Friday, February 04, 2011

From Buckley to Bachmann

Hegel once wrote a description of man as being a “moral form of evil.” I would be willing to suggest that such is an apt description when man is either in the bodily form of Al Qaeda or the current day Republican Party – most particularly Michelle Bachmann. This presupposed leader of the congressional Tea party caucus is reflective of many a GOP members of the current party and very unlike the ones I grew up understanding inclusive of Reagan and most notably William Buckley. Not only do I recall the openly friendly and positive relationship that Regan had with Speaker Tip O’Neil, but that Republicans used to be scholarly and astute, especially Buckley with his éclat background.

I remember as a young child, not being able to wait to watch Buckley’s “Firing Line” when we got home from church. And although I was not concerned with party affiliation during that period of my life – but with civil rights and learning about the great people that lived, spoke and talked during the late 60s and early 70s, I did love his reasoning and pragmatism. So much so that I started to read the National Review – a magazine he founded with an associate. He was the first to introduce Yale (his alma mater) into my understanding He was also a plenteous writer – with more than 50 books to his credit, inordinate essays and more than seven tons of his collected papers donated to Yale University.

Most importantly, he was graceful and kind and respectful of divergent views and political positions. My favorite show was the one he had Huey P. Newton on. But who would expect Bachmann to be brainy enough to start high school at age 13 as did Buckley. For Buckley placed an intellectual face on conservatism a task that seems to be lost but attempted by the likes of Beck and Limbaugh these days.

Especial the likes of Bachman or Palin – who I would dare to say, would NEVER have appeared on Buckley’s show if he were alive today. Let us not forget that it was Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-MN, who said that "the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States....Men like John Quincy Adams, who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country." I do not think Buckley or men of his ilk would not have know that John Quincy Adams never signed the document she spoke off, or that Thomas Jefferson -- who wrote that all men are created equal -- owned slaves. Or that a slave was equivalent to 3/5ths of a freed white man. Not only is her history bad (the founding fathers had abolished slavery) but her math is somewhat suspect also. It was she, while the cameras and microphones were on, stated that Obama’s south Asian trip will cost taxpayers “$200 million a day” and represents “the kind of over-the-top spending” that’s rampant in Washington.

The Republican coterie inclusive of the new Tea Party members did keep one promise and voted to repeal the Obama Health care reforms of last year albeit a vacuous symbolic gesture, while minutes afterwards praising sections of the law they voted to repeal. Stranger even is that Republicans laude the fact that they added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare in 2003 but never mentions it was not in the budget nor paid for just as the major spending items of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

This type of talking out the side of one’s neck is a constant. For example, folk like Bachmann love to name-call and say they will not raise the national debt limit but American cannot default on its debt – yet without an increase the government would be forced to default. There is also the new house budget rules the GOP put in place December 22. Democrats had pay as you go in place, meaning tax cuts or increases in entitlement spending must be off-set by tax increases and cuts in entitlements. This is no longer a requirement.

These modern day republicans are more interested in attracting camera time and attention than problem solving. Aside for special incantations pushed by Dinesh D'Souza or sophist jactitations frequently uttered from the lips of Bachmann, no wonder politics is imperforate to reason. I mean one should not find it strange that it were Republicans who stated the passage of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” by a vote of 57 to 40 in the Senate. As well as the GOP in the Senate who initially blocked legislation that would provide medical care for (/11 rescue workers and others who became ill during and after the attacks on the World Trade Centers.

Folks like Bob Barr (a fellow libertarian), Dr. Alan Keyes, Dr. Condoleezza Rice and Eric Erickson of Red Sate.Com today are a dying breed. And for the record, I am neither GOP nor Democrat, but I really miss the days when the public could openly appreciate the intellectual views of both with appreciation and respect. The days when working for the good of America came before the good of the party. Dang folk, what happened to us (USA)?


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