Good day Malstrom,
Ask you questions instead of predictions? Fair enough. In that case I want to ask you about the Bush dynasty and the political right in America. What did the Bushes do to become so reviled by the Conservative base? I know about George H.W. Bush raising taxes after saying “no more taxes” and I know about Bush Jr. working with a lot of Democrats like Kennedy on ‘No child left behind’. But none of these things really explain to me why the Bush dynasty has become so tainted. Whenever I mention everything that Bush Jr. did to my own countrymen, they still believe Bush is really popular with conservatives. But looking at how the Romney campaign have stayed far, far away from the Bushes this election cycle, i’d it says enough about how poisonous the Bush legacy has become. The question I keep asking myself after all of this is “why the hell Jeb Bush is portrayed as being popular when his Dad and his younger brother are so tainted in their legacy?”.
Also, could you perhaps elaborate on the Republican Establishment and how it’s interests often cross with the interests of conservatives? You mentioned it in the context of the Republican primaries, but what about the Republican Establishment as measured up against the political machine of the Democrat’s in the old South?
No, conservatives loved REAGAN. The question really is why do conservatives love Reagan (and boy, do they love and idolize him) and dislike to even despise every other GOP Presidential candidate.
George H. Bush? They HATED him. They only voted for him because they thought they were getting a third term of Reagan.Bob Dole? They DISLIKED him. The guy was a senator for like all his life. Dole was not like them.George W. Bush? They are FURIOUS at Bush. At first, they might have rallied around him when he first ran but only later after 9/11 and 2004 for the Iraq War.
McCain? They DESPISED McCain. And they knew McCain didn’t like them either.
Romney? They DON’T LIKE Romney. Democrats saying Romney is an Etch-and-sketch politician who says anything, the Romney supporters know that. This is why they are looking to primary him, should he win, in 2016.
The question you should be asking is, “If these other candidates share Reagan’s policies to a degree (more or less), then why do they love Reagan and not these other guys?” the only answer is that it is beyond policy and ideology.
Reagan was not a member of the Ruling Class. He was an actor. He didn’t go to a major law or business school. He went to a small college. His life was not one of being groomed and bred for politics. Reagan was also like that guy who gets misty eyed saying the Star Spangled Banner at a football game. He poured nationalism in everything he did. To him, everyday was July the 4th.
These other guys… Their hearts aren’t in it. And they don’t come from the people. It is like they are separated, early on in their life, and are groomed and educated for a lifelong career in a Ruling Class position. They don’t interact with the daily lives of most people.
The Bushes are representative of that Ruling Class. It’s clear that Romney was the ‘it’s his turn’ guy for 2012 so that he would lose. Then, Jeb Bush would run in 2016. It was only around this summer that it dawned on the R Party of how vulnerable Obama was. Before, they only hoped to retake the Senate, and they saw Romney as the best way to do that (since Romney plays better at the top of the ticket in the more D heavy states).
W. Bush had Congress under R control which hadn’t happened in like fifty years. What does Bush do? Very little. His tax cut was small and made temporary so it ‘expires’. As you said, he did let Kennedy write the education bill. He put up Justices the conservatives didn’t like such as Harriet Meirs (which was replaced with Alito after so much protest). They weren’t too thrilled with Justice Roberts (and only the worse type of anger towards Roberts can be described to him now).
W. Bush wasn’t a conservative. After his second term, he even stopped pretending. He tried to put through amnesty which only after a massive backlash that he stopped (and might be the reason why Obama didn’t try it). There was the NAFTA superhighway (which is currently trying to be completed around legislatures since popular vote keeps shutting it down). Bush was also responsible for TARP. Conservatives see Bush as paving the way for Obama.
The Republican Ruling Class candidates not only have a ton of money and built in party support, they can control who is on the ballot. What is often done in primaries is for there to be one establishment candidate and many, many ‘not-establishment’ candidates. If there aren’t many on there, the establishment makes sure more are added. They divide the anti-establishment vote, and the establishment candidate wins. Normally, Dewhurst would have won his senate seat in the primary. But because the Tea Party picked an anti-establishment candidate, Cruz, it changed the election from many candidates to Establishment versus Tea Party. When the run-off occurred without the other candidates and just those two, Cruz sailed to an easy victory.
Another example would be Rick Perry who no one likes. He was Lieutenant Governor when Bush was governor. He became governor in 2000 when Bush became president. He has been the Texas governor for nearly thirteen years. They don’t like him for many reasons but the chief one is that he is a Democrat. He ran Gore’s campaign in Texas in 1988. He switched to Republican because he saw the changing political winds. Kay Baily Hutchison, apparently being bored of being senator, decides she suddenly wants to be governor now. Dick Cheney even came down and said, “Perry’s been there long enough. It’s time for him to go.” Texans saw Hutchison as someone who’s been in Washington too long. At least Perry was the devil they knew. They hate Perry but still would rather have him over her. Perry sealed his election when he referenced the Texian Revolution and said Texas would be better off without the United States. (Rasmussen even polled Texas asking if they were willing to secede. A shockingly high number of 25% of the population said yes. That was years ago. I’m sure that number has increased.) It is not unlike Cruz mentioning the cannon with the flag ‘come and take it’ of the Texian Revolution. Go to any Texas crowd and just mention the Alamo or San Jacinto or something else of the Texian Revolution and, like magic, the crowd becomes electrified and roaring with approval. The speech could be about something as mundane like budgets or school textbooks but insert something of the Texian Revolution, and you will see the crowd burst into thunderous applause. It’s the Texas way.
Decades ago, Texas was famous for its dirty politics like how Chicago is today. We all know how LBJ didn’t actually win his Senate seat. I once knew a very, very old poll worker (today, he is dead) where he told me stories of those times. He said that the poll workers would open up the ballot box and literally throw out the Republican ballots.
The South was very poor. You’d think they get tired of being poor. The rest of the world was modernizing with the Industrial Revolution while they are mocked with their backwardness. Maybe after centuries of voting for one party, maybe it is time to give the other one a shot?
Three ways how the political machine kept control of the South for so long:
1) Keeping the Civil War memories burning- After the Civil War, no one is surprised that the former Confederate states would vote against Lincoln’s party. But why didn’t they grow out of it? Southern politicians kept rekindling the Civil War in people’s minds and the ‘us versus them’ mentality. Voting for Republican was treason in people’s minds. To give an idea of how far this went, Truman’s mother refused to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom and that was in the 1940s (getting near a century after the Civil War). The ‘Confederate’ flag waving was seen as an act of rebelliousness even though it made the population orthodox to the political machine at the time. Actual rebelliousness in the Old South would have been to vote Republican.
2) Being poor farmers was described as ‘Arcadia’- Are you a poor farmer? No. You are living the good life in Arcadia. The people you should feel sorry for are those in the industrialized states as they work in factories and cities and all that rotgut. In our feudalistic Arcadia, you are living the ‘pure life’.
Being a poor farmer was romanticized and industrialization was portrayed as an ‘assault’ on the South’s ‘way of life’. They were proud to be hicks.
3) In order to make people not feel poor, a permanent underclass was made beneath the poor Jacksonian farmers- Racism is a political creation designed to keep poor farmers from realizing they were poor. It was common to hear, “I may be poor, but I’m no n—–.” The poor whites didn’t feel uncomfortable being poor or unrespected because there was another group that was kept poorer and less respected than them. This was fundamental for the political machine to keep control. Just like how a union thug would break a union member’s knees for not voting for the union candidate, the KKK, the terrorist arm of the political machine, would assault those who voted against the machine (i.e. Republican). This is why the KKK also attacked Catholics and certain transplants.
World War 2 overrode the Southern Political Machines and jolted a modernization of the states. As the states modernized, they slowly (we’re talking from 1950-2000) started to vote more and more Republican. The old machine tried their best to slow it down but eventually things tipped over.