Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quote of the Day: Every Great Cause....

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”
--Pat Buchanan

This quote comes from a fascinating story on the troubles of the Republican Party and the convervative movement (the two are not synonymous). The part of the story that really rang true for me was this passage:

According to Buchanan, who was the White House communications director in Reagan’s second term, the President once told his barber, Milton Pitts, “You know, Milt, I came here to do five things, and four out of five ain’t bad.” He had succeeded in lowering taxes, raising morale, increasing defense spending, and facing down the Soviet Union; but he had failed to limit the size of government, which, besides anti-Communism, was the abiding passion of Reagan’s political career and of the conservative movement.

The conservative movement set out to do five things: lower taxes, improve America's self-image, increase defense spending, defeat Communism, and limit the size and scope of government. Once Reagan had achieved the first four, all that was left to his heirs was attacking the government (Gingrich) and waging a pointless culture war (talk radio) which had gotten Nixon elected by a landslide in 1968 and 1972 when America was fed up with the excesses of the 60s, but which has little resonance today outside a few interest groups.

The most chilling passage for members of the Republican Party has to be this quote from strategist Ed Rollins:

"Today, if you’re not rich or Southern or born again, the chances of your being a Republican are not great."

America needs alternatives to the ascendancy of the state, but today's Republican Party hardly seems capable of being that alternative.

4 comments:

paul said...

"Once Reagan had achieved the first four, all that was left to his heirs was attacking the government (Gingrich) and waging a pointless culture war (talk radio) which had gotten Nixon elected by a landslide in 1968 and 1972 when America was fed up with the excesses of the 60s, but which has little resonance today outside a few interest groups."

ummm.... what's that again? I'll let you blame it on lack of sleep, lol ... cause you are probably well aware Reagan came after Nixon and near the end of the rise of talk radio (1987ish). Until that time the rules for radio and TV said you had to have 'equal time' allotted to differing views (something the Dems are desperately trying to do again even though all studies prove the MSM are patently liberal in their coverage and the repugs never get equal nothing).

Anyhow... even though I'm not a big fan of Buchanan, I'll agree with the overall premise - gov't is WAY too big and the nanny state needs to be brought under control.

Chris said...

Paul,

I may have been a bit unclear...Nixon won re-election by waging a cultural war against the excesses of the 1960s. His evocation of the silent majority and general disgust with the hippies led to two big victories in 68 and 72. That had nothing to do with talk radio.

My point is that by the end of Reagan's second term, the conservative movement had lost its vitality because it had achieved its most important goals, leaving only losing and/or outdated issues.

ptt said...

this case shows that, fortunately, even an evil ideology will disintegrate into a more blatant racket.
conservatism = nanny state for fascists. reagan may have been among the many useful idiots, but more likely simply one of the willing apparatchiki.

yes, rwanda radio became strong in the late 80's, but reagan's presidency ran from 1980 to 88.

ptt said...

fixing my error: 80, 88 were election years. actual presidential term was 81-89.