Romney at CPAC: Left behind

Why does Mitt Romney appear tonight at CPAC? To carve a future (monarchist) dynastic path to politics like Bush and Kennedy; a final investment for his children, his friends and his aunties here in the 11th hour? Possibly because he can’t let go of the conviction that he is not one of them, when he is not, and sadly, has never been. He has an unearthly, spooky quality, says Noreen, my dental hygienist, among the staunchest conservatives in New Hampshire. He lives here in New Hampshire, kind of, but is among us and not of us. He governed Massachusetts and was not one of them, while Gov. Bill Weld, New Yorker Brahmin, fit in easily. He has tried to be so many things to so many people — a Mormon pioneer and a westerner, a Midwestern industrialist native son, a New England liberal — and has worn so many masks, that he can no longer find his face. And now he is in a panic.

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To merely surmise, he feels he can in his “rite of exit” from the political world prop up the Marco Rubio contention, for Rubio is now and always has been and wanted to be the Dan Quayle of our age. He is the immaculate manifestation of the imagining of a passing, geriatric generation which meets in their own reclusive revivalist tent. And there the “stale and moss-covered” visualize themselves again as young: Suppose we were not 66 now with bad knees and expanded prostates, but young, and Cuban too? And tragically for America, Bush the Second, venerable now and a storied painter of dogs, was one as well.

Rubio will not restore the old. It doesn’t work that way. The Beatles have landed and they landed Thursday at a filibuster by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. The generations do not change by scraping the moss off the geriatric set. They begin the world again; it is not a preservation league, it is metamorphosis. And Mitt Romney, like Jeb Bush, could not possibly understand.

Because they are not warriors. Romney is a man whose will is stronger than his faith. It is an enormous will but doesn’t know where to turn or when to stop. It is a will that destroys faith, destroys truth and blocks the path to new awakenings. It is a will that wears masks and drives relentlessly in the same direction and finds only sickness in “the returning and rest” that my Book of Common Prayer — the old contraband edition — claims will bring salvation.

And that is the lesson of being 66 for Romney, for Bill and Hillary. It is time to turn around for our own salvation, lest we remain despised at the end. For the disregarded and left behind, poisonous and vengeful after paying for the football themselves and restored the old athletic field out of their own pocket, always lead into the fatal end game.

The politics of Romney and Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is intramural sport; they are the Ford guys and the Chevy guys of a long Hamiltonian tradition of American nationalism and globalism. What Rand Paul, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, South Carolina Sen.Tim Scott and a few others bring is a new vision that might be called — to coin a phrase — “Federalism.” Like Andrew Jackson, Rand Paul and company bring an awakening to the heartland. Like Jefferson, this new generation awakens again states rights, sound money and constitutional government. Or as the Daily Paul puts it more elegantly: “Peace. Gold. Liberty.”