Saturday, January 26, 2008

What's a conservative to do?

Unlike David, I have been flogging a Guiliani nomination for some time now, and must admit to some distress over his recent fade in the primary process. I watched with interest Fred Thompson’s entry, and, along with everyone else, also watched as he let the brass ring pass before him several times without reaching out for it. A small number of stirring declarations of conservative principles and a few timely jabs at the lesser mortals round about, though bracing for the faithful, fell far short of galvanizing enough support for an actual candidacy.

The lack of an articulator of conservatism acceptable to the conservative core of the party is what is generating the diffusion of support among the four remaining (viable) candidates, at what seems like a late date but what is actually still quite early on the political calendar. Guiding this misimpression is the media’s (understandable) attempts to mine the mother lode. Yet so much of what the media serves up as information, in the form of polling results, is questionable at the very least. I am reminded of Aristotle’s remark in the Nicomachean Ethics regarding natural law—men make their own actions the measure of justice, and in doing so, he says they do no other than a carpenter who bends his square to match his own misaligned work. Most polling reflects a prominent predilection that infects several other forms of knowledge these days—establishing a conclusion and then searching for data to support it. This is an especially useful ruse in the politics of a free society, where a constitutionally sheltered press, posing as the guardian of justice, fairness, and all that is good, cynically imposes its own values, choices, and biases and presents them to the public as the public’s own considered opinions. I think this has much to do with the outcomes we have seen so far. (That and the fact that Florida will be the first primary not open to democrats and independents).

And thus I come back to what I started with, flogging for Guiliani. The mandarins at the New York Times have now weighed in with their thoughtful and helpful best on what the little people should do. It should prove to be a clarifying moment for conservatives. We can set aside the question of why Republicans of any stripe should listen to people who devoutly wish for their political destruction, and move to the content of the Times’ cool reflections on what good Republicans should do, and what avoid.

Rudolph Guiliani is the anti-Christ, the Prince of Darkness, and the spawn of Satan—this much even the dimmest bulbs among us could gather from their treatment of him during his tenure as Mayor. Lest we forget our lesson, they are once again reprising their hissing cockroach-like warnings about the man who went after core parts of the liberal left constituency—the squeegee men, prostitutes, pornographers, turnstile jumpers, and window breakers, not to mention the Gambino crime family, a welter of corrupt Wall Streeters, the teachers unions, and the nomenklatura and the party bosses in the city. Despite the concerted efforts of the above mentioned, Guiliani’s policies allowed decent people to return and flourish, setting up the long boom the city has enjoyed ever since. This is unpardonable; Times Square is now Disneyland Northeast. But his real sin consists in taking on the New York Times itself, and all it stands for. He cannot be allowed to get behind the controls of the federal government—we’ll all be wearing school uniforms and reciting that fascistic Pledge of Allegiance if he gets in.

Thus, the New York Time’s imprimatur goes to…John McCain. The sage advice of the best and brightest, gathered under the Solomonic presence of little Pinch, offered in all candor and good intentions, the man with whom they can do business, is John McCain. The only good Republican is one willing to buck conservative impulses over tax cuts, free speech, illegal immigration, judicial filibusters, and now global warming.

Maybe they know something about Guiliani they hope the rest of the Republican party doesn’t find out—he knows how to take on hard left liberals and defeat them on their own turf, and knows how much respect they are due. And he is much closer to being a true conservative than McCain. The Time’s endorsement is rightly understood by reading it inversely—if the lovers of General Dinkens love the one and hate the other, then practical wisdom, even such as we dim bulbs can muster, suggests the opposite.

1 comment:

Dilawar Khan said...

I can't look at a squeegee without weeping bitterly...