February 3, 2008

"something more raw and instinctual at work here"

The older and cannier among you will remember All in the Family, and its theme song, which contained a line I always thought was totally wrong for Archie Bunker: "...Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again." No way. That one must have come out of the mind of some bookish Hollywood songwriter, not an urban working-class guy like Archie.

A real Archie of that time in the mid-seventies hardly have been able to express what he wanted, because Archie was clearly a "Reagan Democrat" before Reagan was nominated. He had no political philosophy that he could have ever articulated, but he was disgusted with the sickness of the Democrats and the culture of the 60's. And when Ronald Reagan came along, the Archies liked him instantly, without ever thinking much about policies or philosophy. It was mostly gut feeling.

And I suspect something like it is happening for John McCain right now. (NO, I'm not saying McCain is a Reagan, or abating one jot or tittle the reasons why I dislike the man.) And I'm still a Romney supporter. BUT, I can't help noticing how much Romney is like Herbert Hoover. Hoover was a great American, a talented businessman and manager of government programs, and a world-class humanitarian hero in the aftermath of WWI. But he was not a guy the ordinary American warms to.

There's a famous line attributed (falsely) to Admiral King, "When the going gets tough, they send for the sons-of-bitches." I think there's a something similar in the inarticulate soul of America that says, "When leaders turn mushy in times of war or crisis, send for the Jacksonians." (Here's the piece to read on Jacksonians, by Walter Russell Mead.) Patrick Ruffini writes:

....But there is something more raw and instinctual at work here too. Older belligerent men are not afraid of confrontation, either personally or politically. I’ve heard more than one guy mention McCain’s volcanic temper as a positive. They equate this with toughness against our enemies.

A commenter on my previous post also reminded me again of McCain’s family origins: like many Southerners, he’s Scots-Irish and has the temperament to match. If you’re not an ideologically driven activist, and you fit the profile of an older belligerent man, you’ll probably end up choosing the Jacksonian flag & country candidate over the corporate titan....
Well, I can resonate with that. I loathe McCain for the many times he's poked ME, as a conservative Republican, in the eye. BUT, there's a lot of people who deserve a poke in the eye, and I'm not unready to see President McCain pick up his eye-poking stick and do something about it. And something in me hopes that he will take to hunting down and exterminating jihadi animals with the same tenacity that the Scotch-Irish demonstrated in hunting down redskins, a ferocity they learned in Britain as border-reavers and as Protestants transplanted into Catholic Ireland.

And Orrin Judd writes, about this article by Mark Steyn...

...We yield to no one in our regard for Mr. Steyn. He's consistently funny and insightful. He was helpful when I needed a jacket blurb for my book and I keep his book of columns on 9-11 on hand for when I want to stoke the fires of righteous anger. It's always a treat to chat with one of his bevy of personal assistants. Heck, I even pulled a couple strings to get into a Dartmouth student event where he's speaking later this month.

Which all makes it excruciatingly painful not just to read that he actually thought the neocons knew anything about Republican politics, but that little bit about how happy Hillary must be happy about how the election is shaping up. Being a conservative imposes certain obligations, none higher than a respect for the lessons that history teaches us. The notion that, in a contest to lead one's country, being an older straight white male war hero leaves one in an inferior position to a liberal woman or black is so ahistorical that even Bob Herbert knows better: "Those who may think that a woman named Clinton or a black man named Obama will have an easy time winning the White House this year should switch to something less disorienting than whatever it is they’re smoking." It's a sad day on the Connecticut when a Timesman makes more sense than a Hampshireman...


Another thought. Hugh Hewitt is worried that McCain will be a candidate like Bob Dole, too old, and uninspiring. But McCain is nothing like Dole, and, more importantly, he misses an important aspect of Jacksonian values. Mead writes:

....Respect is also due age. Those who know Jacksonian America only through its very inexact representations in the media think of the United States as a youth-obsessed, age-neglecting society. In fact, Jacksonian America honors age. Andrew Jackson was sixty-one when he was elected president for the first time; Ronald Reagan was seventy. Most movie stars lose their appeal with age; those whose appeal stems from their ability to portray and embody Jacksonian values—like John Wayne—only become more revered...

And yet another thought. I've hearing reports that lots of lefties are saying how much they like McCain. Doubtless this is because they are deranged with hatred of Bush, and McCain has been a big thorn in Bush's Side. So what happens when Bush is gone, and McCain's the leader of the Republicans? Do you think things will continue to be friendly? My theory is that lefty nihilists hate Bush because he believes in God, and believes in America. To the nihilist, belief is an affront and an irritant. So what happens when they discover that McCain is a patriot? Ha ha. We may be in for some fun.

Posted by John Weidner at February 3, 2008 2:31 PM
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