Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Whiff of Grapeshot

In 1795 French general Paul-François-Jean-Nicolas Barras put down the rebellion of France's royalist sympathizers against the Revolution's new constitution by making the decision to fire cannons on a crowd. "Give them a whiff of grapeshot" has ever since been a phrase connoting the Machiavellian admonition to take stern action early. It was not necessary to mow down the entire mass; only the first volleys were aimed directly at street level, and only at the vanguard. The following shots were above the crowds, and the noise was sufficient to scatter them in disarray. Napoleon Bonaparte, the general's aide-de camp, immediately knew they had won not only the day, but had utterly routed the forces of reaction. "The republic is saved", he flatly asserted to his commander.

There is a revolution brewing in both the nation and the Republican party, and once again the sans-culottes are rising against their masters. The obliteration of Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican party primary race for the Senate seat of Joe Biden last night by Christine O'Donnell, is just the latest of "people's candidates" to overwhelm the will and desire of Republican party Bigs who consider their beltway insider credentials sufficient warrant to butt into local primary fights.

The non-elite quality, the rough edges and the not-slick, unprofessional mien of many these insurgent candidates, beginning with Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, et. al., is the principle sticking point with the elites. Professor Angelo Codevilla's devastating pièce de résistance "America's Ruling Class and the Perils of Revolution" is required reading for understanding the shift in the political culture under the feet and against the will of the class who arrogate to themselves control of the levers of power.

It remains to be seen what these Tea Party inspired and backed candidates will be able to do once in place. Regardless of how that plays out, the message has been sent, and it is not ambiguous. The revolution has come to the palace.
How many whiffs of grapeshot are they going to need before they get it?

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