Author Archives: devalettecht

Re: Hold Open The Gates!!

Commenter Bjorn takes issue with my assertion that the Vice President is a valuable prize:

“It isn’t obvious to me how much power and influence a Vice President can expect to exert. Dan Quayle was the VP choice designed to calm the frustrations of the hard pro-life crowd, who didn’t trust the pro-choice leaning George HW Bush. How much power and influence is Quayle said to have had?”

While of course various VPs have had varying degrees of influence, I think there is some value to Rand Paul controlling the Office of the Vice President of the United States.

From Wiki:

“The Office of the Vice President includes personnel who directly support or advise the Vice President of the United States. The Office is headed by the Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States, currently Steve Ricchetti. The Office also provides staffing and support to the Second Lady of the United States. It is primarily housed in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, with offices for the Vice President also in the West Wing, the U.S. Capitol and in the Vice President’s official residence.”

Take for example, the position of Chief of Staff to the Vice President, the office made famous by Scooter Libby during the Cheney administration. What influence did a Dan Quayle have?

Dan Quayle hired as his Chief of Staff to the Vice President of the United States ….William Kristol!
The wiki article goes on to list 18 other positions of promenince hired by the Vice President and if even 1 of those positions goes paleocon, that will be the first paleocon in the White House since Faith Ryan Whittlesey ran the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs for Ronald Reagan in 1985 (a position now held by Valerie Jarrett).

OK, April Fools. Pat lasted until March 1987.

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Hold Open The Gates!!

In last week’s Amconmag article “The Neoconservative Cursus Honorum, Phillip Giraldi reverse-engineers the system that the neoconservatives used to subvert the Right:

“If one looks at the careers of 30 well-known neoconservatives, one notes that there are a number of stops that pop up on many of the resumes, a progression that might well be described as something like a cursus honorum whereby the neoconservative aspirant is afforded status and credibility before stepping out onto the national or international stage.”

More specifically:

“…starting out in elite academia and then bouncing from position to position inside and outside the government, aided at every step by others in the movement. The neoconservatives benefit particularly from their ownership of a number of foundations and institutes, the aforementioned alphabet soup, that provide resting places between university and government positions, complete with salaries and important-sounding titles. Many also are provided with lucrative opportunities in the private sector that free them to subsequently concentrate on the true task at hand, which is shaping U.S. foreign policy.”

In a fascinating juxtaposition, Jim Antle last week wrote about the declining power of the few remaining foreign policy realists in his Amconmag blogpost “Is James Baker Too Realist for the Republican Party?”:

“The GOP’s most hawkish national-security hands want to maintain a monopoly on foreign-policy advice for Republican presidents and other elected officials. As the James Bakers age out of government service, they don’t want any younger realists trying to replace him in the GOP.”

Meanwhile, we Paleoconservatives have been almost completely exiled from all spheres of political power. Now that the same is happening to those in the “realist” camp, the neoconservatives have nearly completed their chain of impregnable ziggurats from which they can hatch their plots in safety and comfort.

A major theme expressed here in the Conservative Heritage Times has been the necessity of building a Paleoconservative “bench team”, and several posts have decried the lack of Paleoconservatives with “plausible resumes” who can lead our movement.

I have been back and forth on Rand Paul, but this is the pro-Rand line of reasoning I find most compelling. His victory, or even a strong showing, holds back the day we are irrevocably exiled from all power. Again, Jim Antle:

“The bigger the Paul vote is, the more likely a Republican candidate not named Paul will covet it. This is especially true since there was a large presidential vote for the Libertarian Party in 2012. There are a few GOP candidates whose foreign-policy views are largely unformed, with Scott Walker and John Kasich being two of the best examples. Mitt Romney is a known panderer not bound by past positions who got along well socially with Ron Paul.

It’s also necessary to diversify the set of foreign-policy advisers available to future Republican presidents. Even if a Walker or Kasich gets elected, the qualified professionals they’ll have to choose from when gaining national-security counsel will be almost uniformly hawkish. A Rand campaign can bring more realists and libertarians into party circles.”

In fact, one realistic and attainable goal is the possibility I heard the other day…. a strong Rand Paul showing, coupled with an early primary exit, sets the stage for a Walker/Paul ticket.

If that could mean the gates are held open for a few of our favorite Paleoconservatives to get White House experience- quietly building a bench team, building plausible resumes- then it is well worth pursuing.

St. Benedict For Me, But Not For Thee

In yesterday’s Amconmag, Rod Dreher explains that “I think it is time to consider legal action at the federal level to compel vaccination.”

Setting aside the merits of vaccines themselves, I think it is astounding that the man who developed the “Benedict Option” is so willing to use the power of the government…the Federal government no less, to enforce his utopian ideals.

It is astounding that the man who, in the context of forced acceptance of homosexuality in the corporate workplace, once said:

 It doesn’t take a paranoid to see where this is going. It just takes someone who has worked for a corporation, and who has seen how powerful the phrase “hostile work environment” can be. It’s not “persecution.” But it is something. And it is real.

Now, in another context, says:

 Aside from legal action, we are going to have to make anti-vaxx a culturally unacceptable viewpoint to hold.

I think a concise refutation of Dreher (a man who once claimed to be as mistrustful of big business as he was of big government) comes from commenter “Tommy” commenting in Dreher’s original article:

… if vaccines become law. I certainly wouldn’t put it past congressmen who are buddied up with pharma lobbyists to require unnecessary vaccines that will, in the end, be a boon to pharma and a boon to said congressmen.

The mechanisms for enforcement Dreher and his readers advocate include social ostracism, employment discrimination, and travel restrictions. But Dreher’s own “Law of Merited Impossibility” would dictate that “Medical Kidnappings” aren’t out of the question.

Look, this is coming. This is the new world. This is post-Christian America. You will hear the Law of Merited Impossibility people yelling that this will never happen, but when it does, you people will deserve it, to try to shout down your concerns, and to hide from themselves the illiberal truth of what they’re doing. But it’s happening, and you had better get ready for it, and get your children ready for it, because the people driving this thing believe so strongly in their own virtue. Error has no rights. — Rod Dreher

Not With a Bang, But a Duck Call

Rod Dreher today revisits the difference between paleoconservatives and everybody else:

“My conservatism is primarily cultural, social, and intellectual. Hers was also cultural and social, but it was more temperamental than intellectual… she had a reflexive disdain for intellectualism. She saw it as an effete indulgence at best”

I see this coming and going. Even people who have every cultural reason to be paleoconservative (traditional Catholics, for instance) enthusiastically support the establishment agenda because they, as Red once put it, don’t understand the philosophy behind what the brand of conservatism they have bought into.

Not us, though. We paleos are doomed to see and understand. What is our reward, Rod?

Hence the pathos of those intellectual conservatives… they encounter liberalism articulated with a cultural sophistication that, even if it doesn’t seduce them, amplifies the alienation they feel from their own tribe.

A very eloquent was of describing the red pill, isn’t it? He describes the consequences of those who have chosen to remain on the “blue pill” team eloquently as well:

And whether consciously or not, they embraced a right-of-center version of emotivism: the idea that feelings are a reliable and sufficient guide to truth and right conduct.

That is pure Palinism, yes? She has good “instincts”…

Dreher’s call to action, other than a generic recommendation to “engage”, is quite a decent idea…. one can look for ideological allies among the private Classical Christian schools that have begun to be crop up. Not a bad insight.

But for a really inspiring call to arms, for a true reminder of why we fight, I had to dust off the June 2006 issue of Chronicles, which is not available online. In it, Chilton Williamson Jr. writes:

“Whoever wishes to defend and preserve our disintegrating civilization ought to minimize his time spent with the news and devote the hours saved to reading poetry and literature; listening to the great composers and studying great works of art; filling his house with the finest furniture, china, silverware, and crystal he can afford; giving elegant dinners for his friends and other like-minded acquaintances in short, refining himself as a work of high civilization and establishing his household as civilization in miniature.

Better yet, he should set aside the propaganda, half-truths, and outright lies of which most of the news consists and turn his hand to painting a picture, composing a string quartet, writing a novel, and doing it without thought of fame, fortune, or influence. Good and honest work, like civilization itself, is its own reward, with effects that radiate, like an act of charity, infinitely through the universe.”

 

 

Re: Is Rand the Best We Can Do?

As the Rand Paul 2016 campaign gathers momentum, I can’t help but dream wistfully of the hopes shared by many fellow Paleocons- that of a more ideologically pure “message” candidate.

The 2012 POTUS election cycle gave us quite a few “message” candidates (of all different stripes) to examine.

Fred Karger, a “log cabin” Republican with a D.C. background, spent nearly $600K, but was not able to participate in any debates, nor did he participate in the Ames Straw Poll. He was, however, on the primary or caucus ballot in six states, plus Puerto Rico (where he came in fourth!).

Former Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, at the time a sitting congressman, was virtually unknown outside his district. He spent a little over $500K, was invited to no debates, but did participate in the Ames straw poll, and did receive a fair amount of media attention via interviews.

Former Governor Buddy Roemer, a former US Rep and a former governor of Louisiana, garnered a bit more attention. While he didn’t participate in the Ames Straw Poll, he did appear on many more ballots than did Rep. McCotter, spending $672K for the privilege.

I think the most instructive example for us is not found in the last election cycle, however, but in the 2008 campaign.

In 2006, Republican businessman John Cox launched a very implausible campaign for President. He spent significant time in Iowa and New Hampshire, he did participate in the Ames straw poll, and he was invited to one debate. His campaign reported total expenses of about $1M. Moreover, according to Wikipedia, the Cox campaign had committee chairmen in 33 states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

If we can duplicate the success of John Cox…that is, swooping in, creating a small electoral network, forcing a hearing of our ideas in at least one debate, acquainting Iowa voters with a Paleo message this Summer in Ames, conditioning a generation of younger Paleocons with national electoral experience, and then getting out before we hamper Rand Paul, the effort will be well worth it.

So who has the $1M?