Day By Day

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Byron York explains what is happening in the Republican primaries -- something that most commentators have been unable or unwilling to recognize. Conservatives and others are fighting back against the liberal cultural hegemony. He writes:

[W]hat the voters are craving in the debates and on the stump is someone who can look liberals squarely in the eye and tell them why we are right and they are wrong.  The American conservative base has had to put up with being called stupid, racist, greedy and unfair for decades by not only the Democrats but the vast majority of the media.  The pent up frustration of these decades is magnified by the fact that George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain would not or perhaps could not confront this. 

In fact, rare is the Republican candidate at any level who refuses to put up with this and fights back.  When they do, they become sensations.  Even Chris Christie and Donald Trump -- neither one a real conservative -- earned the love of the Republican base by simply deigning to fight back.  Marco Rubio and Allen West are far more popular and well known than they have any right to be simply because they refuse to accept the argument on liberals' terms.  They fight.  They elicit the roar.
The roar is passion.  The roar is intensity.  The roar is pent up frustration.  The roar, put another way, is the national mood of conservatives.  It is a roar that will demand a fighter.  It will demand that those who want our votes must not cower in the face of the liberal template.  If fact, it is a roar that demands that we do not accept any liberal templates.
Read more here.

There is a sea change underway in our political culture and it has been brewing just beneath the surface for years, even decades. The liberal hegemony that triumphed in the middle decades of the century has been eroding for some time. Remember the "hardhats for Nixon", the "Reagan Democrats", the "Perotistias"? They all were all expressions of dissatisfaction with the fundamental assumptions of liberal political culture -- the abandonment of the founders' promise of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" and its replacement by a culture of death, intrusive regulation, and a pervasive pessimism about the future.
Liberals have dismissed such movements by invoking Richard Hofstader's infamous formulation in "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" that cast conservatives as being essentially irrational, even paranoid in their opposition to progressive policies. Those who stood up to liberal bigotry were dismissed as racists, pigs, bitter clingers, haters, and a host of other derisive terms. And through all this the leadership of the republican party, which claimed to represent conservative interests, simply accepted much of the liberal critique of American political culture. 

No more! Newt Gingrich is in many ways a supremely unattractive figure, but at least he is willing to challenge liberal bigotry head on, and in doing so has evoked a popular response that can only encourage those of us who hope for a better future.

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