This archconservative commends Kevin McCarthy for a principled and impressive effort to keep the government functioning. And a Republican House majority intact.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (Anarchist-Fla.) reportedly is going to try to get McCarthy deposed from the speakership. What’s really going on?
Political moods trend worldwide. McCarthy is not exempt from the political riptides.
Political moods tend to encircle the globe. In the late '60s, when I was in high school, and early 1970s when I was an undergrad at Amherst College, while we were marching against the draft (and for other causes) students were rioting all over the world.
Especially, bless their hearts, in Paris. Now, we are treated to the spectacle of the lunatic fringe of various parties worldwide forcing politically unpalatable positions on their mainstreams. Worldwide!
Political tails are wagging the major party dogs all over the world. The ruling Likud Party, led by the lovable Bibi Netanyahu, is having to cut deals with the ultraorthodox haredi to keep his paper-thin majority intact.
The last British Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Liz Truss, lasted only 44 days, the shortest serving PM in British history. The successor Rishi Sunak Tory government is seen as hanging by a thread.
French President Macron of France is facing virulent union opposition to his proposed trimming of pensions (among other policy challenges). Per the center-right magazine The Economist, “Italy’s hard-right government is starting to look more radical.”
Back here in the good old USA, some of my friends are predicting that Joe Biden’s move to his left (or, more precisely, lefts) will doom his re-election prospects. Not so fast!
As a great spiritual leader once declared, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” In politics, these mansions are called factions.
The factions in the former conservative coalition mostly detested one another. Paleocons (like me) were opposed to the Neocons, who in turn hated the libertarians who hated the religious right theocons, who hated the Chamber of Commerce, Big Business and Country Club Republicans, and, to steal and bend a phrase from Tom Lehrer’s National Brotherhood Week, “and everybody hates the supply-siders.”
Of which I am one of the last remnants! We all hated Communism even more than one another and, thus, we united.
The Soviet Union dissolved. Deprived of our common enemy, divided we conservatives fell.
We slid back into internecine warfare. Conservative faction against conservative faction.
The populists took over the cuckoo’s nest. In the (paper-thin) Republican majority House fewer than two dozen extremists, affectionately called the Chaos Caucus, or Wrecking Ball Caucus, are throwing their weight around … irrespective of the real risk of pushing their fellow conservative Republicans to extinction.
We conservatives could take a lesson from one shrewd politician named Joe Biden. One of the most fundamental qualities of political leadership is the ability to keep your base united, if only against its common enemy.
Joe Biden has always been a party animal. Back when he was a junior U..S Senator in the '80s the Democratic Party’s ethos was center, or labor, left rather than progressive. Sen. Biden voted for all those Kemp-Reagan tax rates cuts, merrily following his party’s consensus to vote to cut the top rate from 70% to 50% to 28% and then to cut the capital gains rate from 28% to 20%.
Sen. Biden was also the prime Senate co-sponsor of the tough on criminals Clinton Crime Bill. And in the 2020 presidential race, he moved to the (center) right of all his credible challengers … and won the nomination.
Elected president, Biden moved left. Some believe, or hope, that he went so far left as to compromise his re-electability.
Don’t you believe it. Biden shrewdly made concessions, both rhetorical and operational, to his party’s far left flank keeping his extremists pacified.
Thus, he prevented the kind of internal fracture that the GOP is now suffering from. Knowing he has plenty of time to move back to the center after securing renomination.
Speaker McCarthy was dealt — and boldly claimed — a more difficult hand. He consistently has played his hand well, surviving repeated assaults from his own lunatic fringe and then confounding his doubters by enacting a short-term spending bill.
Next? Matt Gaetz has announced he plans to take down McCarthy as speaker.
To which McCarthy replied, in a slightly more politic form: “Feel lucky, Punk?” Expect to see McCarthy peel Gaetz’s bark right off.
A century ago Yeats prophesied, “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loose upon the world. …”
The current struggle within the GOP is not a duel between conservative factions. It is a duel between conservatives and anarchists.
Let all true conservatives pray that Kevin McCarthy turn back the blood-dimmed tide of anarchy, right here in America. Then, let Liberty enlighten the world.
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply-Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $94T. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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