Category Archive 'Know Nothings'

14 Oct 2016

Mousey is Bitter

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He is responding (angrily) to the above tweet on “American Greatness,” one of those self-important little Alt-Right sites, founded, it tells us, because “The soil of the conservative movement is exhausted. It needs fertilization, re-sowing, and diligent cultivation if it is to thrive again.

(Personally, as a life-long Movement Conservative, I get pretty sick of this bunch or that bunch of inferior writers who want to substitute Nativism (and frequently merely as the polite, public version of White Nationalism) for Conservatism telling me that Conservatives have failed them by not winning every election and public policy battle in their short lifetimes, and therefore all conservative intellectuals should step aside in favor of Pepe the frog and Donald Trump.)

Trumpkins like Mousey have only this one argument: if you are not for Trump, you are electing Hillary, and Hillary’s election would be the worst disastrous irreversible Apocalyptic thing, and it will be all your fault!

I don’t precisely fit the paradigm of Mousey’s conservative target, who is supposed to be saying: “I’ve always found a way to support every Republican nominee and mostly have been proud to do so, even when some of them had not been my ideal candidate and I found serious reasons for disagreement. Trump is the first one I consider beyond the pale, because of” — the reasoning varies a little. “As such, I simply cannot vote for him, and I find that to be the saddest thing ever to happen in my political life.”

Like a lot of people, I have no intention of voting for either Donald or Hillary. But this is not the first time I declined to vote for the Republican nominee. I didn’t vote Nixon in 1972, the first presidential election I was old enough to vote in. I considered (correctly) that Nixon was not a conservative and was not trustworthy, and I certainly wasn’t going to vote for George McGovern, running as the candidate of commies, either. I threw away my vote by casting it (ironically) for John Schmitz, a whacky Bircher.

I also voted for neither major party candidate in 1992. I knew personally and liked George H.W. Bush, but thought his breaking his word on “no new taxes” made it impossible for me to support him. I obviously wouldn’t vote for Bubba either. So I voted that time for Pat Buchanan (a vote I have come to regret over the years). I think Trump is less conservative and even less trustworthy than Nixon, and a more preposterous presidential candidate than John Schmitz. And I’m not sad in the least. I have no problem at all declining to support Trump.

Where I guess I differ from Mousey there is I never supposed that my single vote was actually determinative, so I do not believe that my abstention from supporting Trump means I will have elected Hillary. Au contraire, I would suggest to Mousey that the people really responsible for electing Hillary (who seems, at this point, unavoidably destined to win) are all the low-grade morons who chose to support an unqualified, unelectable laughingstock with an atrocious character over a huge number of qualified and legitimate other candidates, pretty much any of whom would actually have beaten Hillary with a landslide. When Hillary wins, I have to break it to you, Publius, old boy, it will really be your fault. Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol did not make all you lemmings jump off the cliff.

And you can stop all the recriminations and appeals. You bozos are not qualified, not remotely, to replace serious conservative intellectuals. In the first place, you are not really conservative. Your political posture is a kind of anti-leftism buried in a larger volume of anti-elitism and xenophobia. You essentially oppose at least some significant portion of the left-wing agenda by adopting precisely the reactionary postures of irrational animosity and failed resentment that the left loves to accuse conservatives of being all about. You are the left’s dream opponents.

We are obviously not really on the same side. You guys are Nativists (if not downright 1488-ers) with your knickers in a twist over some Hispanic worker with a leaf-blower in his hand. You don’t want limited government. You want entitlements for you, just not for those other guys over there. You want a Bismarkian alliance between a government on the Right and your own White lower middle class. You are not in favor of economic liberty or laissez faire or free trade. You want protective tariffs to defend you from foreign manufacturing competition, and you want closed borders and a wall to protect you from domestic labor competition. You are not interested in defending freedom outside the United States. That kind of thing is for Jewish neocons. You want nothing that is not all about you personally. The correct foreign policy is pre-WWII “America First” isolationism. No wonder you guys are not professional conservative intellectuals. You obviously failed both Economics and History at school.

And let me add one more very important point. The rest of us are really sick and tired of hearing about how you dipshit imbeciles are impatiently waiting to take over political and intellectual leadership from the unworthy cadre presently in charge on the Right. Well, Trump is going down in flames, and you are, as your candidate would say, Losers! Yuge Losers! You have nothing to sell but resentment, bad economics, and discredited and reprehensible political impulses. The Know Nothings lost in the 1850s and they are losing again in 2016. You are not taking over anything. You will be discredited by this election, and your kind will, in future, soon cease to have influence over Conservatism or the GOP.

17 May 2016

Know-Nothing-ism Redivivus

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Roger Cohen finds that everything old is new again: both the anti-immigrant passion of the late-1840s-early-1850s American Party and the America First isolationist movement of the late 1930s. Like Protectionism (which has been discredited for decades and decades after the Smoot-Hawley Tariff provoked a universal trade war which played an important role in the world-wide Great Depression), Nativism and Isolationism have been for a very long time looked upon as discredited political positions, which it would be intrinsically disgraceful and discrediting to embrace.

Donald Trump proved that none of the three grave historic fallacies of American politics was a third rail that killed candidacies any longer. His supporters in general didn’t know their history and didn’t care.

On the evidence, ethnocentrism is a pretty basic human instinct. Band together with your own. Keep the outsider down or out. In the 1850s, at another moment of American unease, the Know-Nothings swept Massachusetts and won mayoral elections in Philadelphia and Washington on a nativist platform to “purify” national politics by stopping the influx of Irish and German Catholics.

Papist influence was then the perceived scourge through which the Know-Nothing movement, as the Native American Party (later the American Party) was commonly known, built its following. Today the supposed threat is Muslim and Mexican infiltration. Or so Donald Trump, the de facto Republican presidential candidate, would have us believe in his “America First” program.

A know-nothing tide is upon us. Tribal politics, anchored in tribal media, has made knowing nothing a badge of honor. Ignorance, loudly declaimed, is an attribute, especially if allied to celebrity. Facts are dispensable baggage. To display knowledge, the acquisition of which takes time, is tantamount to showing too much respect for the opposition tribe, who know nothing anyway.

Any slogan can be reworked, I guess. America First has a long, unhappy history, the America First Committee having pressed the view that the United States should stay out of the war to defeat Fascism in World War II. …

Well, America First is back, tweaked as Trump’s we-won’t-be-suckers-anymore ideology. …

The know-nothings are on the march. But of course they must know something. Millions of people who vote for Trump cannot be wrong. Perhaps their core idea, along with the unchanging appeal of ethnocentrism, is that politics no longer really matter. Celebrity matters.

Power centers are elsewhere — in financial systems, corporations, technology, networks — that long since dispensed with borders. That being the case, loudmouthed, isolationist trumpery may just be a sideshow, an American exercise in après-moi-le-déluge escapism.

Read the whole thing.

18 Mar 2016

Oh, I Don’t Think So, Don

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1854 poster: “Uncle Sam’s youngest son, Citizen Know Nothing.”

Don Surber says:

Trump won. Get over yourself

Republican Governor Rick Scott of Florida stood up like a statesman today and said what had to be said.

Trump won.

Donald Trump is ahead by 250 delegates with about 1,000 delegates left to pick. If he gets half those delegates, he is at 1,200 — 37 shy of a majority. The party will not deny him the nomination if he is ahead by 100.

The neocons at National Review and the Weekly Standard should suck it up and admit defeat. In the marketplace of ideas, they lost. Their utopian ideal failed. Americans no longer want to invade countries. It is time for the Robert Taft wing of the party to steer the party — and the nation — back to the middle.

Sorry, Don. There seems to be some confusion here.

Trump won a plurality of delegates. That’s all. He has been getting the most votes of any individual candidate in a field of 17 GOP candidates that gradually reduced itself to 4. But he has nothing resembling a majority. He certainly has not won.

In order to secure the nomination, he needs 1237 votes. Trump actually has 678. Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich together have 718.

Donald Trump has done well at winning the most individual support in a big-field-of-candidates race, but now things are changing. It is becoming a Donald Trump or Not-Donald-Trump (meaning Ted Cruz) proposition. If all the Not-Donald-Trump Republicans come together (and they have to. It is either that or swallow the indigestible, unelectable Donald Trump), then Trump loses.

Moreover, the primary contests are moving West, out of the Rust-Bucket East and the Fever-Swamp South to the American West, natural Cruz country.

Don argues that all Trump has to do is get half the remaining delegates to be up to 1200. But Trump is a natural minority candidate. His support is coming from cross-over democrats, from low information voters (who previously voted for Obama), and from (alas!) our loudest-Paleocon-in-the-bar lunatic Nativist fringe. (I like Ann Coulter, but, really! Ann…) Trumplestiltskin has a ceiling. That ceiling has been reliably less than 50% so far, and I think it is going to stay that way.

Trump will arrive at the convention with some low 40% of the delegate count, blustering and making threats about Trumpshirts rioting if he isn’t automatically given a majority. And the Republican Party is not going to listen. The polls show Trump losing to Hillary (who could probably be beaten by your average box turtle), and the Republican Party wants to win. Republican political operatives often look like the Washington Generals playing the democrats as the Harlem Globetrotters, but even GOP operatives ought to be able to deal with the Convention maneuverings of a spoiled narcissistic millionaire whose preferred political counselor is a three-way dressing mirror.

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