em interests had seceded in 1861, theirnrivals in the north saw their opportunitynand grabbed it.nLincoln’s presidency (and perhapsnSecretary of War Edwin Stanton asnmuch as the President himself) servednas the icepick that broke through thencrystallized institutions of the First Republicnand allowed the waters of annemerging bourgeois elite to flow towardnpolitical, economic, and culturalncontrol. Once the bourgeoisie hadnwon, it had little use for an expandednpresidency, and it ruled largely throughnits own intermediary institutions innCongress, the local jurisdictions thatncontrolled Congress, and the informal,ndecentralized, and private apparatusnthat the elite constructed in smallntowns, private corporations, and statenand local governments across thencountry.nThe corruption and incompetencenthat ensued from bourgeois dominancenis known to every schoolboy, thoughnsomehow the connection between thenexcesses of the Cilded Age and thencrushing of the South is never noticed.nIn any case, by the early 20th century,na new elite of rising technocratic andnmanagerial forces was challenging thenbourgeois order and making use ofnProgressivist ideology to discredit bourgeoisninstitutions.nOf course, they saw in the presidencyna convenient instrument by whichntliey could centralize power and underminenthe hegemony of their bourgeoisnrivals. Progressivist ideologuesnlike the New Republic’s Herbert Crolyn.looked on the Lincoln presidency as anM O V I N G ?nLET US KNOW BEFORE YOU GO!nTo assure uninterrupted delivery ofnChronicles, please notify us in advance.nSend change of address onnthis form with the mailing label fromnyour latest issue of Chronicles to:nSubscription Department, Chronicles,nP.O. Box 800, Mount Morris, Illinoisn61054.nNamenAddress ,nCitynState _Zip-n10/CHRONICLESnmodel for their own revolution, andnwith the two Roosevelts and WoodrownWilson they succeeded in entrenchingnthemselves in the vast regulatorynwoodwork of the executive branch thatnthey built. A half century later thendominant managerial class is still therenand is still dependent on the imperialnpresidency, and, like the bourgeois elitenthat it displaced, has also become corrupt,nself-serving, incompetent, andnoligarchic.nFor a brief moment in the 1970’s itnlooked as though its power was beingneffectively challenged by yet anothernrising social force of Middle Americans,nand both Richard Nixon’s “NewnAmerican Majority” and the “NewnRight” of the later part of the decadenseemed about to oust the incumbentnmanagerial elite. In the first half of thenReagan presidency, however, it becamenclear that it wouldn’t happen. Itncouldn’t happen then, for two reasons.nFirst, Mr. Reagan and his supportersnnever developed an alternative base ofncultural power by which they couldnlegitimize their efforts. They did notndo so mainly because they never understoodnclearly what they representedn— not a clean-up squad sent in to mopnup the mess left by Jimmy Carter but annew set of engineers and architectsnwho were supposed to tear down thenold structure and build anew. Hence,nMr. Reagan and most of his advisers,nwordsmiths, and satellites continued tonjustify their policies in terms acceptablento the dominant culture and the interestsnit serves. Mr. Reagan continuallyninvoked Franklin Roosevelt and thenNew Deal, and the supply-side proselytizersnand resident anticommunistsnwere always summoning from the vastyndeep the spirits of John F. Kennedy,nHubert Humphrey, and Henry Jackson,nwhile everyone rushed to prostratenhimself before the chief deity of thenliberal pantheon, the Divine Doctornhimself, Martin Luther King, Jr. ThenReagan administration presented itselfnsimply as a corrective to liberal errors innnavigation, not as a new ship charting annew course. In the end, the MiddlenAmerican radicalism to which Mr.nReagan had appealed in his eariy politicalncareer and in his 1980 campaignnproved to be too immature, too poorlynunderstood by the Gipperites, and toonlacking in an independent cultural andnpolitical consciousness to serve as thennnchart by which the new course couldnbe planned.nSecondly, any effort to raise MiddlenAmerican consciousness for a new culturalnidentity and a power base restingnon it was thwarted by the manipulativengenius of the incumbent elite. By insertingncultural managers like WilliamnBennett into the National Endowmentnfor the Humanities and the EducationnDepartment, by placing corporatenmandarins like Donald Regan andnGeorge Shultz in charge of economicnand foreign policy, by letting GeorgenBush and his friends wield more influencenthan they had a right to, and bynrelying on such silver-throated men ofnthe people as Howard Baker and RobertnDole to run the Senate for him,nMr. Reagan ensured that nothing hendid would ever seriously threaten thenfoundations of the ruling groups henhad campaigned against. His chosennlieutenants and the bureaucratic morlocksnwho labored beneath the surfacenof visible politics simply aborted anyninclinations to radical action that mightnhave stirred in the administration’snwomb.nThe emasculation of the Reagannpresidency before it ever reached politicalnpuberty was, in retrospect, predictable.nThe underlying radical impulsesnof Reaganism were simply too embryonicnto be able to take and exercisenpower. Nor, for all the disenchantmentnwith George Bush and his court, haventhey grown up very much since Mr.nReagan departed.nIn effect, what this means is thatngenuinely radical conservative forcesncannot expect to accomplish muchnsimply by winning the White House.nPolitical power in the absence of annalternative social and cultural powernbase will inevitably be swallowed by thenforces that remain dominant in societynand culture and that are particularlyndense in the presidency, the institutionalnheart of the regime. If the rightnreally wants to win power, it will havento create that kind of counterculturenbefore it can expect to gain much fromnelectoral glad-handing and horse-trading.nOnce it does so and is willing tonmobilize its countercultural basenagainst the incumbent elite and itsninstitutional loci of power, it will findnthe presidency the natural instrumentnfor a new Middle American revolution.nn