Free the Elephants!

The direct mail guru and key player in the conservative juggernaut that began in the 1970s, Richard Vigeurie, was featured this week on the only television news you can trust — Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart..

Vigeurie has a book out called America’s Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power. He said some things on the Daily Show that are illuminating, particularly for those who think the world is ending because of our fire-breathing President.

Well, the President does seem to be on fire, what with the glow and all. And something is ending. It’s just not what you think.

Jon Stewart said the new right dominated all politics, and the Democrats and any other viable opposition were in organizational disarray. True enough …except wait!

Vigeurie denied that conservatives were in control of our government. Of course, he is absolutely correct — Vigeurie, Paul Craig Roberts and so many others, understand the difference between un-American Jacobins agonizing and aching for power, and plain old American conservatives. And regular conservatives, even harnessing modern communications technology, are not dangerous — if anything, they play a role as a kind of national conscience, a useful function in a crazed democracy.

Always advising us to beware of power, for it corrupts. Always reminding us of the "rules" and our Constitution. Telling us not always to do what our friends are doing, save our money, pursue moderation in all things, watch out for those seven sins. Especially pride, lust, and gluttony that in government generate hate, empire and war.

People that play the conscience rarely get too organized, and usually do not lead large groups, for this too often requires sacrifice of principle. Like George W. Bush says, innocent as a child, "It’s hard… It’s hard work."

Jon Stewart gets this, too. He asked whether conservatives in delivering the Bush Presidency had traded their conservative principles to do it. Vigeurie said, "No, of course not!" and got one of the biggest laughs of the night. Everyone got the joke, even Vigeurie himself.

Richard Vigeurie said that there were three battles, two of which the conservative movement had already won using direct mail and modern communications networking for message consolidation, fundraising, and getting out the vote. The first battle for the conservatives was getting Barry Goldwater on the ticket in 1964.

The next was getting Ronald Reagan elected in 1980. Reagan was an early Goldwater conservative, but as we all know, by the time he took office, as Jon Stewart likes to say, "… ahhh, not so much."

The third battle rages on. Vigeurie says the third battle is to get real conservatives doing the business of government along conservative lines, which means respect for a budget, a peaceful disintegration of the global American military empire, and a government that is out of your pocketbook, out of your bedroom, out of your children’s lives, and out of your life. Real conservatives appreciate government that provides only those basic services put forth by the founders, and one that is properly constrained by, and wholly respects, the Constitution. Real conservatives love the ideas put forth in the constitution, and they like the idea of a constitutional Republic. They really do.

The third battle is not marked by the glorious triumphalism of George W. Bush, with his endless wars of religion and resources and his bottomless pit of debt. If I heard Republican rainmaker Richard Vigeurie correctly, the third battle is against the George W. Bush administration.

People were surprised that conservatives reeled when they heard young George’s liberty, freedom and tyranny speech last week. Like Vigeurie said, true conservatives have not yet achieved their third victory — which is a constitutionally conservative, principled conservative government in Washington.

He says they are still trying, but there is a split, a terrible subterranean seizure occurring in the new and dominant Republican/Democrat Party, perhaps several impending rifts that only squirrels and birds and wise elephants can sense.

Jon Stewart said Vigeurie’s book on campaigning and selling ideas is like a manual, a text book approach. Vigeurie himself said it is for anyone, "Republicans, democrats, independents, socialists, anyone can use it…."

Books are nice, and we should read them. But what is far more important is to recognize that conservatives may truly be seeking higher ground. Like the elephants in Khao Lak, Thailand, perhaps they too are trumpeting, stomping their feet and beginning to break their chains. One hopes real conservatives will save their party, even while the rest of the GOP, like a tourist on a fantasy trip, becomes bewildered and frightened by the rampage.

My humble objective in this column is, as always, to bridge the gap, to develop a dialogue and a build helpful understanding between real Americans and the war-mongering salivating chicken hawk Jacobins who have been killing people in the name of neoconservatism and tyranny for some time now.

As the elephants begin to drag the National Review and the American Enterprise Institute and a host of other political tourists in Washington kicking and screaming up to higher ground, I’ll remind them of the terrifying words of their own god of totalitarian democracy, Rousseau. Perhaps some people really do have to be "forced to be free."

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts