State & Local Politics

State & Local Politics

America needs a righteous ad hoc experimental congress of Ron Paul and Jeffersonian renegades

Forget the speech at the Republican convention. Let Gingrich have it. Ron Paul now needs a greater, more responsive forum. The Ron Paul Revolution has awakened. The Hill reports yesterday that Ron Paul supporters are taking over state party organizations across the country — and that could spell trouble for Mitt Romney and other establishment Republicans come election time. (Note: Yesterday in The Daily Caller Ann Coulter had an essay titled “Deport the Republican establishment.” She is the “Republican establishment.”)

“Paul backers have seized control of the Iowa Republican Party and gained influential roles in Nevada and a number of other states,” says The Hill. “While some are loyal Republicans who happen to hold more libertarian views, others are more strident Paul supporters who are less interested in helping Romney and other more mainstream Republicans get elected in November.”

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Jim Webb for governor of Appalachia

Jim Webb, novelist, warrior and senator, leaves the Senate this year. Man of honor, man of contrasts. He is a man as comfortable in the redneck hollers as he is among South Asia’s Buddhist sangas. We have not seen his likes since Davy Crockett graced the halls of Congress. But he shouldn’t go too far as he is still a good fit for the times. Liberals tend to dislike Wall Street. Conservatives dislike Washington. Jim dislikes both. I’ve been hoping he would run for governor of Virginia. Then governor of Appalachia might be a better fit.

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'Free the American West' (but Western lands could trigger revolt)

The Hill’s John Feehery asks the important question: Is this election about revolution or restoration? Since April 2009, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry chanted, “States’ rights, states’ rights, states’ rights!” at the Alamo, it’s been on people’s minds. Perry, Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann and Paul have tendencies.

Revolt needs philosophers like Ron Paul, distinguished supporters like Perry, passionate advocates like Sarah Palin, warrior ascetics like Alaska’s Joe Miller and even mad hatters like Glenn Beck. But most of all a revolt needs casus belli; a singular cause that bonds to purpose. Otherwise, there is no rebellion. There is an issue today that qualifies: land.

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Jefferson vs. Obama: The rise of a revolutionary generation at CPAC 2012

The most important thing that has happened in the last two years is that the states have discovered that they don’t have to do what the federal government tells them to do, I said to a small group of New Hampshire mountaineers one year ago this month. It is one thing to say this in school basements before a few handfuls of New Hampshire’s hill people, where “live free or die” can be seen tattooed on forearms. It is expected of us. But when the same sentiments are presented at the button-down CPAC 2012 convention in Washington, D.C., as they will be tomorrow, something different is happening here. Liberal commentator Pat Goddell has suggested that the Tea Party these past two years has brought us to a “pre-revolutionary” state. For the last two years libertarian Ron Paul has been the overwhelming favorite of conservatives’ rising generation at CPAC. This year CPAC features a film produced and directed by Jason Rink exploring the history of state nullification, its constitutional legitimacy and how states can use nullification to push back against the encroachment of federal power.

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Mitt Romney, Bob McDonnell, Nikki Haley: A new conservative order

“One size does not fit all" was the catch phrase I used in my early complaints, and Romney first used the phrase publicly. He was clearly suggesting a change in format and a historic change of outlook. Truth is, it was only after the Tea Party event at the Alamo that state and regional autonomy became a real and advancing possibility. So when Gov. Romney suggested early on that his Massachusetts healthcare plan go national, he was merely advancing it from the “initiative state” of Massachusetts to the vast generic, continent-wide model of governance, the only way ideas had come to practice in the United States since 1865. But after the nationwide, grassroots Tea Party uprisings of April 2009, a more practical and efficient system tailored to regions and states became a real possibility. Nixon had tried earlier to regionalize, but the model he used was ineffective as it did not follow the natural cultural contours of America and the timing was all wrong. But Romney could see now that the times had at last changed enough to mobilize a more creative and efficient management model. Provided that leadership had the prodigious management skills that he has.

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Erskine Bowles for North Carolina governor

President Obama’s invitation to Bush family members to the White House makes him seem an Everyman, all things to all people, and Caroline Kennedy’s open letter to vote for Obama a second time because her name is Kennedy — both mark the turning of the times, and suggest that Obama, like the Kennedys and the Bushes, is no longer a rising part of the times.

We have left the age of two-family politics, honoring Northeastern gentry who bask in Kennebunkport or Hyannis, and have entered instead into a full-bore Jacksonian heartland awakening. Tea Party has taken the mantle these past two years. But Jacksonian populism, channeled today by Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Ron and Rand Paul, all started in Virginia with Mudcat Saunders. 


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Free New England: Repudiate the National Defense Authorization Act

New England was a Jeffersonian region of independent-minded yeoman farmers and freethinking independents before the Civil War. We lost that earthy colloquialism to the abstraction of federalism after teaming up for the conquest of the West and the South in 1857 and 1865, and again to globalism after the conquest of Europe and Asia in 1946. But today New England begins to find its yeoman soul again. We have always been Jeffersonian. We just forgot. When it starts to catch on, any step outside the prescribed constitutional reservation by the feds will be considered overreach, domination, totalitarianism. And it is starting to catch on. The National Defense Authorization Act is a giant step in the direction of the benign American police state.

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Tea Party totalitarianism: What’s next for Rick Perry?

“Come and take it” — Texas flag at the Battle of Gonzales, March 1831

Rick Perry takes it back to Texas. He might run again for governor. He should. As Steve Forbes says, he's a great governor with great ideas. I'd make the case that his poor performance in the presidential race is a credit to him as a Texan and as a Texas governor. He feels uncomfortable away from home, away from Texas. It is the Jeffersonian ideal, and Perry is paragon of these earth-based, sense-of-place values. More than values. A sense of being; at one with the ancestors, at one with God, at one with one’s own place on earth and free of abstractions.
 
What Perry wanted to achieve for Texas as a Texan is unachievable for a president, and Ron Paul should take note. Because Perry and Paul are both “free-state” guys. But the freedom and autonomy they seek cannot be granted top-down like a benevolent master freeing his provincial serfs in the far provinces. They need to take it. Like his boots say, "Come and take it." If Texas wants it, she’s got to take it.

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Free Kansas

The “revolution in a cornfield” that is happening today in Gov. Sam Brownback's Kansas is potentially as important as what happened here in 1776. Because in the last two years the states have learned that they don't have to do what the federal government tells them to do. They can think for themselves and govern themselves, just as Dorothy promised. As The Washington Post reports with an excellent article today titled “In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback puts tea party tenets into action with sharp cuts”: “If you want to know what a Tea Party America might look like, there is no place like Kansas. In the past year, three state agencies have been abolished and 2,050 jobs have been cut. Funding for schools, social services and the arts have been slashed. The new Republican governor rejected a $31.5 million federal grant for a new health-insurance exchange because he opposes President Obama’s healthcare law. And that’s just the small stuff.”

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Free New England. Free California. Martha Coakley to the rescue.

“…  states’ rights, states’ rights, states’ rights …” — Texas Gov. Rick Perry, April 15, 2009

When I proposed up here at the buildup to the war on Iraq that if the United States no longer wanted to be part of the U.N. then New England should send its own representative, it brought a kindly note from John Kenneth Galbraith, who thought it “wonderfully to the good.” America’s greatest ambassador since Franklin, George Kennan, like Galbraith, almost into his hundreds, proposed New England secession. “We are a monster country,” he wrote, and proposed decentralizing the U.S. into a dozen constituent republics. Harvard’s pastor, the Rev. Peter Gomes, proposed a new Hartford Convention like the one during the War of 1812.

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