No doubt many Americans, with a casual interest in political philosophies, American history and the events of our time have a communal concept of terms such as "conservatism" and the "political right." To these people application such as "conservative," "neo-conservative," "libertarian"Ñand "populist"Ñare but somewhat differently shaped branches of the same tree. It's about time that some importantÑno, crucialÑdistinctions were drawn relative to history, the present and the road ahead.
Populism is America's contribution to political theorizing and is based on the constitutional pledge of government of the people, by the people and for the people. It first emerged in its modern manifestation in the post "Civil War" decades of great national expansion and exploitative capitalism. Its root creed is that the nation-loving American folk own America, not unconscionable plutocrats whose only loyalty is to their pocketbook and power.
Its earlier public figures, under various political labels, included men such as Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan and Hiram Johnson. Within the two party system, dating, in effect, from the advent of post-1865 modern America, it had its warmest reception within the Democratic Party. That party, then, held strong for America FirstÑthe farmer, the urban worker, the Main Street businessman. It represented those who had fought and struggled and suffered and bled to buildÑfrom sea to shining seaÑthe most magnificent and equitable republic ever brought forth by virtue of human brain, human courage and human toil.
Beginning with Woodrow Wilson's internationalism and coming into full swing with Franklin D. Roosevelt's foreign and domestic policies (and with much deeper holes dug by Lyndon Johnson's Great Society) the Democratic Party wholly repudiated its populist moorings. It became a party of pressure groups led by the worst of allÑWall Street international plutocratsÑand included various selfish elites peddling and successfully selling bogus progress and perverse humanitarian statism.
Today, the problem for those who nostalgically or instinctively long for a cleaner and fresher America is not the Democratic Party. They're on to it and have been for years. The problem rests with those who have been sold to us as the saving counter force to a "liberalism" that stands discredited everywhere but in powerful and tenacious government-educational-cultural-media pockets and within the heads of brainwashed undergraduates and yuppies who've evaded mental recovery.
They may employ the term conservative, neo or otherwise. But if one champions the "stimulation" that massive alien immigration has brought us, one is not conserving the wonderful American culture for which so many gave their lives. If one supports international trade cartels that shutter American industries and shatter family lives and entire communities, one is not conserving the human and social structure of this land.
They've made themselves attractive to many good people by opposing some of our more important and obvious degradations; from the rot and riot that runs through the formal education business to the vileness and vulgarity to which popular culture has descendedÑfrom Super Bowl half time shows to TV "situation comedies."
Georgie Anne Geyer, one of the few surviving populist columnists (as of this writing) wrote recently that "What is surely the most important development in America's great immigration debate has had remarkably little attention: immigrants' groups and even aliens' groups, are suddenly organizing, forming lobbies and even incipient political parties to represent their own exclusive interests. . . (someday) Those others will have filled the moral, political and power vacuums with their ideas, and we will have lost the power to do anything about it."
TBR believes the picture is clear to all who will see. The once great and proud title of "conservative" is now within the purview of a flock of Judas goats, both innocent and insidious.
Today, the closest thing to populist political power rests with the ascendancy of Pat Buchanan and some of the feisty group of 73 House Republican freshmen. Pseudo revolutionary House Speaker Newt Gingrich has had his chubby hands full reigning in their angry demands for a wholesale rollback of liberalism's legislative atrocities. Last January 26 in Baltimore, 50 of their number plus 14 second timers met to plan their 1996 tactical assaults against the establishment. But, according to a New York Times story on the rightist confab, who showed up as the celebrity wise men?
Neo-conservative leaders William J. Bennett and Ben Wattenberg, as well as Edwin J. Feulner Jr., president of the Heritage Foundation, a neo-conservative, internationalist propaganda outlet for Wall Street's "New World Order," were the leading luminaries. These are the "leaders" who are so brazenly worming their way into the heads of the best that's on Capitol Hill.
As we descend into the valley of mass decay, the lead torches are being borne by these spurious guides; the insidiously infiltrative "neo-conservatives" and their lapdogish "conservative" underlings. The moment is now for solid, loyal Americans who've comfortably followed the Judas goats of "responsible conservatism" to stop in their tracks, to take bearings.
Will we allow our nation to continue to die a little every day, steadily overrun and steadily sold out by way of the neo-conservative siren songs? Do we prefer this continual slicing away of our America to braving charges that we are nativist," "xenophobic," "protectionist" and "ultranationalist"? Or will Americans stir themselves, to rally behind the sure populist instincts of their heritage?
TBR thinks Americans are waking up to the attempt to co-opt populism. If Pat Buchanan is chosen as the GOP standard-bearer for the next presidential election, it will be the first time the people of America have had a choice between a genuine America First populist and a member of the plutocratic elite since Andrew Jackson. The choice is yours.