REVIEWSrnLeaving thernLosing Sidernby Terence P. JeffreyrnBeautiful Losers: Essays on thernFailure of American Conservatismrnby Samuel P. FrancisrnColumbia: University of Missouri Press;rn256 pp., $37.50rnThe main fact of American politics inrnthe 1990’s is that the elites of bothrnmajor parties have moved so far fromrnthe values and interests of the middlernclass that a third party has begun to risernalmost spontaneously to fill the void. InrnColorado, this third-party-to-be-namedlaterrnpassed an amendment denying specialrnrights to homosexuals. In New York,rnit worked in Queens to reject a multiculturalistrngrade school curriculum andrnin Staten Island to secede from Manhattan.rnIt has passed term limits in 14rnstates. In 1992, the third party cutrnCeorge Bush’s Republican “base” to 38rnpercent of the vote, less than HerbertrnHoover managed in 1932 even with thernalbatross of the Great Depression. It alsornheld “victorious” Democrat Bill Clintonrnto two points short of MichaelrnDukakis’s 1988 standard. Ross Perot,rnwho vacillated in and out of the campaignrnand in and out of popular favor, inrnthe end won 19 percent nationwide—rnand significantly more than that in somernregions of the Sunbelt formerly perceivedrnas Republican presidentialrnstrongholds. Still, the professionalrnDemocrats and Republicans in Washingtonrnact as if they have heard nothingrnnew murmuring from Middle America.rnRather than cut middle-class taxesrnand end welfare as we know it, PresidentrnClinton has pushed through the biggestrntax increase in history and unveiled arnscheme for socialized medicine. He hasrnopened the Armed Forces to homosexualsrnand the Treasury to Planned Parenthood.rnHe has lost 18 soldiers (denied armorrnby our own Pentagon) in a futilernmanhunt for a Somali strongman whornwas later offered an American armoredrncar, and an American escort, to catch anrnAmerican plane to a warlord conventionrnin Ethiopia. Some Republicans, meanwhile,rnhave looked for opportunities tornengage President Clinton in a “centristrncoalition” that knows how to “govern.”rnThe defining moment of this new bipartisanshiprnwas the passage of NAFTA,rnthe so-called free-trade agreement thatrnincludes $8 billion in foreign aid, investmentrnguarantees to help move Americanrnjobs to Mexico, and trinational bureaucraciesrnstaffed by labor and environmentalrn”experts” with the power to finernand sanction the l l S . government.rnSamuel Francis has been predictingrnthis impasse for a decade. In the wellreasonedrnpieces collected in BeautifulrnLosers: Essays on the Failure of AmericanrnConservatism, he sets the historical stagernupon which this farce is played. As a nationallyrnsyndicated newspaper columnistrnand regular essayist in Chronicles, Francisrnhas popularized the concept of the MiddlernAmerican Radical and forecast thernrising populist tide that is just now beginningrnto hit the beach.rnWho are the Middle American Radicals?rnThev are working- and middleclassrnAmericans who ascribe to the traditionalrnvalues of work, family, faith, andrncommunity and who believe their economicrnsecurity, the safety of their neighborhoods,rnand even the freedom and independencernof their country are beingrnsold out by “an entrenched elite.”rnThough he is clearly sympathetic to—or,rnrather, enthusiastic about—their cause,rnFrancis maintains the intellectual disciplinernneeded to turn the keen eye of arnstudent of Machiavelli on this sociologicalrngrouping. In an essay written in thernearly 80’s entitled “Message fromrnMARs,” he concludes that MiddlernAmerican Radicals may form the heartrnof a new political coalition. “As a risingrnpolitical class,” he wrote, “the MARsrnhave their own interests, aspirations, andrnvalues, and these are not intended tornbenefit the nation, society as a whole, orrnhumanity. Nevertheless, the structuralrninterests of the MARs—what is of benefitrnto them because of their position andrnfunctions in American society—may bernbeneficial to America as well.” In Francis’srnview, MARs are no more libertarianrnthan they are altruistic. If a MAR “elite”rnwere to gain power, he argues, it “wouldrnmake use of the state for its own interestsrnas willingly as the managerial elite does.rnMAR resentment of welfare paternalismrnand regulation is not based on a profoundrnfaith in the market but simply onrnthe sense of injustice that unfair welfarernprograms, taxes, and the stifling of regulationrnhave bred.”rnw H’rnf%* i’^^^rn;i^w^„ ^rn’. & ^rnimmrnril’^j wl?|lrnm ^•KP>^rn’rnIrnirn’^g ^^M^mrnWj/Bj^^^rnSHHHIrnPP-^rn[ ^~~-rn1 TrnX. ,…rn^M yrn^^”^^^B .^^^^^.”^jS^^^oB^^rn’%^^ ^^^^SMS^^K^^M Bfe^MMHWprnS^^^^P^ffirn^^^^•i” ‘^’ ^f^Frnh’l^rn.. -4,,Mf~ Urn^^If^ , ‘ ‘ ,rn0:’H “‘rn^3w/j’,;rnilfc’ *rnI^K”-^’rnirnLooking through the prism of thernCold War, Francis postulated that a newrnconservative government, “reflectingrnthe interests and values of its MARs-rnSunbelt-neo-entrepreneurial base, is likelyrnto endorse a new nationalism that insistsrnon the military and economicrnpreeminence of the United States, onrninternational activism (and even expansionism)rnin world affairs, on at least somernmeasure of protection for domestic producers,rnand for more resistance to ThirdrnWorld arrogance and barbarism.” Itrnwould replace the “cosmopolitanism” ofrnthe current elite with cultural traditionalism.rn”[T] he rising MAR-Sunbelt eliternis likely to form around what may berncalled a domestic ethic that centers onrnthe family, the neighborhood, the localrncommunity, the church, and the nationrnas the basic framework of values,” Francisrnargues. “The values associated withrnthe domestic ethic will contrast sharplyrnwith those of cosmopolitanism; the dutyrnof work rather than the right of welfare;rnthe value of loyalty to concrete persons,rnsymbols, and institutions rather than therncosmopolitan dispersion of loyalties; andrnthe social and human necessity of sacrificernand deferral of gratification ratherrnthan the cosmopolitan-managerial demandrnfor immediate gratification, indulgence,rnand consumption.”rnAt a time when Congress is populatedrnbv $135,000-per-year check-bouncers.rn36/CHRONlCLESrnrnrn