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Running Out of Time

September 4, 2016

Many years ago a sheriff in Westchester County, New York, ran for County Executive. He lost the General, but was pleased that he won his own district. That small minded approach is the approach of Republican members of Congress. Paul Ryan reluctantly accepted election of Speaker of the House on the condition that he didn’t have to travel on weekends. Instead of understanding that he was now the de facto leader of the Republican Party, he took pleasure in being home on weekends.

Last year I approached a young member of the House leadership to co-author a chapter in a book that addressed the issue of income inequality. His staff reported that his duties didn’t extend to publishing a book. I felt at the time that he and many of his colleagues lost sight of the need for leadership beyond their committee assignments in the House.

Both this young Congressman and the Speaker of the House come from safe districts. If the GOP nominee in 2016 loses the General, they will take comfort in the fact that they will win their District.

It takes a special person with interests far beyond elective politics to seek leadership of a Party or even of a great nation, but if we review the line=up of GOP leaders, none stands out.

Eleven years ago, Yorktown University was attempting to revamp its fundraising skills. We approached some fundraisers at the RNC. Their clients were Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) and President Bush. We suggested that illegal immigration was an issue that could attract support. The expression of shock on their faces indicated that their clients, Sen. Cornyn and President Bush, thought the opposite.

Between 2005 and 2016, no Republicans argued against the arguments of the Internationalist wing of the GOP that George W. Bush shaped. Eleven years later those ideas were rejected when Donald Trump won the GOP nomination for President. Only Donald Trump seems to have seen forces at work in American society that were neglected by President Bush.

There were non-politicians, of course, who were writing books that explore alternative arguments.

Thomas Fleming published The Morality of Everyday Life in 2004.  in 2009, lest we forget, Steven Hayward published a reprise of the Reagan years in The Age of Reagan: The Fall of the Old Liberal Order: 1964-1980. Also in 2009, historian of the conservative movement, George Nash, published Reappraising the Right: The Past & Future of American Conservatism

Pat Buchanan published Death of the West in 2010. John Fonte examined the reality of sovereignty in 2011.

In 2015 I published The Conservative Rebellion. George Gilder published The Scandal of Money in 2016 and Peter Augustine Lawler has published American Heresies and Higher Education (2016).

The divide between conservative scholars and our political classes is immense. Only Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative bridged that gap.  But, most politicians are notorious for not reading books, and few if any express interest in broad gauge ideas about our times or even about American foreign policy. Foreign policy studies tend to be focused on regions which is why Barry Goldwater’s The Conscience of a Conservative made such a splash. Maybe there’s another Brent Bozell out there who can get through the guardians of some of our Senators and persuade one of them to endorse a book written by Jerry Hedrix who writes on foreign policy.

He better hurry up, we’re running out of time.

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