I joined the Right wing in 1956. I have seen it grow from a tiny fringe movement into a chaotic mass of people working at cross-purposes, but mostly sitting on the sidelines of life, wringing their hands, and sending their children into the tax-funded schools because the schools are cheap -- just like most of the right wingers are.
Today, they are up in arms, metaphorically speaking, because they don't think they are getting their fair share of the political loot.
If you sense that I am skeptical of the Tea Party movement, you get my drift. Whenever it starts campaigning on a platform of shutting down Medicare and the public schools, drop me a note. I'll re-think my position.
The Tea Party movement attracts lots of weird people, as any fringe movement does in its early stage. The Fabian movement in 1885 was typical. What a collection of weirdos! But within three decades, they had captured the intellectual leadership of Britain. By 1930, they had captured the nation.
For a good book on this, read Margaret Patrician McCarran's Fabianism in the Political Life of Britain. It's free on the Mises Institute's site. Download it here.
By 1945, they had captured American politics.
For a good book on this, read Rose L. Martin's Fabian Freeway. It is a popularized version of Sister McCarran's huge manuscript, which was suppressed by her bishop in 1964, The Fabian Transmission Belt. Martin's book is also on the Mises.org site, here.
AN UNSOLICITED LETTER FROM A STRANGER
I received the following letter last week. It was in response to my article, "Setting the Government's Agenda," which was mostly on how the American Establishment works, and why it rejects Ron Paul's agenda. This outraged one self-declared political activist.
I don't think the GOP worries about undermining Dr. Paul's candidacy. They know very well that Dr. Paul will do that himself. Dr. Paul has no intention of really running a campaign for the nomination. He showed us that during the last election.
I was one of the myriads of people who were conned by Dr. Paul. I repeatedly responded to his call for more money so that he could campaign. But then I noticed something. Dr. Paul was NOT campaigning. He was gathering all of this money and then sitting on it.
I live in Tennessee. Dr. Paul's campaign did not pay for a single ad in any paper or on radio or television in the state. There was one ad in the Nashville paper, but Dr. Paul's national campaign did not pay for it. His Tennessee supporters had to scramble for cash because the national campaign would not pay to campaign in the state.
On Super Tuesday, with large numbers of delegates at stake, where was Dr. Paul? In West Virginia. He deliberately chose the most insignificant place to campaign when the chips were down.
Ron Paul is a fraud. We made sure he had the money to get out his message. He refused to spend the money we had given him. He took the money under false pretenses. Like virtually all libertarians, he is deathly afraid that someone will actually call on him to implement the policies he advocates.
Hell, when he had over 300 cosponsors to his bill to audit the Fed, he didn't have the guts to ask for a discharge petition. Ron Paul is all talk and no action. None whatsoever.
The GOP establishment is not worried about Ron Paul. They know that if he ever became a serious contender, he would sabotage himself. Ron Paul has no intention of carrying out ANY of the policies he advocates.
And the sooner liberty-minded people realize that Ron Paul is nothing but talk, the sooner we can find someone who will actually advance our cause.
I sent him my usual reply, which I stole from Mitch Jayne of the Dillards/Darlings half a century ago: Two of you would not make a halfwit. He replied, saying I was rude. So, I sent my standard follow-up to such incensed replies: I was wrong in my assessment. Three of you would not make a halfwit.
My attitude is that you should treat big-mouth dolts as big-mouth dolts. Anyone so supremely arrogant as to send a rant like his to a man who just wrote a defense of Ron Paul's agenda -- and who helped craft it back in 1976 -- deserves to be treated as an ill-informed jerk. Politeness only encourages these people. See my article on tar babies.
BMD (big mouth dolt) is unaware of how politics works. He is so naive as to believe that Ron Paul could have won the Tennessee primary. How politically naive can a person be? That was in mid-2008. By early 2008, the media had ceased inviting him to the debates. The donations ceased flowing. That was when the campaign committee wisely decided to stop spending.
BMD suffers from the perennial affliction of neophyte conservatives: trust in the two-party system. He thinks the system is not actually rigged by the Establishment, which it has been since at least 1912. He thinks that his vote, his donations, and his opinions count. They don't.
So, he feels betrayed. Ron Paul didn't run TV ads. Of course he didn't. A few ads across the nation would have cost far more than $20 million. They would have changed no one's mind.
The goal of any smart political campaign is to leverage the money. Get publicity with the money by merely having the money. Don't blow it by spending it on mainstream TV ads. Conserve some of it for the next run in 2012, and use it to build non-TV, non-mainstream communications. Use the money to develop a mailing list. Meanwhile, keep publishing. Keep going on TV. Use the money to get out the message. This is more important than a kamikaze strategy of running TV ads.
Ron Paul is the first nationally known American politician on the Right to figure this out in the post-War world. Look at the coverage he gets. No other Congressman gets as much coverage who is not in a high-ranking position. He gets coverage because of his ideas. This is unique in modern American history. Why does he get the coverage? Because he has a huge mailing list and lots of videos on YouTube.
This tactic goes back to 1896, when Charles Bryan, William Jennings Bryan's brother, developed the first national political mailing list. It belonged to his brother. Bryan got two more shots at the Presidency: 1900 and 1908. So much clout did the name have that Charles Bryan got the Vice Presidential nomination from the Democrats in 1924.
BMD also does not understand what the mainstream media recognized: the heart of the Establishment's problem with Paul is not one man with one vote in Congress, and no chance of the nomination. It is the fact that some unknown fund-raiser could raise $20 million for a fringe politician whom the mainstream media had ignored for years. Ron Paul's fund-raising did a $20 million end run around the Establishment.
If you don't think this caught the media flat-footed, look at the expression on Bob Schieffer's face on Face the Nation in November 2007, after $4 million had been raised in one day -- the "money bomb." This was the largest one-day fund-raising in the history of any Presidential campaign, ever. Just watch the first two minutes. He is dumbfounded.
The committee kept about $4 million of the $20 million as seed money. That money, when leveraged through the Web, is a way for Paul to get out his message. He gets it out. Compare his success with Dennis Kucinich's. The story of the 2008 campaign is on Wikipedia.
But BMD is not impressed. He wants an impossible political victory. He wants to back a winner. He says that he will now look for someone else.
Like who? We have had two men in Congress since 1900 with Paul's views: Howard Buffett 60 years ago and Ron Paul. BMD will never find another person to place his naive faith in. Like a 60-year-old spinster who never made it to the altar, he says he will wait for someone special.
The BMDs of the world want to justify their failure to back a political winner or to influence anyone. The way they do this is to identify everyone with any success as a fraud, a con man, and a failure. Then they can be proud of their own lack of success. At least they are honest failures!
THE DOGCATCHER STRATEGY
The correct goal in every area of life is to target something small and achieve it. Then build on this small victory.
In politics, this is what I call the dogcatcher strategy. I posted an article on this in 2000. I wrote my first privately distributed position paper on it in 1988. I sent it to New Right strategist Paul Weyrich, who passed it around to a limited circle. No one paid any attention, nor did I think anyone would. Weyrich had told me years earlier that he could not get anyone to run for political office below Congressman. There was too much ego involved. There still is, which is why my strategy will work: little competition in small-town settings.
Here is what I wrote in November 2000.
Why do libertarians think they have to field a candidate for President when they have not yet put anyone into the office of dogcatcher? Why does anyone believe that he should send money to a political party that has never won anything locally? I think it's a way for people to tell their friends, "I'm fed up." Fine; but don't take politics seriously. "I'm fed up" is not a campaign platform or a way to effect political change. Don't imagine that it matters who wins a no-win party's nomination. Don't give any post-election thought to the question, "How could we have won 2% of the vote instead of less than 1%" It doesn't matter. It really doesn't.
What matters is the red section of the country in the map of the counties: the heartland. These are the counties that voted for George W. Bush. There are over 3,000 counties in the United States. There are over 100,000 offices to get elected to, if you count school boards. This is the playing field that matters, not the Presidency.
But conservative and libertarian voters want to feel that they have done something important when they vote for "their man" in The Big One. They still believe in the modern conception of the Presidency. They have emotionally accepted the legitimacy of centralized political power. They have not only abandoned the Articles of Confederation; they have abandoned Madison, Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams, who ran for Congress and won after he lost the Presidency in the election of 1828.
Ron Paul has shown the way. Start your climb to power no higher than the top rung that your weight-lifting leg can reach. This may be the office of dogcatcher. Don't pick a party banner to run under that you suspect cannot carry you to the highest rung that you are capable of attaining without developing leaks. If you don't plan to climb very high, join that party whose local voters and spokesmen may listen to your suggestions once in a while.
If you want one book to read on what it really takes to have local political clout for initially unpopular causes, with no budget to speak of, read Douglas Hyde's little masterpiece, Dedication and Leadership. He was a Communist Party organizer in England in the 1940's, but later converted to Catholicism. He shows how the really bad guys did it, way back when.