tion. McKinley, Roosevelt, and Hanna represented the rise ofrnmodern America.'”rnSetting aside the potted history—caHing Mark Hanna arnstrategist is like calling Al Capone a businessman—one has tornconcede the Speaker’s point. The battle lines in 1896 wererncleariv drawn: McKinley and Hanna represented the forces ofrn”modernization”—big business linked to big government, thernmasters of war and the builders of empire, big profits from arnconsumerism that prevs upon families and subverts all moralitv.rnBrvan, on the other hand, was a simple man speaking thernlanguage of Jefferson and the Bible. This stark comparison isrnnot entirely fair to the victor: in truth, Bill McKinley was notrnthe worst Republican who has ever sat in the White House.rnBoth he and his crooked mentor were reluctant imperialists: unlikernthe Bull Moose, they had boodle, not conciuest on theirrnminds.rnIt is strange how this centur’ is ending as it began. Ideas andrnmvths that we had thought dead and buried suddenly reappear.rnNo one, we should have thought, at this late date, couldrnpossibly think of rehabilitating the “Ohio Dynasty” of Americanrnpolitics. In his 1932 novel The Farm, Ohioan Louis Bromfieldrnwrote of the good old days of Ohio before “the War of Secession.”rnBromfield was almost nostalgic for the old-fashionedrnMidvestern politician “with his chicanery, his opportunism,rnand his hypocrisy born more of the times and the sketchy ethicsrnof a people greedy for quick riches than of any individual baseness.rn. . . Ohio had not yet produced her arra)’ of weak Presidentsrnand corrupt, arrogant, and unscrupulous ‘bosses.'”rnThen the war came, which turned the country over to thernprofiteers and swindlers. The 1870’s and 80’s were an orgy ofrngreed that equally disgusted men as opposite in character asrn1 Ienr’ Adams and Mark Twain, but it was in the next “splendidrnlittle war” that our national character was completel)’ corrupted.rnBromfield, looking back, summed up the 90’s: “Everythingrnwas ‘bully’ with the colonel of the Rough Riders, and SenatorrnLodge was weaving a mesh of chicaner)- and bad faith to forcernthe American people into a wild career of imperialism.”rnGoing to school in those ears meant an indoctrination thatrnmight have been drafted by Mr. Barnes. The object was to fillrnthe “budding citizens with a blind enthusiasm for a goxcrnmentrn(and so for themselves) regardless of its folly, its corruption,rnand hypocrisy. There was even an effort made to make usrnbelieve that the President was a sacrosanct creature, incapablernof wrong, vet at home . . . [he] had heard of McKinley and Hannarnand he knew that his own state had produced a whole croprnof feeble Presidents and scoundrelly politicians.”rnSuch was the choice in 1896. On one side stood the forces ofrncorruption and imperialism masquerading as free enterprisernand patriotism, and on the other stood Bryan and the Populists.rnIt is the same choice today. In the entire field of presidentialrncandidates, there is only one man speaking on behalf of middlernAmericans, and he too has been accused (in the Wall Streetrnjournal, for example) of inciting “class warfare”; he is one of thernfew political leaders willing to use the language of our old-timernreligion to combat the grotesque heresies of “modernization,”rnand he is the only candidate who has consistently opposedrnAmerican adventurism in Somalia, the Persian Gulf, and thernBalkans (where his pro-Croatian prejudices have driven himrnto—but neer over—the brink into interventionism).rnLike Bryan, Pat Buchanan may be wrongheaded in some ofrnhis policies, but he has his heart in the right place, in defendingrnthe interests of ordinary Americans against the transnationalrnelite class that has leveraged its way into ownership of most ofrnthe free world. After 100 years, we have the same choice beforernus, but it is not between Democrats and Republicans. The debaternover the budget revealed that the differences between therncongressional Republicans and the administration were allrnquestions of degree, not of fundamental principle.rnIt is not a contest between Democrats and Republicans, butrnbetween one republican and the imperialists in both parties.rnThere are good arguments to be made in favor of empire, andrnthey were made honestly by Roosevelt I and disingenuously byrnRoosevelt II, and the public interest would be better served ifrnMessrs. Dole and Glinton would make their ease openly andrnwithout subterfuge. But even if they do not, the choice betweenrnrepublic and empire is clear enough even for a HarvardrnPh.D. to see it. If Americans refuse to see the election in thisrncold light of day, then they probably do not deserve to holdrnonto even the fig leaf of free elections concealing the nakedrnlibido dominandi that is the one reality of our political life.rnTHE CROSS OF GOLDrn”If they say bimetalisni is good, but that we cannot have it untilrnother nations help us, wc reply that, instead of having a goldrnstandard because England has, we will restore bimetalism, andrnthen let England hae bimetalism because the United Statesrnhas it. If they dare to eome out in the open field and defendrnthe gold standard as a good thing, we will fight them to the uttermost.rnHaving behind us the producing masses of this nationrnand the world, supported by the eommercial interests, thernlaboring interests, and the toilers everywhere, we will answerrntheir demand for a gold standard bv saying to them: You shallrnnot press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns,rnyou shall not erueify mankind upon a cross of gold.”rn—William Jennings Bryan, 1896rnMARCH 1996/nrnrnrn