crystal balls. All the editorials nominating so-and-so- for such-and-such have already been written. It remains only to pull the pins on the editorial endorsements.

Their left of center sensitive data receptors tell them Clinton has the edge, both nationally and here in the land of steady habits, which has steadily voted Democrat progressives into office. Connecticut progressives, in turn, have steadily voted in favor of cosmetic and temporary spending cuts. Once returned to office, they will vote in favor of higher taxes for two reasons: 1) They wish to use politicians to advance a particular rather than a general good, usually involving public workers unions; and 2) Despite the inescapably obvious consequences following tax increases and burdensome regulations – i.e. job losses, anemic economic growth and the flight from Connecticut of wealth producing entrepreneurial activity -- they are perversely convinced, mostly for ideological reasons, that Connecticut is suffering a revenue problem, not a spending problem.

Hanson’s recommendation to national Republicans that they should adjust their polity to changed circumstances is not likely to be adopted by Connecticut Democrats, our new Aristocrats. Demography, rather than a filial regard for democracy, is destiny, say the demographers, and Democrats outnumber Republicans in Connecticut by a two to one margin; unaffiliateds outnumber both Republicans and Democrats. And so – what has been must ever be. That is the operative principle of most politics, until the roof comes crashing down, at which point there will follow a peaceful, small “d”, democratic revolution.


The one thing we know for certain about democracy, G. K. Chesterton reminds us, is this: “Democracy means government by the uneducated, while aristocracy means government by the badly educated.” To this many journalists reply, yearning for an aristocracy of thought and manners, “Bunk.” They can be safely ignored. Chesterton was a superb journalist, and that is why he said “Journalism largely consists of saying 'Lord Jones is dead' to people who never knew that Lord Jones was alive.”





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