It is all transpiring as I have foreseen.
Not only has the Republican
leadership in both houses of Congress completely capitulated to the
Democrats, on every point, in crafting the October 2013 "budget agreement" (i.e., signing
terms of unilateral Republican surrender); in doing so, the GOP also has signaled
that it will not even try to exercise any of its lawful leverage to
oppose any Democratic initiative in the future. On any
such occasion, both sides now know that the Democrats inevitably will
engineer some new "crisis"; that they and their media lapdogs will blame
it on the Republicans; and that the Republicans -- terrified about
being unpopular -- will cave.
Thus, what I years ago labeled the
policy of "anticipatory capitulation" is now rooted in the Republican
DNA. Looking down the road, they will notice and anticipate any
potential confrontation in which they will be subjected to
criticism . . . and terrified over that prospect, they will surrender
preemptively. They already are doing this on the immigration issue, for example:
working feverishly behind the scenes to engineer legislation that
essentially anticipates and preemptively ratifies everything that the
Democrats have ever dreamed of enacting (in other words, a new "Dream
Conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh say they are "mystified" (his word) by how and why the GOP could so completely
implode as any kind of alternative (let alone "opposition party") to the
Democrats. Readers here know my answer:
He who shapes the Narrative, wins.
The Democrats have a Narrative. It is built on a primitive
philosophical view of social relationships: a world of zero-sum
tribalism, where all wealth is "social" and fixed in quantity; where it
is not the product of individuals ("You didn't build that!"), but of the tribe, and thus tribally
owned; where anyone's gain therefore comes only at the expense of
someone else's loss; and thus where a benevolent Ruling Class elite must
decide "fair" distributions of tribal wealth among all the tribal
members. This atavistic worldview goes back to the dark days when people
lived in caves; ironically, today it is labeled "progressive."
The Republicans, by contrast, have no Narrative. That's because they
long ago abandoned the only plausible philosophical basis for a
counter-Narrative to that of the Democrats: a worldview of creative,
self-responsible individualism. In that worldview, human productivity
means that wealth is not limited or fixed in quantity; it is produced by
and therefore the property of individuals, not the tribe; social
relationships therefore are not a zero-sum proposition, where some
people gain at the expense of others: instead, they are "win-win,"
because productive people trade rather than take; and finally, no Ruling
Class elite is wanted or needed, because it is both parasitical and
This modern, individualist worldview arose from
the Enlightenment Era, and it represented a revolutionary advance over
primitive tribalism. It is the worldview upon which Republicans could have fashioned a host of coherent, compelling, inspiring narratives. But
it is a worldview that the party's liberal RINOs reject on principle, and that
its Establishment pragmatists never understood.
The only serious
repository for this individualist worldview in contemporary politics
lies in one wing of the Republican Party: a loose, informal coalition of
those labeled "constitutional conservatives," "libertarian populists,"
and "Tea Partiers." In the Senate, this wing comprises only a minority
of the Republican caucus, which is still dominated by liberal RINOs
(think John McCain) and pragmatic Establishment careerists (think Mitch
McConnell). In the House, the conservative/libertarian/Tea Party wing
actually constitutes a majority of the Republican caucus. However, among
all House members, they constitute a numerical minority. That's because
there are just enough turncoat RINOs and Establishment types (including
Boehner and the leadership) to give Nancy Pelosi and the House
Democrats a de facto voting majority on serious issues.
That explains what is happening today (October 16, 2013) in the pivotal congressional budget
vote, which ratifies not just everything that the Democrats wanted, but
even ObamaCare funding.
First, in the Senate, Mitch McConnell
and the Republican leadership "negotiated" terms of total and
unconditional surrender to Harry Reid and the Democrats, rolling over
the GOP "Tea Party" minority led by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. Then, in the
House, the Republican Establishment leader, John Boehner, agreed to let
the Senate bill come to the floor for a straight vote (one he could have
blocked procedurally). Even though the majority of House Republicans, who are
principled Tea Partiers and constitutional conservatives, remain utterly
opposed to this bill and will vote a resounding no, there are just enough RINOs and
Establishment "moderates" who will join Pelosi and the Dems to pass the
bill there, too.
And so, the Republican leadership in both
houses has set in cement the existing membership roles within the
Bipartisan Ruling Class: The collectivist Democrats will remain in
charge, setting the progressive agenda as the Evil Party, while the careerist
Republicans will act reliably as their passive rubber stamp, ratifying the progressive agenda as the Enabler Party.
Where does this leave things?
Right now, there is a concerted bipartisan effort to use Saul Alinsky tactics to
destroy what I'll call the "Principled Individualist Wing" of the
Republican Party: the constitutional conservatives, libertarian
populists, and Tea Partiers. The Democratic left and the GOP's
RINO/Establishment types will try to isolate, freeze, personalize, and
demonize this Principled Individualist Wing -- starting, of course, with
Ted Cruz, the individual they most fear, and therefore must destroy.
It's already begun, but watch this effort ramp up in coming months.
My recommendations now?
First, all-out war within the GOP against the RINOs and the Establishment.
After all, that war has already been declared against Principled
Individualists by the RINOs; so there is no point in pretending that the
two factions can ever peacefully co-exist within the same party. They
disagree in principle; no compromise of principles is logically
possible. One or the other faction must go.
In the House, the
Principled Individualist Wing has already achieved a numerical advantage
within the GOP caucus. But they have not yet moved to seize the reins
of party leadership there. Until they do, they should realize that when
push comes to shove, Boehner/Cantor/McCarthy will always cave and sell
them out at the last minute, as they did today, by letting the Senate
budget bill come to the floor. That was a key decision; Boehner had the power to reject it; but the leadership team caved. In doing so, they
proved, once and for all, that they ultimately are craven careerists,
not principled leaders; that they are resigned to being de facto
enablers of the Democrats; and that they are laughable as articulate
advocates of any alternative Narrative.
In the Senate, the
Principled Individualist Wing is a smaller but growing minority. Within
the past two years they have established a strong beachhead within that
body. Their members, though few, are young, superlatively articulate,
and utterly intransigent -- in contrast to the old, mealy-mouthed,
weak-kneed Establishment dinosaurs, who won't be around much longer. The
goal here must be to hasten their departure, to knock off the worst of
the Establishment and RINO population and replace them during upcoming
primaries so as to achieve Individualist dominance within the Senate GOP
As that happens, the most important thing that must
occur within the Republican Party is that its Principled Individualists
learn how to craft NARRATIVES. First, an overarching individualist "meta-Narrative," telling the compelling, inspiring, positive vision of
individual productive achievement and personal fulfillment under
liberty. Second, drawing upon that meta-Narrative, specific "narratives"
for specific issues and circumstances.
Principled Individualists must
stop communicating to the public at large in terms of wonkish
abstractions and eye-glazing political-economic jargon. Instead, they
must personalize and dramatize the issues, using the stories of real
people who are either examples of heroic individualism, or victims of
At a time when millions and millions of
Americans are being individually victimized by leftist policies, who is
telling their stories? Where are their champions? Why aren't they
brought to appear, one after the other, before the cameras at
congressional hearings? Why don't Principled Individualist politicians
stand beside them at rallies, create photo-ops with them before local
media, tell their stories again and again in their speeches? Where are
the victims of ObamaCare, for example? Why do GOP congressmen ever
bother to show up at a news conference without a host of them serving as
their backdrop -- without telling their stories, or, better yet,
letting them tell their own?
For many decades, the Democrats
have become masters of the technique of turning victimization into
political theater, in order to win public emotional sympathy. They have
exploited such emotional sympathy to steamroller over every logical,
theoretical, and empirical argument . . . they have none of the
latter on their side. By contrast, while having all of those latter
things on their side, why don't Principled Individualists use them as
the basis for compelling, dramatic, sympathetic narratives? If they did
that, then their arguments -- both logical and emotional --
would gain the force of a tidal wave . . . as Ronald Reagan knew and
This, I believe, is the path forward for
Principled Individualists, whether within the Republican Party or out
here in Flyover Country.
Regarding the latter: I counsel you not to wait
for some Man on a White Horse to ride into Washington as your champion.
You have the power and intelligence to tell persuasive personal
stories, drawing upon and applying to your own lives, families, friends,
and circumstances. You can tell personal stories that embody and
romanticize the aspirational elements of the American dream -- and that
also dramatize and demonstrate the personal costs, tragedies, and
victimizations generated by progressive statism.
If each of us
does that, in his or her own life, then sad days like today in
Washington will soon become fewer and less dispiriting. And eventually,
we will be able to wake up each morning actually looking forward to
watching a TV news program.
Take heart. We're only just beginning.