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.
HERMAN CAIN for PRESIDENT
Because We Can’t Let His Enemies Win
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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.