CULTURAL REVOLUTIONSrnOUR FREE FEDERAL REPUBLIC,rnonce the env)’ of the world, is sinking everrnfurther into the decadence of empire.rnWe can scarcely call “republican” arnregime in which oligarchical judges contravenernlaw, common sense, and majority’rnwill, and yet are obeyed by 270 millionrn”citizens” with barely a murmm; inrnwhich the media of education and informationrncontract steadily into a uniformrnunthinking orthodoxy of ruler worship;rnin which artificial aristocracies of specialrnprivilege have become steadily more entrenched.rnThe best evidence of the decay of thernFounding Fathers’ republican virtuesrnand principles is found in our two majorrnpresidential candidates. For the firstrntime, the American people are presentedrnwith a choice between two princes of thernimperial blood.rnFrom the disappearance of the genuinernaristocracy of the founding generationrnuntil today, at least one presidentialrncandidate (and usually both) has been arnself-made man—that is, someone born ofrnhumble origins who has risen to highrnpublic office by achievement or, at least,rnby long and prominent service to therncommonwealth. Think of the origins ofrnTruman, Eisenhower, Nixon, Johnson,rnFord, Reagan, Dole, Clinton. In fact,rnthat one could be born in a log cabin andrnaspire to the White House was long regardedrnas the benchmark of Americanrndemocracy.rnBut look at the contenders today: tvvornprcppie Ky Leaguers born into powerfulrnpolitical families. Bush is the son of arnpresident, and Gore, the son of a longtimernpowerful senator with insider connechonsrnto international capital.rnThere is little difference betweenrnthem except, perhaps, that one appeals tornjocks and the other to nerds. One is arnpresidential candidate from Connecticutrnwith a running mate from the District ofrnColumbia, while the other is from thernDistrict of Columbia with a rimningrnmate from Connecticut.rnIt seems that someone can now becomernpresident solely by virtue of beingrnthe son of a president—even a presidentrnwho was rejected by the electorate. Indeed,rnthe president voted out by the peoplernis, along with his lackeys, set to returnrnto power in his son’s entourage.rnThe two pretenders, it is true, havernbeen elected to public offices; theyrnwoidd not be a step from the WhiternHouse if they had not been. But neitherrnwould have held any public office if hernhadn’t inherited his position. Both are ofrnmediocre talent. Neither has any substantialrnaccomplishment to his credit orrnany vision that could be called statesmanlike.rnThey are celebrities, which someonernonce defined as people who are famousrnfor being famous.rnThey do not disagree more thanrnmarginally on anything that realh’ counts;rnBoth are dedicated to cultivating thernmetastasizing empire at home andrnabroad. We are left witii the right to cheerrnfor the prince of our choice and to acclaimrnone (and his entourage) into power.rn— Clyde WilsonrnGEORGE W. B U S H ‘ S bid for the presidencyrnsignals the death knell of the modernrnconservative movement. The GOPrnfaithful are embracing the Texas governorrnas the true heir to the mantle ofrnRonald Reagan, believing tiiat Bush willrnlead the Republicans out of the politicalrnwilderness and back into power. Theyrnmaintain that Bush’s “compassionaternconservatism” is the price the right mustrnpay for a Republican administration thatrnwill sweep away the moral degenerac}’ ofrnthe Clinton years and implement taxrncuts, Social Secmity reform, and a nationalrnmissile defense. Rather than signifyingrnan affirmation of Reaganism, however.rnBush’s campaign is a repudiation ofrnthe core principles conservatives havernchampioned for the past 50 years.rnOn the most important issue for thosernon the right — repealing the Leviathanrnstate and scaling back government spendingrn—Bush is a t)pical COP pragmatist.rnDuring his tenure as governor of Texas,rnthe public sector expanded relentlessly;rnsince 1995, the budget ballooned byrnnearly 40 percent to SI00 billion. Lastrnyear alone. Bush endorsed $2.1 billion inrnnew spending on education —a record inrnthe state of Texas. During his presidentialrncampaign, he has abandoned thernlongstanding demand of conservatives tornabolish the federal Department of Education.rnHe is calling for national testing,rna strong federal role in education policy,rnand massive increases in government expendituresrnto reinvigorate “local, community-rnbased” schools.rnBush is a big-government Republicanrnon other issues as well. He has not singledrnout one government program in thernbloated $1.8 trillion federal budget thatrnhe would eliminate. On defense spending,rnhe promises more public money tornrestore the “morale and readiness” of ourrnArmed Forces. Even Bush’s muchvauntedrnplan to begin privatizing SocialrnSecurit’ is notiiing more than a timid attemptrnto nibble around the edges of anrnentitlement program that, as Robert Taftrnpredicted 60 years ago, is destined to bernfinancially bankrupt unless genuine andrnsweeping reform is enacted. “Phe ‘Pexasrngovernor is attempting to transform tiiernCOP into an “inclusionar” party thatrncaters to Hispanics, blacks, women, andrnhomosexuals. His campaign rhetoric isrnfull of meaningless platitudes aboutrncelebrating the country’s “diversity” andrnleaving “no child behind.” During thernRepublican Convention, Colin Powellrn—slated for a position on the Bush defensernteam —even deliercd a speechrnblasting the GOP for its failure to supportrnaffirmative action and to confrontrn”racism.”rnBush is not a grand political visionar’rnbut an establishment Republican whosernconcept of governing in tiie national interestrnextends only to supporting thernmultinational business class he represents.rnHe is a staunch supporter of globalrnfree trade and unlimited immigration,rnshowing no concem for the plight of displacedrnblue-collar workers. More importantly,rnhis “compassionate conservatism”rnneglects to address the cultural issues —rnsuch as famih’ breakdown, crime, racialrnquotas, and the erosion of national identitrn—that attracted the Reagan Democratsrnto the GOP and which are essential tornforging a Republican majoriti’ coalition.rnYet the Busbies believe they arc takingrna page out of Clinton’s playbook b’ stealingrnke’ issues such as education and SocialrnSecurit}-. The’ hope tiiat this will resonaternwith the electorate, especially withrnkey voting blocks such as suburban soccerrnmoms and senior citizens. The Republicans’rnstrategy- is to capture the politicalrncenter and blur the policy difl^erenccs betweenrntheir candidate and Al Gore, hopingrnthat Bush’s charisma and folksy campaignrnstyle will be enough to lead them tornvictory. In short, principles are beingrnabandoned in fiwor of expediency.rnThe fundamental problem Bush fecesrnis that opinion polls consistently showrnNOVEMBER 2000/5rnrnrn