The Irrepressible Rothbard
Essays of Murray N. Rothbard
Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
1996! THE MORNING LINE
Before last November, there was no point in weighing the various
presidential possibilities for 1996, since elections are always
bound to bring crucial changes; and this one did, and how! Now,
however, a mad early scramble for the Republican nomination has
already begun, and will emerge in full force by this summer. Now
that many states have pushed their 1996 primaries much earlier to
obtain influence over the nomination ("front-loading"), it becomes
more important than ever to get into the race, and to start raising
money, as soon as possible. The standard early ploy is to speak
at Republican or other key gatherings in crucial early primary states,
and to appoint committees to "investigate the potential for entering
the race" (i.e., to see how much money can be raised and how many
supporters can be rallied).
A word of caution: many of the names floating out there are people
who don't seriously expect to get the nomination. What they really
want is the vice-presidential nod, but nobody ever announces:
"I want to run for vice president!" The thing to do is to get your
name out, get some support, and hope that lightning will strike
in the shape of whoever gets the party's nod for president.
THE "EASTERN ESTABLISHMENT"
Dominant in both major parties for decades is what has been loosely
called the "Eastern Establishment," which, in the Republican party,
boils down to a close but sometimes uneasy alliance between two
powerful and wealthy groups: the Rockefellers and their numerous
industrial, corporate, and financial coterie ("the Rockefeller World
Empire") (RWE); and the neoconservative-Wall Street group, the latter
being a tight coalition of neoconservative foundations, academics,
pundits, journalists, and think-tankers, along with their Wall Street
Here we focus on the Republicans; the ruling elites among the Democrats
are in some ways different e.g., multi-gendered, multicultural,
victim groups and the Hard Left, though the Rockefellers and the
left-neocon Wall Streeters are also powerful if not dominant there.
The neocons, who joined the Republican right, and soon took it over,
in the late 1970s, brought to the alliance with the Rockefellers
the crucial opinion-moulding elite (academia, pundits, technocrats,
think-tankers, etc.), plus lots of money from endowed foundations,
originally Old Right, which the neocons managed to capture totally
in the early 1980s. Whereas the Rockefellers undoubtedly have more
money altogether than the neocons, they are obliged to do
things with their money like producing oil whereas
neocon foundation money is free to exert all of its influence in
a singleminded drive for State power. In addition, the moulding
of public opinion is crucial for any wielding of power, since intellectuals
must be relied on to spin the apologia for the exercise of power,
and for getting the public to go along with the policies which violate
all their sound instincts, e.g., higher taxes, government regulation,
foreign aid, open borders, condomania, gun control, affirmative
action, the welfare state, or the virtual expulsion of Christianity
from the public square.
The Establishment within the Republican party is The Enemy,
and always has been. The Eastern Establishment has been the key
force in ruling the country for decades, and has guided the Republican
party into aiding and abetting the Democrats in their continuing
drive toward socialism; in the case of the Establishment, a corporate-statist
socialism. It was in rebellion against this elite that the Old,
pre-Goldwater right, essentially middle class and businessmen from
the Midwestern heartland, waged its determined though losing struggle.
And it was against the kindred Democrat elite that the American
people waged their glorious populist revolution last year.
The composition of the Republican Eastern Establishment, however,
has changed over the decades. From World War II until the 1970s,
they consisted of the Rockefeller World Empire; since the late 1970s,
however, the RWE has been joined by the neocon-Wall Street forces.
In fact, the neocons have successfully achieved primacy over their
Rockefeller allies in dominating the Republican party. One crucial
reason is that the Rockefellers were always openly leftists (or
"moderates" in the whitewash term of the liberal media), so that
Nelson Rockefeller and the phrase "Rockefeller Republican" became
a stench in the nostrils of every conservative, grassroots American.
But the neocons were sneakier; they moved rightward from being Truman-Humphrey
Democrats in the late 1970s; they claimed to be "conservative" and
in short order managed to take control of the entire conservative
How did the neocons accomplish such a feat? For one thing, as self-proclaimed
New York Intellectuals they brought to the Republicans and to the
conservative movement a veneer of High Theory that the party and
the movement had long lacked: and as ardent "anti-Communists" and
"ex"-leftists they were warmly embraced by conservatives as prodigal
children and as knowledgeable comrades in the Great Crusade against
the Soviet Union. Overlooked in this enthusiasm was the fact that
the neocons' anti-Communism was rooted, not in the anti-socialism
of the right, but in an adherence to other, anti-Stalin wings of
the Marxist Church (e.g., Trotskyite, Bukharinite, Menshevik, and,
generally, "right-wing Social Democrat"). This bloodless surrender
to the neocons could never have been achieved without leadership
in this process by the Pope of the Right since the late 1950s; Bill
Buckley and his National Review. Buckley was motivated, not
only by the anti-Soviet Communism common to the right, but even
more by his yearning for respectability and social acceptance in
the fetid hothouse atmosphere of the New York intelligentsiaCan
acceptance that could be secured by the Kristols and the Podhoretzes.
Once they were welcomed into the conservative tent; it was duck
soup for the neocons to take over: propelled by their organizing
skills and their drive for power honed for decades in the Marxist-Leninist
movement, and clinched by their rapid takeover of wealthy foundations
endowed by Old Right heartland businessmen who doubtless have been
spinning rapidly in their graves. Hence, the neocon dominance in
much of the Reaganite movement, especially in foreign policy, in
the upper strata of conservatism, and now in elite sectors of the
THE NEOCON STABLE
Many of those lining up in the presidential race are opportunists
ready to bend to pressure from the most powerful quarters: few are
leaders of genuine principle. But, in light of our analysis, it
is important to distinguish between opportunists (or "pragmatists,"
as they like to be called) who are willing to bend to the popular
will, versus those whose allegiance, and whose sellouts, will not
be in obedience to the popular will but to the malignant elites
of the neocons or the Rockefeller World Empire. In view of the neocons'
overriding strength in the conservative leadership, it is particularly
vital for paleos and populists, for those who yearn to advance the
great American revolution for liberty and against Big Government,
to oppose those whose prime allegiance is owed to the neocon power
elite. While it would be wonderful to nominate a principled paleo,
a genuine populist, we must recognize that we may not be able to
have our druthers, and that it would be far better to nominate a
pragmatist bending to the popular will than someone who is a wholly-owned
subsidiary of the Neocon Empire. This is especially true because
the American people are now dedicated to rolling back Big Government.
Far better, in other words, our opportunist than theirs.
The neocons, as we shall see presently, have a large number of
wholly-owned nominees in their stable; they constitute, in horse-racing
lingo, an "entry." How did they get so many? For one reason, the
way you get to be a potential candidate is to be mentioned
in the media; and the more you get mentioned, the more of a viable
candidate you become. Who controls the number of mentions? In the
Republican-oriented or allied media, the neocons, who constitute
the "respectable" conservative spectrum of journalists, pundits,
"experts," political consultants, and so on. And so neocon favorites
get most of the mentions.
Jack Kemp was the prime neocon candidate for a long time; he has
been the neocon fair-haired boy for almost two decades. Plucked
out of obscurity as a congressman from Buffalo, Kemp became the
Great Thinker, the prince of "progressive" conservatism, the leader
in "outreach" to blacks, gays, and all of the increasingly numerous
ranks of the "oppressed," champion of their "empowerment" and of
the "conservative opportunity society." Kemp's enthusiasm for unions
and for the welfare state was demonstrated in his proudly calling
himself a "Lane Kirkland Republican" (Lane Kirkland is the leftist
longtime head of the AFL-CIO). During the Reagan years, Kemp's devotion
to ever Bigger Government and the welfare state could be covered
up by the exclusive Reaganite emphasis on cutting capital gains
taxes and income taxes in the upper brackets. But when he joined
the Bush cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD),
his odious record in expanding statism and the HUD budget
exposed in devastating critiques by the Mises Institute's Jeff Tucker
began to grate on the conservative grassroots.
Kemp has especially become a cropper in recent years as the conservative
grassroots has become angrier at Big Government and the welfare
state, and in particular as they have emphasized social and cultural
issues. For Kemp's stubborn hostility to cultural conservatism,
his refusal to embrace moral or religious values, has finally lost
him the support of the religious and cultural right. Kemp has at
last become an embarrassment to his neocon masters, and there are
increasing signs that they are preparing to ditch him as a candidate.
Not that the neocons disagree with Kemp's positions; it's
just that in their lust for power, the neocons realize that they
must continue to bamboozle and thereby rule over the religious right
as an essential building block and base of their coalition; therefore,
neocon candidates are expected at least to give due lip-service
to morality and "family values" while getting ready to betray them
in practice. Either through stupidity or stubbornness, Jack Kemp
has refused to accept the open signals and gentle pleas by neocon
pundits to get with the morality rhetoric.
In addition to all that, let's face it, Jack Kemp is a lousy candidate.
It is no accident that he got almost no votes when he ran in the
presidential primaries in 1988. Despite his vaunted "optimism,"
he has none of the optimist Reagan's famed charm; indeed, Kemp never
smiles, and likes to babble on in his squeaky, high-pitched monotone
about supply-side economics, not exactly a winner on the stump.
Like Clinton, Kemp talks too much, but unlike Slick Willie he has
no personal magnetism and no appetite for chatting up the voters.
In recent years, moreover, Kemp has grown testy and has Lost It
in personal appearances and debates a sure way to lose votes.
Jack Kemp, it's a pleasure to say, has Had It.
Whereas Kemp at least made it to Congress on his own, Bill Bennett
has always been a total creature of the neocons. He was nothing,
and had no career, until he was plucked out of the lowest ranks
of obscure, know-nothing academia to become Irving Kristol's creature
as head of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Kristol,
at the beginning of the Reagan administration, had organized a monstrous
and successful smear campaign that deprived the great scholar and
genuine conservative Mel Bradford of that post. From NEH, Bennett
vaulted to become secretary of education during the second Reagan
term. There he advanced the socialistic neocon educational agenda
of nationalizing education under the direction of the federal government.
On the advent of the Clinton administration, neocon foundation money
installed Bennett and Kemp as co-heads of Empower America, twin
presidential possibilities. Bennett was also placed in a host of
lucrative and essentially no-show posts by his munificently funded
Unlike Kemp, Bennett talks about morality and religion all the
time; and indeed, he is the best-selling "expert" on Virtue. For
a while, it looked as if Bennett would be the top neocon candidate,
but one problem is that he has never run for, much less been
elected to, anything. So he has never been tested. Still, Bennett
was able to con the lovable but gullible Christian right into becoming
its favorite candidate, and for a while it looked as if Bennett
were destined to replace Kemp as the preferred neocon candidate.
But then Bennett goofed, admonishing the Christian right that organized
homosexuality should be none of their concern; that in fact lesbianism
is positively benign. Instead, the Christian right should turn their
focus of moral disapproval to the evils of divorce, a battle that
most of us thought had been settled a long time ago.
Bennett's high standing with the Christian right took a predictable
nosedive as a result: a fall accelerated by Bennett and Kemp's joint
trip to California late in the 1994 campaign to denounce the very
popular Proposition 187, which cut off taxpayer funding to illegal
immigrants. The two men jointly cut their political throats at the
behest of their lord and master, Bill Kristol, heir to papa Irving's
neocon throne. Presumably, open borders, and even defiance of the
manifest popular will, means enough to the neocons that they are
willing to sacrifice their two most prominent presidential candidates.
When their master's voice spoke, Bennett and Kemp of course had
to bend the knee. Fortunately, this takes Bennett out of the presidential
THE OTHER NEOCONS
Don't cry for the neocons, however: they have plenty of candidates
left in their stable. Most prominent, and unfortunately also beloved
of the Christian right, is the man once properly derided by Pat
Buchanan as "little Danny Quayle." Quayle benefits from the new
American custom of making a vice president the natural heir to the
throne; in the good old days, vice presidents remained obscure forever
and no one thought that they had any built-in edge for the presidency.
A Quayle nomination would be a disaster; he is perhaps the only
Republican whose stature is lower than Bill Clinton's in the eyes
of the American public. And deservedly so; the man is a flyweight,
his face indelibly stamped with the look of a bewildered kid. His
status as a butt of perpetual ridicule was not simply a creation
of the liberal media; the media found it and were delighted to run
with the news. Only a Danny Quayle would take the main moral stand
of his career in an idiotic confrontation with a fictional TV character.
It is true that his memoirs were a bestseller, but he was incautious
enough to attack his presidential rivals openly, not a move calculated
to endear him to the party faithful. That he is wholly owned by
the neocons is demonstrated by the fact that the evil Bill Kristol
was his control ("chief of staff") throughout his vice presidency,
as well as by the frequency of his joining in neocon smears against
Until the day of writing this article, Dick Cheney would be included
in our roster of neocon entrants. Cheney's withdrawal, however,
has just been announced. A cautious, uninspired and uninspiring
Gerry Ford liberal, Cheney became George Bush's cautious and uninspired
secretary of defense. Only the fact that he became a wholly-owned
neocon accounts for the durability of his being mentioned and cosseted
by Republican conservatives. But while Cheney has been running for
president for a long time, his campaign never caught fire. To become
a presidential candidate, it is not enough to be cosseted and adopted
by the elites; you also have to be able to get votes and support
among the public. But no one liked Dick Cheney no one, that
is, except corporate executives, and whatever their strengths and
virtues, corporate executives do not constitute a very large bloc
of the voting population.
I saw the same curious phenomenon at work in the 1980 campaign.
An old and dear friend of mine, a retired corporation executive,
told me that while his heart was with Reagan, he was supporting
for president John Connally. "Why Connally? I asked, in surprise.
"Because Connally can win," he replied solemnly.
So spectacularly wrong was my friend's judgment, that I suspect
another very different factor was at work in the disastrous Connally,
as well as the Cheney, presidential races. There was apparently
something about the personalities of Connally and Cheney that appealed
to corporate executives. Maybe they looked every inch the
CEO: I don't know. Perhaps a kind corporate exec reader will enlighten
us further. At any rate, Dick Cheney no longer constitutes a problem.
But there is another dark horse neocon entrant left: one who has
been running for a long time, who remains virtually unknown to the
American public and yet who keeps being mentioned over and
over as a viable presidential candidate. He keeps being mentioned,
as we have noted, because he is yet another wholly-controlled neocon
stooge. I refer, of course, to the sainted Lamar Alexander, former
governor of Tennessee a long while back. As Bush's secretary of
education, Alexander pushed the nationalized education plan of his
malignant deputy, neocon theoretician Chester ("Checker") Finn.
Since Alexander has been called "everybody's (hah!) No. 2 favorite,"
don't be surprised if he gets the vice-presidential nomination,
either as a "conservative" or as a "moderate" "southern governor,"
depending on what label is needed by the neocons at the time of
the Republican convention.
That leaves us with the newest and perhaps most dangerous neocon
of them all, Speaker Newt Gingrich. Most dangerous because his sometimes
flaming revolutionary rhetoric makes rank-and-file conservatives
think that he is a red-hot opponent of Big Government and champion
of the right-wing populist revolution. Newt is anything but. He
is a Big Government man to his toes, a long-time champion of Franklin
Roosevelt, the New Deal, and the welfare state, even more ardent
than the Democrats in his devotion to the New World Order and to
the extermination of Serbs or of anyone else who gets in the way
of neocon-imposed "global democracy."
We shall be dealing more with Newt in Triple R. Suffice
it to say here that he is a total neocon, but with a wacko, futurist,
technobabble, psycho-babble twist. A half-baked pretend intellectual,
loaded with motivational-managerial jargon, he imposes reading lists
on his Republican charges, reading lists loaded with books by his
futurist, technobabble advisers. Furthermore, as keen observers
from different parts of the ideological spectrum have already noted,
his personality is disturbingly akin to Clinton's. Like Clinton,
Gingrich talks too much, babbling incessantly on tangential topics;
like Clinton, he changes his mind rapidly; and like Clinton he brings
with him a team of kooky, Utopian-minded statist advisers determined
to drag America into "The Future." And, like Clinton, Gingrich has
already demonstrated an enormous appetite for personal power. Already,
he has made himself the most powerful Speaker of the House since
the notorious Joe Cannon. And, at least somewhat like Clinton, Gingrich
already brings with him a baggage of ethical problems. He seems
to lack a personal ethical compass. Distressingly volatile, even
in our post-Cold War age, Newt still makes one uncomfortable about
the prospect of his finger being anywhere close to the nuclear button.
For make no mistake: Newt Gingrich is a definite possibility for
the presidential race in '96. Already the rumor is hot in Washington
that Newt will build on his Speakership to run for the White House.
Through his massive fundraising for his own personal GOPAC, he has
built up a formidable machine of House Republicans beholden to him
throughout the country.
OUTSIDE THE NEOCONS
To sum up: the prime overriding task of paleos and populists for
the Republican race in '96 is to stop The Enemy: to oppose the nomination
of any and all neocon-owned and controlled candidates: that is,
to stop Kemp, Bennett, Quayle, Alexander, or Gingrich. They are
all, to put it simply, unacceptable. No matter how unprincipled
or opportunistic their rivals may be, they may be subject to pressure
and influence, and are therefore not entirely hopeless: but the
neocon-handled are beyond the Pale.
How about the Rockefellers? Unlike the old days, there are no Rockefeller
stooges in this race; the unlamented George Bush was one, and his
fate demonstrates where the straight Rockefeller types are today:
nowhere. The only possible such nominee is the once famed James
R. Baker, Bush's former heir apparent. Once the prince of the liberal
media, Baker's total floperoo as alleged savior of the Bush campaign
has knocked him totally out of the box. Actually, before that debacle,
Baker, as secretary of state, was stabbed in the back by fellow
cabinet member Jack Kemp and the neocons for what they deemed insufficient
devotion to the State of Israel, which was the major reason
and not his tax increase for the neocon knifing of Bush in
1992 and their overt as well as covert support for Bill Clinton.
Baker has no chance, and of course this is no great loss to the
right-wing populist cause.
The favorite of the left-libertarians within the Republican party,
as well as of the Republican gays, is Massachusetts Governor William
Weld, whose alleged devotion to budget-cutting and fiscal conservatism
is as phony as his commitment to gay "rights" and to gay affirmative
action is real. A wealthy preppie patrician, Weld, in both content
of policy and in personal style is a virtual standing provocation
to Christian conservatives, and therefore stands zero chance of
Other possibles from the left fringe of the party are Bushie Secretary
of Labor Lynn Martin, hoping for lightning to strike as vice president
and Woman; and Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who has long
been an announced candidate for the White House in '96. But the
Year of the Woman is long gone, and 1994 saw the remarkable uprising
of the Angry White Male (who voted Republican no less than 2 to
l). As for Specter, in addition to being Jewish, he is on the far
left fringe of Republicans in the Senate. Specter has only done
two conservative things in his life: he was tough in questioning
Anita Hill (for which he has been abjectly apologizing to organized
Womanhood ever since), and, mindful of his presidential prospects,
not joining Theresa Heinz in trying to sabotage the recent successful
senatorial race of conservative Republican Rick Santorum. (Theresa
is the beloved widow of left-liberal multi-millionaire Jack Heinz,
who died in a plane crash.) Sorry: not good enough. Presumably Specter
too is hoping to emerge as the first Jewish vice presidential candidate
in American history. Happily, no chance.
The probable frontrunner: Everyone knows Bob Dole, and knows him
all too well. The ultimate Insider, he has been around too long,
is too old in an era when Washington insiders are rightly deeply
suspect. Not only that: Dole is a statist to the core; he is High-Tax
Dole, Dole the Compromiser, always ready to cave in to the Democracy.
Furthermore, in an age when politicians are expected to be friendly,
smiling, and charming, Bob Dole, to the contrary, is bitter and
sardonic. As far as I am concerned, that bitterness is his only
attractive quality; but my view is scarcely the typical voter reaction.
Sellouty and statist in content; snarling and bitter in form: not
the best recipe for national success. Indeed, in national affairs
and politics outside Kansas, Dole is a perpetual loser. He is trusted
by no one, and quite rightly, except perhaps by Kansas agricultural
interests. Though he might well be nominated, the selection of Dole
would bring electoral disaster to the Republican party.
Now we get to the more interesting candidates, from the paleo-populist
perspective. Gramm is first of all perhaps the brightest of the
candidates: unlike Gingrich, he is an intelligent academic, having
taught economics at the distinguished Friedmanite economics department
of Texas A&M. Unlike the other candidates, when Gramm sells out
principle, which he will do often, he knows he is selling
out and why, which I guess is a virtue. Since he knows better, he
knows that liberty, the free market, and small government
is the proper policy for the country. Since libertarianism and small
government has now become the will of the grassroots public, Gramm
has proven to be amenable to populist grassroots pressure. Since
he bends to the political winds, and since he knows in his heart
that we are right, he is the likeliest of all the major candidates
to be an opportunist in our direction. Unlike the above-mentioned
candidates, Gramm is neither a leftist, nor is he owned by either
the neocons or the Rockefellers. Hence, with him, the populist cause
has a fighting chance for significant influence.
An interesting example of such successful pressure came in the
critical fight for Texas Republican chairman in 1994, and for consequent
control of the ever-stronger Texas party. Phil Gramm and his senatorial
ally, Kay Bailey Hutchison, in the course of her triumphal reelection
over trumped-up criminal charges brought by the Democrats, joined
in pushing the selection of right-centrist Congressman Joe Barton
for chair. Barton was opposed, from the left, by a liberal Republican
Woman, heroine of course of the liberal media, and from the right
by the paleo Tom Pauken, a former Reagan official who was the candidate
both of the Christian right and of libertarian Republicans. Pauken,
who was of course demonized as a Christian by the media, has always
been friendly to sensible libertarians, and his successful race
is an inspiring example of the ability of Christian conservatives
and libertarians to join in a common cause.
Tom Pauken, last summer, was the candidate of the mighty grassroots
people's revolution against Big Government. At the convention, shrewdly
perceiving the groundswell to the right, and being a rightist at
heart himself, Gramm, instead of petulantly insisting on Barton
to the last, had Barton withdraw his candidacy, and got behind Pauken,
who swept to victory to the anguish of the media.
In short, put enough right-wing populist pressure on Gramm, and,
his head joining his heart he will cave; he will be happy to be
our opportunist. That cannot be said of any of the dedicated
neocon or Rockefeller candidates.
All his political life California Governor Pete Wilson was the
very model of a liberal Republican: high tax and cultural liberal,
he was long the bane of California conservatives and Christian rightists.
But he had one important virtue: he was not under Rockefeller
or neocon control. If he was a "pragmatist" or opportunist, he was
at least his own opportunist. By the summer of 1994, high
tax Wilson looked doomed to defeat, and left-Democrat Woman Kathleen
Brown, of the famed Democrat Brown family, was far ahead in the
And then Pete Wilson did a remarkable thing: he showed brilliant
"political entrepreneurship" by following the public will, even
if he had to change his political views a full 180 degrees. Sensing
the public will, and being happy to adjust to it, he had the courage
to go the whole way: he swung sharply rightward, lowering taxes,
and latching on to the one political issue where the mass of the
California public stood totally opposed by every single one of the
powerful financial and opinion-moulding elites in the nation: open
borders. In particular, Wilson was the only leading California politician
of either party to support Prop. 187, which barred taxpayer funding
to illegal immigrants. Wilson had the enormous courage to weigh
in on the side of the people and against the hysterical opposition
by all of the elites: all the media, economists, academics, neocons,
Big Business, Big Unions, Big Medicine, Big Teachers, you name it.
Offhand, it might seem odd to brand as "courageous" taking the side
of the voting public; but as we all know, in reality, it does take
enormous grit for any political leader to incur the febrile opposition
of all the financial, political, and media elites in the country.
But in doing so, Pete Wilson's gamble paid off: and he rode to a
reelection sweep on the 2:1 tidal wave of Prop. 187.
Not only that: Wilson is consistent. He continues to support national
immigration restrictions and cracking down on illegals, he supports
the constitutional struggles for Prop 187, and now he has taken
the lead on the outrageous "motor-voter" measures of the Democrats,
which essentially act as an open invitation to voting fraud and
to leftist voting by illegal aliens. Motor voter laws and decisions
makes the old Tammany Hall "voting cemeteries" seem like child's
In short, Pete Wilson is our opportunist extraordinaire.
He is willing to follow the public will, regardless of how many
neocon or Rockefeller or other Big Government elites he has to oppose.
I never thought I'd live to be saying from the right what
the New York Times and other establishment media have for
decades been saying smugly from the left. As politicians and presumed
conservatives sell out in their direction, these media will hail
them for "growing in office," for "maturing," "growing in stature,"
and "accepting the responsibilities of governing." Well, by God,
Pete Wilson has indeed grown in stature and in office, he has matured,
and he has accepted the responsibilities of governing. He is governor
of the biggest state in the Union, he is a genuine "Comeback Kid,"
and he will be a fascinating possibility for '96. Before he died,
Richard Nixon, no mean political analyst, predicted that Pete Wilson
would be reelected, and that he would become the Republican nominee
for president in 1996. Wilson has vowed to remain governor, but
such vows in politics are made to be broken. Don't sell Pete Wilson
short in '96.
WHY CAN'T WE MENTION SOME PEOPLE? TWO SOUTHERN GOVERNORS
In political and social movements, as in sports or war, it is fatal
to spend all one's time on the defensive. So far, we have all sat
back and let the neocon media mention names, and thereby create
their own boomlets for presidential hopefuls. We must begin to think
offense, we must attack, take the initiative, create our
own possibilities. Why can't we start mentioning names, and
develop our own presidential possibilities?
In recent years, we have all gotten beyond the view that a presidential
nominee must come from a large state. The Democrats have already
saddled us with two small-state southern governors as president:
Jimmy Carter and Slick Willie. But we have two magnificent
small-state governors of our own. So why don't we start pushing
them, and try to create our very own groundswell? I offer two excellent
candidates: both successful and sterling paleos. First: For president,
Alabama Republican Governor Fob James. Fob James is a foursquare,
hardcore paleolibertarian. A Democratic governor of Alabama during
the 1980s, he just came roaring back as a Republican, upsetting
folksy liberal Democrat governor Jim Folsom, son of the famous Governor
"Kissin' Jim" Folsom of decades ago. Last year, Fob led an upsurge
of Alabama Republicans throughout the state, wiping out the old
memories of nineteenth-century Republicans as the instruments of
coercion and Reconstruction.
Second, we offer Mississippi Republican Governor Kirk Fordice,
a hardcore paleoconservative, champion of the view, as against hostile
neocons, that America is indeed a "Christian nation." At a recent
post-election meeting, Fordice challenged the Gingrichian future
schlockmeisters Al and Heidi Toffler, insisting that the American
people don't want to leap into a future cyberspace; what they want
is a return to the peace, quiet, and charm of American life in the
1950s. And so we also offer: For president, Kirk Fordice.
There: let it never be said that we are always "negative" about
political leaders! Wouldn't it be wonderful, if, like the neocons,
we could create our own narrow ideological spectrum, all
the way from, say, James to Fordice? Anyone within that spectrum
would be welcome!
WHAT ABOUT PAT?
Finally, we come to Pat Buchanan, whom we backed enthusiastically
in the 1992 primary. Pat has already appointed a committee to investigate
his possible candidacy, and there is every indication that he is
going to run for president. Obviously, we are sympathetic to his
candidacy. Pat wants to Take America Back for the old culture and
the Old Republic; and he is one of the few, if not the only, candidate
on the horizon who is not only not controlled by the Rockefellers
or the neocons, but who would take a principled paleo and America
First let us call it a "pro-American" position.
But Pat should be asking himself some key questions before he decides
to launch a campaign. In 1992, the focus of his campaign was easy:
Pat raised the banner of all conservative Republicans who felt betrayed
by George Bush. But Bush is gone now; we are in a different era,
an era of an emerging populist revolution against Clinton and Big
Government, being led and misled by Speaker Gingrich and the rest
of the Republican elites. Pat needs to define the focus of his second
campaign in the current historical context.
We know what Pat should be doing: He is in a unique position
to take up the reins of leading a so far inchoate and leaderless
grassroots populist revolution against the egalitarian, collectivist,
internationalist ruling elites. This is a revolution of white Euro-males,
and Pat needs to focus on their grievances and concerns: their focus
should be his focus as well.
What are these concerns? Briefly: high taxes, Big Government regulation
(including victimology, affirmative action, anti-human environmentalism);
the welfare system and the welfare state; violent crime, including
inner-city crime; gun control; foreign aid; foreign military intervention;
world government and managed world trade; immigration by hordes
of foreigners not assimilated into American culture; the secular
attack on the Christian religion.
Right now, there are some troubling rumors that Pat intends to
focus almost exclusively on protectionist arguments against foreign
imports. It is fine and correct to denounce Nafta, Gatt, and all
the other internationalist arrangements for managed bureaucratic
trade in the name of "free trade." But the populist grassroots movement
is much more than that. It aims to restore the vital Tenth Amendment
and to roll back gun control Why has Pat failed to mention the gun
What Pat must do is to raise the banner of right-wing populism:
if Ralph Nader and the rank-and-file of the AFL-CIO rally behind
Pat's candidacy, that's fine. But a coalition with pro-American
(as against pro-foreign, or pro-internationalist) liberals is all
well and good, provided that the left joins in on terms laid
down by the populist right. What Pat needs to guard against is getting
entrapped, in pursuit of such a coalition, into becoming just another
variety of "Lane Kirkland Republican." We don't think it will happen,
but it is important to get the campaign guidelines straight at the
Most lines of strategy for 1996 are necessarily murky. For one
thing, no one really knows if there will be a Perotvian populist
third party in 1996, with or without Perot as the candidate. It
is even possible, though not likely, that there will be five
major parties and presidential candidates in 1996: Democrat, Republican,
Jesse Jackson left, Tsongas-Powell center, Perotvian right-center,
and a Buchananite or whatever Hard Right. In this murky and volatile
situation, the important thing for us paleo-populists is that we
find a candidate as soon as possible who will lead and develop the
cause and the movement of right-wing populism, to raise the standard
of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic.
Pat Buchanan has the opportunity to lead this glorious cause and
to fashion it into a viable, coherent, and powerful political movement
and party. Certainly he has the principles and he has the intelligence
to do so. Does he have the will?