Monday, July 13, 2009
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 8 Comments
While if you narrow the numbers down enough, every Republican and Conservative Democrat will make the progressive's enemies list, but the true pathological reaction is reserved for these two types.
The American Populist represents an American ideal, often Western in nature, and promotes independence, small government and an old fashioned self-centered Americanism. The Populist relies less on bureaucratic advice and more on common sense, gut instincts and thinking about issues from a new angle. The Populist is often not a professional politician, and has a background or hobbies that define him more than his political career does. Models include Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Sarah Palin.
Liberals routinely denounce the populists as stupid, mentally incompetent hicks who can barely tie their shoes. American Populists not only have the temerity to embrace the values and attitudes of Flyover Country, but to presume to dictate them to their liberal "betters" who have gone to Harvard, have all the right connections and can order from the menu in a French restaurant.
At a cultural level, liberals react with the innate distaste of class warfare to populists, the way the Bourbons did to peasants presuming to tell them what to do. At the ideological level, the American Populist is coded as representing the classic American values of hard work, individualism and the American Way, that they have been doing their best to stamp out for generations, by replacing them with their own values of collectivism, tolerance and global collaboration. The Populist automatically subverts this process by reminding the American public of what being an American really means.
The combination of class warfare and ideological threat results in a hysterical half-subconscious response from liberals that gives a living demonstration of 1984's Two Minute Hate, particularly when it is backed by the culturally liberal media.
The second Republican type to trip Liberals haywire is the Government Organizer. The Organizer is often gruff, matter of fact and projects competence. He is not charismatic, in fact he's often anti-charismatic, being unattractive and unappealing. A longtime career politician, he relentlessly and aggressively pursues goals that he believes will benefit the country, regardless of the obstacles. His competence however cannot compensate for his perceived unpleasantness, or ruthless attitudes. Worse yet to many liberals he represents a "bad father" figure who is ominous and threatening. Models include Richard Nixon, Dick Cheney and John McCain.
These two types not only comprise the two types of Republicans that draw obsessive liberal hate, but they also comprise the most visible Republican Presidents and Presidential candidates.
The uncompromising beliefs and tenacity of Organizers makes them into extremely effective ideological bulldogs. They grab onto a topic and refuse to let go, leaving their enemies with no choice but to surrender or destroy them. Organizers are often right, but this does not make them popular, even among their own supporters. And Republicans have had far more luck winning elections with Populists than with Organizers.
The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, was an unabashed populist, building up a carefully cultivated image of a rugged frontier individualist. Theodore Roosevelt, the other Republican President on Mount Rushmore, had an image equally built on rugged individualism and hard work.
As a Populist, Eisenhower ended FDR's political dynasty. However his own Organizer running mate lost to a Democratic populist. When he did finally take office, his own personality helped his enemies destroy his administration.
Reagan brought back the Republican Presidency as a Populist, but his own Organizer V.P. couldn't manage to hold on to it beyond a single term, once again losing to a Populist. George W. Bush took back the White House as a Populist, working together with his own Organizer running mate, who avoided any appearance of trying for the big chair after him.
To succeed him, the Republicans brought out an Organizer trying to run as a Populist. Like a Populist, McCain was more defined by his wartime history, than by his career in public office. Unlike Eisenhower however, he was not a fresh face on the electoral circuit, and was a career politician trying to transition to higher office, at a time when old incumbents were not terribly popular.
Sarah Palin was meant to be the wild card, a genuine populist who appealed to the crowd in the old fashioned way. But like Reagan in 1964, her time hadn't arrived yet, instead she was prematurely thrust into the limelight at a time in American history when the media had abandoned any pretense at journalism or fairness, and had stripped off their masks to function as nothing less than virulent left wing propagandists with corporate logos. We all know the results and they were ugly.
So what of the future then? There have only been two Liberal Democratic populist in the White House before. One of them had his term cut short due to an assassination. The other managed to serve out two terms, despite every scandal and attack that was hurled at him. That means whoever the Republicans select to run in 2012 will have a seriously uphill battle to fight.
On the one hand Populism seems a safe bet, on the other hand in a collapsed economy and amid rising scandals, it might be time to play the Organizer card, the steady determined old hand.
To get the nomination, Populists like Palin, Thompson and Giuliani will have to demonstrate that they have more staying power than they have shown until now. Either that or hand the slot to one of the career politicians with no real ideas or values, but professional delivery, such as Romney or Huckabee, by default. With no Organizers likely to show up in the race, 2012 may well be the Populists' last chance to either deliver or fail, and in doing so deal a death blow to the American values they represent.