Angelo Codevilla On Democrats and Country Club Republicans

 

Angelo Codevilla has a typically interesting and provocative piece in Forbes on America’s ruling class. Codevilla first discussed America’s ruling class in an important essay in The American Spectator in 2010. The newness of the argument in his Forbes article is the emphasis on the failure of mainstream or Rockefeller Republicans to represent their largest constituencies:

For generations, the Republican Party had presented itself as the political vehicle for Americans whose opposition to ever-bigger government financed by ever-higher taxes makes them a “country class.” Yet modern Republican leaders, with the exception of the Reagan Administration, have been partners in the expansion of government, indeed in the growth of a government-based “ruling class.” They have relished that role despite their voters. Thus these leaders gradually solidified their choice to no longer represent what had been their constituency, but to openly adopt the identity of junior partners in that ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.

The Republicans of 2013 would do well to look at the Whigs of 1850.

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  1. Profile photo of Simon Templar Member

    The Republican party has more in common with the Democratic party than it does with middle America. We are ruled by a political class whose agenda is centralization of power. Republican party is not based on conservative principles and, along with Democrats, are leading us to ruin. Tea Party attempted to reform the Republican party and failed. The sooner we realize the permanent political class is at war with our intellect, faith, and values; and organize a political party that will represent us, the better our chances of pulling out of the death spiral. Otherwise eject!

    • #1
    • February 23, 2013 at 4:27 am
  2. Profile photo of Barbara Kidder Member

    This is why, for nigh on these many years, the two political parties in America are known to many as, “Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee!

    • #3
    • February 23, 2013 at 4:42 am
  3. Profile photo of Devereaux Inactive
    Jeff: Codevilla is exactly right. The GOP elite are the problem. They do not represent us. Many GOP candidates do not even believe in the principles of liberty, much less can they explain them.

    They must be driven from the party. · 9 minutes ago

    OR… as suggested, form a new party. I have heard all the comments about how that doesn’t work, but it did in the late 1850’s. Some would say the the Whigs only rebranded themselves as Republicans, but there was a real difference. For many Whigs there was no where else to go. But the “new” party was different.

    So, too, would there be a change today if someone could create a real alternative to the dems. Cruz is doing well from Texas, but he got there with TP support. Perhaps it is time to withdraw and look to get support elsewhere. Last election I heard all manner of people saying just that – that Romney just wasn’t IT.

    • #4
    • February 23, 2013 at 4:45 am
  4. Profile photo of Simon Templar Member
    Jeff: Codevilla is exactly right. The GOP elite are the problem. They do not represent us. Many GOP candidates do not even believe in the principles of liberty, much less can they explain them.

    They must be driven from the party. · 9 minutes ago

    It is probably already too late to drive them from the party. On this one Rush is wrong, time to abandon the Republicans and organize a new party. Don’t build a new house on the broken foundation of the old.

    • #5
    • February 23, 2013 at 4:45 am
  5. Profile photo of Barbara Kidder Member
    Jeff: Codevilla is exactly right. The GOP elite are the problem. They do not represent us. Many GOP candidates do not even believe in the principles of liberty, much less can they explain them.

    They must be driven from the party. · 24 minutes ago

    Codevilla IS right; but we will never succeed in “driving” the GOP elite out of the party. 

    They are the managers and controllers of the party; the rest of us (who identify as Republicans) are the ‘worker bees’.

    We need to stop sending them money. 

    We need to get bi-partisan support for a law that makes it impossible for a member of Congress to be a paid lobbyist for 25 years,

    and we need to get bi-partisan support for a law that states that Congress shall pass no law that does not apply equally and fully to all its members.

    Then we may find that a lot of GOP elite have become members of the other party.

    • #6
    • February 23, 2013 at 5:09 am
  6. Profile photo of katievs Inactive

    I couldn’t agree more.

    My worry is that there is so far no viable alternative.

    • #7
    • February 23, 2013 at 5:40 am
  7. Profile photo of cdor Member

    Mr Codevilla, with this essay, crawled inside of me, read my mind, and felt my heart. Starting a new party, however, could mean terrible defeat for a number of years. OTH, what do we gain now when we win? We have merely elected the same people we thought we had defeated.

    • #8
    • February 23, 2013 at 5:44 am
  8. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive

    This is a great post and article, but I am not sure this is news. The seeds for this were planted between 2000 – 2006, grew and caught fire in 2009.

    The Tea Party’s primary challenge isn’t democrats or Obama, it is republicans.

    I realize I am a minority in this camp, but I think the time is near to abandon the republican party and strike out on our own. It will be clumsy and there will be setbacks, but freedom isn’t free and politics isn’t pretty.

    • #9
    • February 23, 2013 at 6:40 am
  9. Profile photo of BrentB67 Inactive
    cdor: Mr Codevilla, with this essay, crawled inside of me, read my mind, and felt my heart. Starting a new party, however, could mean terrible defeat for a number of years. OTH, what do we gain now when we win? We have merely elected the same people we thought we had defeated. · 56 minutes ago

    Depending on where we are in the election cycle, Presidential or mid term, our re-election rate for incumbents ranges in 80%.

    We will scream for term limits and re-elect those we seek to limit. We will paper our bumpers in stickers about sending the rascals back home, but re-elect our rascal every 2-6 years.

    At the end of the day we have the government we elect and deserve. I will concede what we have elected is as much a lack of options as it is a proactive choice.

    • #10
    • February 23, 2013 at 6:43 am
  10. Profile photo of WI Con Member

    Though frustration is obviously high, let’s recall the challenge that the ‘Establishment Speaker Boehner’ rec’d from the Tea Party wing during the Speaker of the House election.

    The critical mass to truly make some serious headway has not yet been reached. The next four years will be very dangerous. If we leave in a huff right now, Obama & the Left will ‘run the table’ (more than they already have). The flak the TP has rec’d from the GOP is instructive, more so than the flak from the Left.

    I’d advocate staying with the TP strategy of primary challenges (it would be great to take Lindsey Graham down this year & force McCain to retire the cycle after that).

    The TP has been a force for good but has made some tactical flubs (so has the establishment). Do you work to dilute/purge the poison from the bloodstream or amputate? I’d argue we’ll be stronger after the purge. There are enormous structural advantages both federal & state that the two party system enjoys. It isn’t wise to try and fight all that at once. 

    • #11
    • February 23, 2013 at 6:51 am
  11. Profile photo of Ron Selander Member

    WI Con is right,

    Purge. Don’t amputate!

    • #12
    • February 23, 2013 at 7:13 am
  12. Profile photo of Barbara Kidder Member
    WI Con: 

    I’d advocate staying with the TP strategy of primary challenges (it would be great to take Lindsey Graham down this year & force McCain to retire the cycle after that).

    The TP has been a force for good but has made some tactical flubs (so has the establishment). Do you work to dilute/purge the poison from the bloodstream or amputate? I’d argue we’ll be stronger after the purge. There are enormous structural advantages both federal & state that the two party system enjoys. It isn’t wise to try and fight all that at once. · 19 minutes ago

    It seems unlikely that any ‘purging’ will occur until there are over sixty Republicans in the US Senate, at which time they could elect as their leader a ‘Constitutional Conservative’.

    • #13
    • February 23, 2013 at 7:18 am
  13. Profile photo of Freesmith Member

    It’s later than you think. Has anyone commenting on this post read “Revolution From the Middle” by Sam Francis? Codevilla is echoing “shots fired” over 15 years ago.

    • #14
    • February 23, 2013 at 7:19 am
  14. Profile photo of Freesmith Member

    The problem with the way we conservatives have been fighting is that we’ve been defending, not attacking. An insurgency, which is what we “country party people” are, does not spend its time repulsing attacks upon its mountain redoubts; the insurgents stage unexpected and demoralizing attacks on the strongholds of the elites. They are idealistic and always on the offense. They look for opportunities to make a commotion, to disrupt the comfortable Kabuki dance of the status quo, to mock and ridicule the pretenses of soft despots of our age.

    • #15
    • February 23, 2013 at 7:30 am
  15. Profile photo of Franco Member

    I don’t know what to do, or how “we” should organize (does it matter?) But I’ll say that I am done with the elites and will work against them. The argument that ‘the bad guys will win” no longer keeps me on the plantation. 

    Leftist and statist policies are creating near universal dissent from those who are politically aware. The ruling class are masters of the uneducated the ignorant hordes. The government-media-pharma complex is running the show now. The modern influence of entertainment media has hypnotized and debilitated tens of millions. This is a new phenomenon unforeseen by dystopian prophets like Orwell, who thought the TV’s would be watching us. Worse perhaps, is us watching and processing the programming. People in large numbers who vote are hypnotized.

    Conservatives and libertarians have more areas of agreement everyday. If something radical isn’t done there will be no alternative for anyone in the political arena. We will all be slaves and our democracy and Constitution will become a farce.

    It may already be, I wonder if I’m biased by hope and optimism.

    Sanity is seeing the obvious.

    • #16
    • February 23, 2013 at 7:35 am
  16. Profile photo of Barbara Kidder Member
    Freesmith: It’s later than you think. Has anyone commenting on this post read “Revolution From the Middle” by Sam Francis? Codevilla is echoing “shots fired” over 15 years ago. · 0 minutes ago

     Yes, and with it came a clearer understanding of the ‘neo-conservative’.

    • #17
    • February 23, 2013 at 7:55 am
  17. Profile photo of Fricosis Guy Coolidge

    Each leg of the coalition has screwed up and doesn’t want to admit it. I’m all for a purge of the guilty, but who among us will be left? Unless we’re reconciled to each other we’ll be destroyed in detail.

    • #18
    • February 23, 2013 at 8:10 am
  18. Profile photo of The Mugwump Inactive

    I said two years ago that Codevilla’s first essay was potentially the founding document for The Second American Republic. I don’t believe the Founding Fathers thought that running a republic was too difficult for ordinary citizens. If the real division in our country is a split between the ruling class and the citizenry, then the table is set for a campaign based on class warfare. The main campaign issue would be corruption and the appeal would transcend party lines. We need the courage to believe it before we can muster the audacity to attempt it.

    • #19
    • February 23, 2013 at 8:12 am
  19. Profile photo of WI Con Member
    Barbara Kidder
    WI Con: 

    I’d advocate staying with the TP strategy of primary challenges (it would be great to take Lindsey Graham down this year & force McCain to retire the cycle after that).

     

    It seems unlikely that any ‘purging’ will occur until there are over sixty Republicans in the US Senate, at which time they could elect as their leader a ‘Constitutional Conservative’. · 52 minutes ago

    I agree with you Barbara, but that purge isn’t going to come from the ‘Most Deliberative Body inthe World’ – that purge happens when one of these SOB’s loses a primary. We have to select the people to do this wisely – they not only have to win a primary against a well funded incumbent, they have to be savy & appealing enough to win statewide – then we get that 60 votes. It’s not impossible at all but stupid gaffes like Aiken, Murdoch, Angle by TP types (and yes plenty of establishment types like Tommy Thompson here in WI blew it in 2012 – not so much by gaffes but by long histories of big spending, ‘compromise’, hints of sweatheart deals).

    • #20
    • February 23, 2013 at 8:23 am
  20. Profile photo of Paul L. Inactive

    Angelo Codevilla is an interesting thinker, but this essay lets the voting public off the hook. The reason “elitist” Democrats and Republicans have held power for so many decades is because the voters elected them and kept returing them to power in election after election.

    • #21
    • February 23, 2013 at 8:43 am
  21. Profile photo of Denver Gentleman Inactive

    I think its more than a “failure to represent” their constituentcies. Codevilla flat out says they’re against us. More than failed they have abandoned their constituents, undermined and betrayed them. The leadership in Washington doesn’t even like us very much, let alone attempt to fight for our most profoundly held values.

     Asserting moral-intellectual superiority, chastising and intimidating rather than persuading opponents is by no means the least of the ruling class’ powers. “It’s the contempt, stupid!” But the Republican leadership has proved stupid enough to deal with the contempt as the Pharisee in the Temple dealt with sin: “I thank thee Lord that I am not like other Republicans…”

    I’ve always been wary of populism, but I worry even more about being left to the mercy of Leviathan.

    More thoughts on this article can be found on the member feed: https://ricochet.com/member-feed/An-Intellectual-Voice-for-the-Conservative-Insurgency

    • #22
    • February 23, 2013 at 8:55 am
  22. Profile photo of MJBubba Member

    I don’t agree that a new party start-up is the best approach. I think we just keep the Tea Party juices flowing, and vote for the best candidates we can find in the primaries. Panic is not a good way to victory.

    I have let my membership in the GOP lapse on three different occasions, each time because the Party leadership was such a crashing disappointment. But the GOP is the best way to fight the Dems, and they are truly dangerous.

    • #23
    • February 23, 2013 at 9:27 am
  23. Profile photo of Palaeologus Member

    Codevilla makes some good points, but his broader narrative is uneven. Sure the conservative political, intellectual, and media elites split with the membership on issues. Yes, in many instances they are condescending and insulting while doing so.

    Codevilla labels Mitt Romney (amongst others) as wannabe “junior partners” in the “ruling class.” Obviously, the only point of that is to scorn -not describe- the good Professor’s targets. Politicians regularly require criticism, and always demand scrutiny, but please forgive me if I’m unmoved by the tenured gentleman’s belief that he is more in tune with popular will than the politicians who routinely compete for votes.

    Yet the country class, to defend itself, to cut down the forest of subsidies and privileges that choke America, to curb the arrogance of modern government, cannot shy away from offending the ruling class’ intellectual and moral pretenses.

    I see. The vox populi on, say, immigration or TARP is both the beginning and end of the discussion, yet programs popular with the “country class” must go… for our own good, of course.

    Events themselves show how dysfunctional the ruling class is.

    Indeed. We have seen the enemy and it is us.

    • #24
    • February 23, 2013 at 9:32 am
  24. Profile photo of Jerry Carroll Inactive

    Let the purge begin with Mitch McConnell. The fuddy-duddy ol’ boy deal-maker par excellance is up for reelection.

    • #25
    • February 23, 2013 at 10:03 am
  25. Profile photo of Denver Gentleman Inactive

    What he’s saying is that when you have a vast number of people who are not being represented in a free democracy you have an unbalanced situation that cannot endure. Its not that the dissenters should take control of the party, its that they inevitably will take control due to external pressures. The (largely meaningless) question that remains is: do you continue to call the oppositional party that emerges the Republican party, or has the name become so tainted that you call it something else? I see the piece as more prophetic than proscriptive. It will interesting to see how things play out in 2014 and beyond.

    • #26
    • February 23, 2013 at 10:20 am
  26. Profile photo of Simon Templar Member
    Denver Gentleman: What he’s saying is that when you have a vast number of people who are not being represented in a free democracy you have an unbalanced situation that cannot endure. Its not that the dissenters should take control of the party, its that they inevitably will take control due to external pressures. The (largely meaningless) question that remains is: do you continue to call the oppositional party that emerges the Republican party, or has the name become so tainted that you call it something else? I see the piece as more prophetic than proscriptive. It will interesting to see how things play out in 2014 and beyond. · 0 minutes ago

    The Republican brand carries too much baggage, call it something else. Tea Party perhaps?

    • #27
    • February 23, 2013 at 10:33 am
  27. Profile photo of Barfly Member
    katievs: I couldn’t agree more.

    My worry is that there is so far no viable alternative. · 16 hours ago

    Look, when your choice is between a bag of poison and a bag of festering poison, you walk away. No viable alternative? Then we’ll have to make one.

    • #28
    • February 23, 2013 at 10:34 am
  28. Profile photo of Freesmith Member

    Simon Templar: Your prescription is undermined by two words – free trade, a concept that every statist whole-heartedly supports for good reason.

    • #29
    • February 23, 2013 at 11:48 am
  29. Profile photo of Simon Templar Member

    We need to unite and push back hard against the statists (includes Republicans) and their nanny state. I believe that by ranting against everything, the right has become too watered down. Where is statism the most vulnerable and how can we attack its center(s) of gravity? Conservatives need to agree on a handfull of viable goals that can best undermine statism and begin to reverse the damage it is doing to our economy and culture. We cannot fix this problem shotgun style, but need to stay rifle focused. My contract to save America would include: 

    1. brand spankin’ new conservative party (I’m good with the Tea Party.)

    2. term limits for congressmen

    3. flat or fair tax

    4. free market capitalism (domestic) and free trade (international)

    5. abolish the US Department of Education

    6. King Dollar (controlled growth of dollars in circulation)

    • #30
    • February 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm
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