The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

First, They Came for Mel Bradford

Posted on | November 9, 2011 | 27 Comments

Karen Kraushaar made this horse ‘very uncomfortable,’ according to
friends of the horse, who requested anonymity

“I love Cain’s story. He’s a guy who came from nowhere and did well, obviously against heavy odds. He’s a doer and a straight-talker, which I don’t see enough of from either party.”
Clint Eastwood

“On his radio program Tuesday, Mark Levin aired a clip of veteran journalist and CBS anchor Bill Kurtis on WLS saying that Herman Cain’s accuser, Sharon Bialek, is a former CBS employee with a ‘track record.’ Given her checkered past, a chuckling Kurtis posited that Bialek‘s and Cain’s roles in the alleged car-incident could even have been reversed.”
Tiffany Gabbay, The Blaze

“Yes, we should have standards and those standards should be higher than Democrats set for themselves. But those standards do not mean we have to join in every petty overwrought hyper-ventilated reaction from the left-blogosphere against one of our candidates.
“And for all the not-liberal bloggers out there who joined in, don’t worry, your candidate will get his in turn.”

Professor William Jacobson (emphasis added)

Years ago, I began joking that I ought to write a book about the paleocon/neocon feud called, First, They Came for Mel Bradford, which title references the now often-forgotten 1981 battle over who would be chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts in the Reagan administration. Bradford was a brilliant intellectual who had made the career-damaging mistake of questioning the rightness of Abraham Lincoln’s policies, and lost the battle, so that the NEH chairmanship (and subsequent honors) went to Bill Bennett.

The point of such a history — one of those Books No One Will Ever Pay Me to Write — would not be to vindicate one side or the other, but rather to explain how such intra-coalition conflicts come about, examine the tactics by which the neocons succeeded in their various purges (e.g., against Pat Buchanan and Sam Fraicis, among others), and to point out how these “inside baseball” squabbles among intellectuals shaped the conservative movement and affected the Republican Party.

As Richard Weaver once observed, Ideas Have Consequences, and the ascendancy of the neocons among conservative intellectuals from the 1980s onward has had profound consequences. For the past five years, since the humiliation of the Bush administration in the Republicans’ 2006 mid-term wipeout, there has been a sort of reappraisal and realignment, with free marketeers and constitutionalists asserting their influence at the expense of the neocons. Advocates of limited government have been vindicated by the failure of “Compassionate Conservatism,” and those who support a serious effort to enforce our national borders now clearly hold the whip hand against the open-borders apologists.

Factional infighting continues, of course, but it is no longer within the power of the neocons to purge their critics, and while this may not result in a paleocon revival, we can see much of the Old Right sentiment in the sturdy populism of the Tea Party, the criticism of the Federal Reserve, and the willingness of mainstream Republicans to question the FDR/LBJ legacy of Welfare State entitlements.

The problem with purges in politics, as I said when Charles Johnson tried to purge Pamela Geller, is that you can’t build a successful movement through the process of subtraction. If we wish conservatism to be a genuinely powerful force in American politics, we need to agree that our allies — generally united in the common cause — must be permitted to honestly disagree among themselves without suffering denunciation and banishment. Because political coalitions are a matter of voluntary association, we must beware of those who arrogate to themselves the authority to declare that their own antagonists or rivals are persona non grata to the larger movement.

The question to be asked in such an instance is whether the person or faction targeted for elimination is helpful to the movement. Have they stood with us and performed useful service in battles past? Are they willing and able to assist us in future battles? Will we lose more than we gain by purging them?

Whenever this topic arises, there are those who will cite Buckley’s purging the Birchers in the early 1960s as a precedent for purging whatever faction or person is proposed to be purged now. But the movement in its maturity is not the movement in its infancy.

To cast off the JBS as a danger to the more mainstream reputation conservatives sought to gain in the 1960s was a different thing than arguing, as Geller’s critics did 2007-09, that the success of the conservative movement was at stake because of an incidental association with (alleged) “Euro-fascists.”

All of this is prelude, of course, to talking about the recent attempt to throw Herman Cain under the GOP bus.

Nuh-uh. Not on my watch, not if it is within my power to prevent it, and certainly not on the say-so of Sharon Bialek, Karen Kraushaar, Gloria Allred and Joel Bennett. They don’t get to exercise the heckler’s veto on who gets to ride the conservative bus and, however this epic saga ends, I’m not going to collaborate with the enemy in the destruction of Herman Cain. Because I’ve seen auditoriums full of conservatives leap to their feet and give Herman Cain enthusiastic standing ovations, and if we’re going to beat Obama in 2012, we need that kind of candidate, not some milquetoast who reads talking points and gets only tepid “golf claps” in response.

What Professor Jacobson says is dead on target: If Cain isn’t your candidate, and you’re going to cheer while Cain gets destroyed this way, “don’t worry, your candidate will get his in turn.”

As someone who has witnessed good men be destroyed when the elites got the “urge to purge,” and lived long enough to see the purgers suffer their karmic recompense, I know the truth of what Jacobson says.

There are some conservative leaders nowadays — who shall not be named here — pursuing a vendetta against those who have sounded the warning about the dangers of radical Islam. I am as opposed to these tactics being used against my neocon friends as I was when similar tactics were used against my paleocon friends. And I would hope that if a populist outsider were to win the White House in 2012, it would undermine the influence of the purge-mongers of every variety.

Can Herman Cain survive? Your guess is as good as mine. But if he does survive, his trial by fire will have imparted valuable lessons, and he will remember those who stood with him when the fire was hottest.

Because We Can’t Let His Enemies Win


* * * * *

What You Can Do
If you agree with the logic of the foregoing argument, why don’t you copy it in an e-mail and send it to your Republican representative, senator, governor or state GOP chairman? You can also e-mail it to your favorite local or national talk radio host. Also, by using the “share” button at the bottom of the post, you can share it via Twitter or post it to Facebook. Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word.



27 Responses to “First, They Came for Mel Bradford”

  1. CNBC Republican Debate Night | The Lonely Conservative
    November 9th, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

    […] audio of Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter discussing the primary and the candidates.Also, check out Stacy’s post about the Herman Cain scandal and the conservative coalition.Check back in, I’ll occasionally […]

  2. Rick
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:12 pm


    Sorry, but Sam Francis was a debit on the right’s ledger.  His analogue on the left would be…oh, Frank Rich or Robert Scheer.


  3. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:25 pm

    I disagree.  Clearly the horse is looking at her breasts and wishing he had hands. 

  4. J’Accuse!: The Besmirchers Of Herman Cain [Updated Below] « The Camp Of The Saints
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

    […] will have more to say on this posting by Stacy in a separate posting tomorrow, but please do take the time to read it. Share […]

  5. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

    Herman Cains rivals need to remember the the difference between rivals and enemies.

  6. Dianna Deeley
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

    I’m quoting from memory, here, so I may get it wrong, but: “When considering an ally, ask only two questions – ‘Can he shoot?’ and ‘Will he aim at your enemies?'”

    Second – considering today’s push-back, and revelations, any one who was willing to throw Herman Cain under the bus should stand silent in shame from here on out.

  7. BruceC
    November 9th, 2011 @ 9:55 pm

    There’s not enough brain bleach in existence to remove that image from my brain….thanks…

  8. Dianna Deeley
    November 9th, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

    Oh, and Stacy? Write the book. I’d read it, anyway, especially if you let me proof-read it first.

  9. Guesticulator
    November 9th, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

    Disagree.  Francis was a very incisive writer and while he was brusque and held controversial opinions, subtracting the paleoconservatives contributed to the leftward drift we’ve had over the past two decades.

    I don’t agree with practically anything Pam Geller or Frank Gaffney says, but I think banishing them to obscurity is ridiculous.

    You know who are debits on our ledger?  Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Bennett and all the rest of the sacred cows of pontification.  But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have their say.

  10. Dianna Deeley
    November 9th, 2011 @ 9:57 pm

    It’s an attractive horse – how could you slander it that way?!

    PS – this is a joke, not anything else.

  11. BruceC
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    Maybe the wished-for hands were to cover his eyes with.   Just sayin’.

  12. Zilla of the Resistance
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:04 pm

    Why on earth are Conservatives giving the power over OUR primaries to bitches, the enemedia, and the RINO machine who hate us anyway?

  13. TR
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:07 pm

    Hmmm, I noticed that snidery relating to books no one will pay RSM to write.  True indeed, Stacy.

  14. Dianna Deeley
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    I’m either too tired or that remark is ambiguous.

    Can I ask for some clarification?

    Ooops! “May”. Sorry.

  15. MissouriJack
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    What breasts?

  16. Joe
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

    That is why she likes to wear the spurs.  And she rides geldings, no stallions in her stable. 

  17. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    Pat Buchanan was only “purged” by his own world view, which is hardly conservative.  Even his old friends Buckley and Safire pointedly and publicly refused to defend him against the charge of antisemitism, for good reason.  Don’t worry, Joo-haters, there is still the Paul camp.

    JBS beclowned themselves by allowing the conspiracy nuts to take over.  They quickly degenerated into Trilateral this and Bildeberger that, with fair doses of antisemitism thrown in for good measure, too.  If they had stuck with anticommunism, it might have been different.  They chose to ride the crazy train and derailed.

  18. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

    Always comes to proof reading, although it’s probably too much trouble to have you proof read my comments. The other day my spell checker through up it’s hands and said it couldn’t take it anymore.

  19. ThePaganTemple
    November 9th, 2011 @ 11:45 pm

    Because RINOs control the party, and they are a part of the political establishment elites.

  20. ThePaganTemple
    November 10th, 2011 @ 12:05 am

    Somebody better be awful glad he didn’t decide to turn that pic into a caption contest.

  21. TR
    November 10th, 2011 @ 1:23 am

    Dianna – I have often prompted Stacy to write a book.  However, he seems reluctant to take up the challenge.  So, I concede and let him “hold the projection” as he has said that no one would be willing to pay him to write any of those interesting books.  In other words, “ok, you won the argument”.

  22. Infamous Sockpuppet
    November 10th, 2011 @ 2:05 am

    You know, the problem here is that there is TOO much information. I consider myself a well-informed voter, but it is impossible even for someone who tries to keep abreast of all the information flowing out there. Therefore, we tend to set up certain people as “filters” to keep us from information overload. In the past, our media overlords kindly supplied this filter for us, but even with the cornucopia of information available to us, we still set these filters up, albeit they are those of our own selection.

    For example, I tend to read only a few political blogs, mostly The Other McCain, Ace, Instapundit, Althouse, and a couple of others, as well as Drudge and some non-political blogs. It has been painful watching Cain get crucified over at Ace’s without really having much by way of a comeback. I am grateful for Stacy who has kept the faith and who has given me hope that there was a path out for Cain, despite all the negativity being hurled at him and even though all our conservative “allies” immediately gave up on Cain as soon as the word of the accusations spread.

    So, Stacy, keep up the good work.

  23. FenelonSpoke
    November 10th, 2011 @ 7:21 am

    Bravo to both Professor Jacobsen (whose blog I also enjoy) and you, Stacy.  The practitioners of the politics of destruction will go after any Repub candidate relentlessly. I will vote for ABB (although I don’t want Romney) but let the nomination play itself out with Cain and with everyone else without encouraging Cain to get out. I sent him some money today because the MSM  as well as some  Conservatives just appalls me. 

  24. Quartermaster
    November 10th, 2011 @ 7:43 am

    The idea that Buchanan was antisemitic was absurd. Yes Buchanan had some criticisms of Israel, but you should read some of the criticisms of Israel from the Orthodox camp.

    I don’t agree with Pat on Israel and her reaction to “Palestinian” provocation, but I can disagree with the man without smearing him.

    Frankly, if criticizing Israel is antisemitic then God is antisemitic.

  25. Quartermaster
    November 10th, 2011 @ 7:47 am

    The purge of the Birchers by Buckley was a bad move in the long run. They could have been moderated quite a bit, but Buckley was tryijng more to dominate the conservative movement than maintain any sort of purity. Frum tried that trash again about 10 years ago, and it back fired on Buckley and the Neocons.

    We see the same type of nonsense with Ron Paul, who I have problems with, but he is the only man that is talking about what nees to be done to have any chance of turning things around. Instead, all he gets is smeared by neocons and “respectable” conservatives.

    We need a meat ax taken to FedGov to have any chance of maintaining the country on something approaching an even keel. *Only* Ron paul is talking the talk at this point.

  26. ThePaganTemple
    November 10th, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    I agree with you in a sense. Throwing around the antisemitic slur is starting to get as old as the race care, homophobia, sexism, etc. Pat Buchanan is an old school Paleocon who is very conservative in a lot of ways, but he’s just wrong in a lot of his foreign policy beliefs pertaining to the Middle East, though not in the isolationist sense Ron Paul is. A lot of his beliefs stem from his old-time realpolitik view of pragmatic considerations. I also think as a devout Catholic he might be viewing things through the lens of belief that in time everything will work out, but of course he can’t say that publicly. 

  27. ThePaganTemple
    November 10th, 2011 @ 8:34 am

    If he wasn’t such a nut when it comes to Iran and to the obvious dangers of Islamist fundamentalism, and his tendency to blame America for what few problems he’s willing to acknowledge, I would have zero problem voting for him.