One of a few things I’ve been putting off since I started this blog, I’ve just re-read for the first time in months my celebrated recounting of scenes from the rEVOLution.  I feel my fundamental conclusions remain sound, for as both Takimag and Reason separately concluded, I failed to appreciate just how premised on delusions of a future in the Republican Party the running of the Paul campaign was.

More to the point, the following, which I oft repeated, appears to be bearing out: that if the Ron Paul Revolution achieved nothing else, it would be the complete and final redefinition of American radicalism away from the legacy of the radical left and into the legacy of the radical right.

Unlike the left, which had erratic highs and lows from the end of the 19th century to its collapse with the beginning of the Cold War, only to revive first as tragedy in the 60s and then in a final farce at the end of the last decade and beginning of this one, the history of the “radical right”, reluctant as I am to use that term, can be seen as one of slow but steady growth beginning in the 50s and having its first meaningful impact on American politics in the Paul campaign.

The results may not have been as great as even I with the utmost prudence had hoped, though while Paul may yet prove to have set the agenda for Obama as Norman Thomas did for FDR, this may only mean little more than that the radical right hootenanny to end them all I had once anticipated going to this fall – Ron Paul at Madison Square Garden – alas shall not be.

Still, it will be very interesting to see what the future holds . . .

On a Personal Note . . .

March 30, 2008

I begin today my gig as a tourguide with City Sights NY.  It’s only 3-4 days a week, so I’ll still have plenty of time for this blog.  Wish me well!

Obama and Patriotism

March 30, 2008

An interesting exchange between Larison and Will Wilkinson on the question of wether or not Obama will be seen as patriotic.

My answer has always been that for Obama to continue to wear the dog tags of Iraq veterans will trump a lapel pin every time.

And while were on the subject, when will someone point out the rightness of refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance, a ritual invented by a utopian socialist whose totalitarian flavor is unlike anything in the world today?

I forgot to add my general response to Larison’s not wholly unreasonable claim to have been fair and even handed towards Obama.  He seems to me to have been bipolar in this respect, from obsessive last June-October to reasonable and intelligent from then to some time in February and then back to obsessive.

Chalk it up to what I’ve sensed all along, that his views, like those of most of my conservative friends, are fueled primarily by emotional angst at the choice between John McCain and a someone who just five years ago was a state senator with an African name from the South Side, of whom anyone that said they would be president in five years would be sent to the loony bin.

It may not be my place to pontificate about such things, but I do sympathize.

Daniel Larison Responds

March 30, 2008

Quite thoughtfully, actually, so I want to address all of his points one at a time:

I apologize to Larison for misinterpreting his view on the likely House and Senate results in 2008. If we take him at his word, that his consistent prediction has been 5-6 Senate seats and 40+ House seats for the Democrats, this is the conservative prediction that right now is near-universal among elections experts. My only point would be that it could end up being well in excess of the conventional wisdom, admittedly whopping as it already is. In addition to the possibility of a perfect storm of a deep recession, a $4 gallon of gas, and 100+ casualties a month in Iraq this fall, let us remember that in 1994 the Republican gains were nearly double most predictions, indeed very few predicted the Republicans would actually take back the House.

I would also take this opportunity to say that one of the things I find disappointing about Larison is that in spite of how sharp he can be very often he can be so boringly conventional in his elections coverage. His obsession with statistical analysis and polling data, particularly in his brief against Obama’s electability, can sometimes be as bad as The American Prospect!

What I meant by a “Burkean answer to the specter of revolution on offer from Ron Paul” was merely the case for Obama that I articulated in, among other places, indeed, my writings on Ron Paul! I would gladly invite an argument on the merits of this, but my feeling, as I have stated throughout, Obama is who will be most amenable to reality of what is facing this country hands down, and so much of what he says in the way of “views diametrically opposed to the paleos on almost every issue?” must be taken with a grain of salt.

As I said in my previous writings on Ron Paul, the Burkean hope for his ultimate impact is that he will end up having been Norman Thomas to Obama’s FDR. History may well remember the more obnoxiously liberal parts of Obama’s platform, which even now are not very prominent in public discourse, as akin to FDR’s 1932 platform opposing Hoover’s genesis of the New Deal. This is not to say that a more radical and even revolutionary outcome represented by the Paul campaign would not have been desirable or just, but merely that to support Obama in this context is the Burkean position because it is the position of he who would ideally like to avoid a revolutionary upheaval.

As for Gottfried, I clearly spoke in ignorance of his feelings about Obama, and for that I sincerely apologize. But I would not consider the matter closed at that. His subscription to “the politics of the very worst” is exactly the same as I personally heard him articulate at a program I attended last summer, with Hillary in the place of Obama.

What leads me to such a definitive declaration about Dr. Gottfried (and the very title of this blog should dispell any doubt that I am one to accuse others loosely of racism) was this rant in which Gottfried chided his fellow paleos that David Horowitz is willing to publish more incendiarily racist material than Taki. I don’t think its presumptuous of me to think that a gentleman of Taki’s calliber should do anything but deeply resent the suggestion that he has failed to live up to the impeccable standards of David Horowitz.

The Darling Party Line

March 29, 2008

Oh my darling, oh my darling, oh my darling party line,
Oh I never will desert you, for I love this life of mine.

So went the chorus of a contemporary ditty ridiculing the Communists at the adoption of the Hitler-Stalin pact, the greatest line of prose ever written about the nature of political commitment serving as the chorus to the greatest song ever written about international relations.

The greatest like spectacle ever to occur since is happening now before our very eyes – hat tip to Richard Spencer – as the neocons scramble now that their vaunted “surge” is collapsing as we speak, with consequences of a potentially catastrophic magnitude, as detailed by the great Bill Lind here.

Larison is Losing It

March 29, 2008

When even George Will and Michael Barone can no longer be paid to write columns saying that the Republicans have a chance at taking back Congress in 2008, and when the insufferably conservative Charlie Cook says there are 80 House seats in play, I am pained that the often bright blogger at the magazine I love like a woman is peddling such horseshit.

Larison revealed once and for all that he does indeed have a pathological obsession with Obama when he said:

Indeed, if more pro-Obama conservatives put their case in this kind of visceral, “McCain must be defeated at any cost” way, I might almost be inclined to join them. Almost. (My emphasis – Ed.)

Now I do not know Larison well enough (indeed, have never communicated at all beyond our previous spat on this blog) to say whether he is among those paleos who simply can’t support Obama because he’s black, as I don’t doubt is the case with both Paul Gottfried and Richard Spencer. But this is precisely what I feared from those Ron Paul supporters I met over the course of the rEVOLution who still had illusions not just about the Republican Party but about the “conservative movement” more generally.

Am I naive to think that the future will involve something other than the ultimate ossification of my conservative friends and my own relegation to being one of only six people who give a rat’s ass about the pontifications of Andrew Sullivan, the Peter Viereck of the coming era? Larison will no doubt say that both Sullivan and I should be so lucky and that Obama will crash and burn and visions of new era are delusional. But leave it to him to join Hillary in championing the audacity of hopelessness.

I’ll confess, though, I’ve long feared that, with my German sensibility and proud self-identification as an Obamacon, I’ll end up as Peter Viereck to my father – the last disciple of Irving Howe who believes in something other than Jewish National Socialism – as George Sylvester.