They run and hide their heads
They might as well be dead
If the Rain comes.
When the sun shines
They slip into the shade
And sip their lemonade
When the sun shines
When the sun shines
~John Lennon, lyrics from the 1966 single “Rain” on the “B” side of “Paperback Writer”
One of my favorite Beatles tunes, its metaphor, it always seemed to me, was obvious. The song spoke of the mindset of the sheeple, the sunshine patriots, their opinions tossed to and fro by every wind, by every change of the weather.
The media casts up images as best it can; God intervenes; the sheep bleat audibly and flock accordingly.
It was on display in and around Rick Perry’s astounding “Oops” moment back in November, dropping him – on absolutely no basis of substance – from first place in September to (finally) last in January. All on the strength of media image. It reappeared again last week, the power of the Image in South Carolina.
These images appear solid.
–Mitt Romney was widely accorded to have overcome Bachmann’s lead in August and Perry’s lead in September and Cain’s lead in October and Gingrich’s lead in November and the public’s knowledge of RomneyCare overall, to appear unstoppable in the 2012 race by January.
They are not
The Media drive Image and God laughs at them.
Timed to coincide with the South Carolina debate, and in a blatant attempt to finally sew up the nomination for Mitt, ABC news, and the Washington Post “simulcast” an interview in the 11th hour on Thursday with Marianne Gingrich (the second of Newt’s three wives) where she amended her previous and historic complaints about her former husband to: “He wanted an open marriage.” Driven by the same, transparent, ProRomney motive, CNN and moderator John King opened the South Carolina debate that night focusing on those allegations…
In the first 0:48 of the debate, before any other candidate had an opportunity to speak, Newt Gingrich effectively won the South Carolina Primary by stomping on the media’s tactics. Many in the audience gave him a standing ovation. Newt’s verbal volley, typifying the media as “despicable” was followed by four more and increasing crowd response until, when he concluded, “… and I’m tired of the elite media protecting Obama by attacking Republicans,” it appeared “they would come and take him by force, to make him a king.” CNN threw in the towel.
None of this, of course had anything to do with his suitability to be President, but with the absolute power, over the sunshine crowd, of IMAGE… and of the susceptibility of image to both the unseen and unforseen. The uncontrollable advance of providential happenstance.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
the LORD shall have them in derision.
Saturday, Newt Gingrich cashed in the chips he won Thursday at the debate, taking the South Carolina primary going away. The State’s Republicans were simply caught up in the moment.
I once told a candidate I worked for that I thought one might get votes by giving some voters a good brownie recipe or sharing a clever poem about the weather. Any reason might win the vote of the clueless. But, of course, such tactics are unpredictable and some are fraught with enormous risk. It is not considered politically sane to antagonize the press. “Never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel,” is the proverb. Newt went in with nothing to lose and a high-risk strategy to win. It’s what the conservative movement needs to do in Washington State.
But suddenly 2012 looks less like 2008 (where Establishment-backed McCain converted some early victories and rabid (though illegal) RNC favoritism into a nomination) and more like 1988 (where Establishment-backed GHW Bush and Bob Dole used rabid RNC and media favoritism to freeze out discussion of a whole field of better candidates) and that we predicted, in a figure, here: The Serpent, the mouse and the Tea Party.
And it also appears that the Establishment strategy we predicted here has held sway in South Carolina. Principle has been successfully abandoned while the sheep bleat after the perfect Image to save them from the heathen Obama, the Image to which they expect all Republicans must, after Tampa, bow down.
But the central pillars of a political party are its ideals. Once damaged beyond structural integrity, the building may stand, but in a weakened state, perhaps to be repaired or rebuilt, perhaps to collapse. The time is long past when we could go to a national convention to simply re-load. The edifice is no longer trustworthy but frequently treacherous. We run candidates with whom we disagree on most issues and stone the prophets. Buchanan is Banished; Keyes, Cast away; Tancredo, Toast.
Romney is Royalty.
The life source of a political party is its well of ideals. Like refugees crossing an unknown desert who have left behind their water, the Republican Party presses on without spiritual sustenance to the lure of sounding brass and tinkling cymbal…further and further.
And so it happens that in this moment of looking for the path to victory, the moral choices of the chosen masses foreshadow ultimate defeat.
We have languished for years now, awaiting triage, in the back room of some psychic hospital, remembering what it was like when we could run and dance, slowly learning to regret letting Dr. Rove sell us that heart replacement
The Catholics and Evangelicals have waited. The NRLC and the NRA and all the ancillary organizations with an “R” in their acronyms, and the think tanks and interest groups have waited. The aging Republican regulars who remember the 1980 election and the three-network-media-monopoly and the ride of the Gipper to save us all have waited as their hair turns grey…
Will there never be a prince who rides along the sea and the mountains
Scattering the sand and foam into amethyst fountains
Riding up the hills from the beach in the long summer grass
Holding the sun in his hands and shattering the isinglass?†
But instead of the aspirations of our ego, instead of re-creating the image of the Cowboy Actor and his Fourth of July fireworks, instead of the conquering king, making our ears tingle and flattering our greatness, God has sent us…
a servant without sequins…
…lowly, and riding upon an ass.
…with no form nor comeliness that we should desire him.
And, of all the nerve, that choice demands that we re-think our assumptions.
As surely as we reduced all His principles to the single precept of the power of preemptive war, He has required, as a condition of national redemption, that we accept a candidate committed to less grandiose foreign pretensions.
We’re number one.
We’re number one!
We’re number one!
Good ol’ number one.
Lookin’ out for good ol’ number one.
We are fueled by the Power of Pride and our security is based in the power of our might.
This element of our foreign policy duplicates that of Joseph Stalin.
The price of world domination is eternal vigilance… and gargantuan military budgets.
And this standing army is a source of great pride. For many, that pride is impossible to swallow.
I have repeatedly heard sincere and otherwise sane Christians scoff at the notion that there could be any moral limits to our international violence if we discern evil intent in our “enemies.” Any war that kills Islamists is “good.” Anyone who rejects that premise is “naïve” and “doesn’t understand that they are our enemies.” Biblical injunctions with regard to our enemies are no part of the equation.
And so, now, by the providence of God, by the operation of entirely separate mechanisms, there lies before America a Goliath that threatens the nation with slavery.
An Economic Goliath.
And a national election of unfathomable significance that will be decided on that single issue:
And up from the camp comes this little man.
And he tells us that he can defeat Goliath…
And he steadfastly refuses to wear the vestments in which we try to dress him, the armor of our host.
And he carries nothing but a sling…
And he stands head and shoulders beneath the physical stature, not only of the giant, but of that older king, our last revolutionary.
And those of us who do not repeat the philosophy of economic conservatism as clever rhetoric, like “sound effects” to fool the electorate, but because we believe it, because we understand it, because its principles are the foundation of the Republic, because we are servants of the Living God, know that this little man is telling the truth…. that freedom under the rule of law is the touchstone of our prosperity, our “old” exceptionalism, and that our troubles resulted because we have abandoned it. We know he CAN defeat our economic Goliath.
And the GOP Establishment cannot swallow its pride to save its life.
This is the new “American Exceptionalism” of Rick Santorum.
Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
And so the specter of the full dismemberment of the Republican Party lies palpably before us. Not the breakup of the Reagan coalition; Bush effected that already. Not the Party’s moral disintegration; McCain and his RNC enablers advanced that in 2008, beyond what one might have thought possible. No. We face the prospect that we may win in 2012 and the Republic crumble thereafter, so that the name of the Republican Party will be cursed for a hundred years. No republican following in the lackluster policy footsteps of Bush and Dole and Bush and McCain and Romney will be able to avert this disaster. That Image will not prosper.
And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken… that your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.
But there is hope.
The NEW MEN
A new generation inside a generation has grown up while Republicans waited and Democrats seized the schools. They yearn, strangely enough, in defiance of their government programming, for much of what was embodied in the American Revolution. But that the Republican Party has lost sight of. Coming of age in the 20-plus years since we had a government that even pretended to the Constitution’s limits of government power, they believe the word “conservative” refers to what the GOP has coughed up… and it isn’t pretty.
They tell us “There is only ONE political party” because they have watched both parties grow government and diminish freedom.
Their outlook, their vision of the Republican political landscape, is the result of our Compromises, our indolent waiting for the “next” Reagan to ride out into the arena.
Their view of the GOP is the result of our running Bush and Dole and Bush and Bush and McCain and entertaining Giuliani and Romney… and of our infernal toleration of a corrupt, ingrown Machiavellian establishment for whom the quest for power trumps all else.
The Liberty Generation will not join such a party.
Joe Six-Pack would not (knowingly) vote for such a Party, but has been frequently fooled.
Newt Gingrich has repeatedly and intentionally fooled the most important people in his life. Mitt Romney has been promoted for his accomplishment in “fooling” the voters of Massachusetts.
But if the GOP were to be so unlucky as to WIN the next Presidential election with a “fool” candidate, the ensuing economic consequences would in all probability destroy the Party’s viability for a generation.
They won’t be fooled again.
†Judy Collins, Albatross, 1967