Posts Tagged ‘John Birch Society’
The Three Amigos
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has earned the ire of Tea Party groups for his penchant for negotiating with Democrats, predicted this week the movement will “die out.”
Graham, who has partnered with Democrats on immigration reform and energy and climate legislation, made the observation in a New York Times Magazine profile titled “Lindsey Graham, This Year’s Maverick” to be published this Sunday:
“Everything I’m doing now in terms of talking about climate, talking about immigration, talking about Gitmo is completely opposite of where the Tea Party movement’s at,” Graham said as Cato drove him to the city of Greenwood, where he was to give a commencement address at Lander University later that morning. On four occasions, Graham met with Tea Party groups. The first, in his Senate office, was “very, very contentious,” he recalled. During a later meeting, in Charleston, Graham said he challenged them: “ ‘What do you want to do? You take back your country — and do what with it?’ . . . Everybody went from being kind of hostile to just dead silent.”
In a previous conversation, Graham told me: “The problem with the Tea Party, I think it’s just unsustainable because they can never come up with a coherent vision for governing the country. It will die out.” Now he said, in a tone of casual lament: “We don’t have a lot of Reagan-type leaders in our party. Remember Ronald Reagan Democrats? I want a Republican that can attract Democrats.” Chortling, he added, “Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today…”
Teabaggers are a fundamentalist religion just like their precursors in the John Birch Society and White Citizens Councils. It seems to be part of the definition that they have no clue or willingness to manage any political institution – much less a nation.
[Wiping away the drool]
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission
I was asked yesterday whether I would be going to CPAC, the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, which is currently being held a half-hour’s walk from my office in D.C. It was a logical question, not only since the meetings are so close at hand but also because for five years I chaired CPAC.
CPAC brings together conservative activists from every corner of America. As national chairman of the American Conservative Union, a founding trustee of the Heritage Foundation, and director of the policy task forces for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign, speaking at CPAC and shaping the program were high priorities on my personal agenda every year, even while serving in Congress.
But the answer to yesterday’s question was “no.” No, I’m not going to CPAC. And, truth be told, most of the folks there wouldn’t want me there. They wouldn’t think I’m a conservative; many wouldn’t think Barry Goldwater was a conservative; many, had this been three decades ago, might have been seeking a “true” conservative to run against Ronald Reagan. I don’t begrudge these activists their views and they are entitled to use the term “conservative” to describe themselves if they so choose. But the views many of them profess have little in common with the distinctly American kind of conservatism that gave birth to CPAC and the modern American conservative movement…
I’m not at CPAC because I believe in America. I believe in liberty. I believe that governments should be held in check. I believe people matter. I believe in the flag not because of its shape or color but because of the principles it stands for–the principles in the Constitution, the principles repeated and underlined and highlighted and boldfaced and italicized in the Bill of Rights. The George W. whose presidency and precedents I admire was the first president, not the 43d. It is James Madison I admire, not John Yoo. Thomas Paine, not Glenn Beck. Jefferson, not Limbaugh.
Ronald Reagan would not have been welcome at today’s CPAC or a tea party rally, but he would not have wanted to be there, either. Neither do I.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have friends and family who left the Republican Party after 50 years dedicated membership. Most left during the reign of King George W.. None would be inclined to return to the fold as designed and led by Dick Cheney, Dick Armey and the Birchers. Traditional American conservatism never marched to goosestep drums.