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Matt Barber, Alan Keyes and the Grand Old Party — Part 2

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Last time I began outlining a disagreement I have with two well known and accomplished conservatives, Matt Barber and Alan Keyes. Just as we left off, I was about to say that I look forward to and will consider joining the national movement Alan Keyes will lead to deconstruct the two party system for all the good reasons he laid out in his article.

In the final paragraph of the piece, Keyes writes (all of the following emphasis is my own):

Because of the elitist faction’s subversive agenda the present party sham is predicated on the consolidation of power at the national level. But because it rejects the federal principle this agenda rejects the premises and aims of America’s founders. No one who helps to implement it deserves the name “conservative.” For what do we mean to conserve if not the premises and aims that are the foundation of our constitutional republic? I ponder this further in Part II of this essay, now available on my blog.

Anyone clicking over to his blog in hopes of finding his recommended solution, however, will be disappointed. Instead they will find more excellent analysis of the rot that is America today. For example, here’s Keyes’ opening:

At present the elitist faction aims to overthrow America’s constitutional republic, in order to establish an oligarchic tyranny in the United States, administered by the national government, but actually subservient to powerful individuals, banks and other corporate institutions that comprise a global elitist Stop,look,listenfaction. This factional aim may ostensibly be justified, at least partly, by the notion that the de facto tyranny of a global elite will allow better management of competing national and/or regional powers, mitigating the tendency toward violent conflict, and/or containing it when it occurs.

Amen to all of that. Bad people are doing bad things. In fact, a lot of bad people are doing a lot of bad things. And in both political parties! As for the actions of anyone working inside the Republican Party to, as Matt Barber suggested, “clean house,” here’s Keyes:

In every respect the preceding observations give cause to doubt the common sense, and even the sanity, of conservatives still exhausting their resources and hopes by continuing their dalliance with the GOP. In this context, I use the word dalliance advisedly. In the era before “casual sex” falsely usurped the dignity of a sacrament, the word “dalliance” denoted a sexual relationship devoid of the good faith, the permanent commitment of trust, the reverent respect for God’s will for the preservation of humanity, evoked by the name of marriage.

Add a lack of common sense to the bullet points we started listing last time.

In today’s sham Parties, conservatives are now no better than the despised mistresses of power and ambition, shamefully crying for the favors, or else decrying the neglect, of overseers unwilling truly to espouse their cause.

Add “despised mistresses” “shamefully crying” for favors.

The conservatives’ inveterate dalliance with the GOP reverses this effect- it makes dishonest men and women of every self-professed adherent of constitutional liberty who persists in it.

Oh, and we’re dishonest men and women too.

Worse still, while they dally, the Republic goes down in flames, revealing the disgrace of all who thus willingly leave their posterity to sup upon the ashes of liberty.

Oops, two more — we “dally,” and we’re a disgrace.

So let’s update the list of what Alan Keyes thinks of the millions of us working inside the Republican Party:

  • We’re delusional
  • Our actions make no sense
  • Staying Republicans verges on insanity
  • We don’t deserve to be called conservatives
  • We lack common sense
  • We’re “despised mistresses” “shamefully crying” for favors
  • We “dally,” and we’re a disgrace

It isn’t only liberal and progressive intellectuals who think so much they get confused, and conservative Alan Keyes provides proof of that with articles like this. Theoreticians like Keyes have great minds, but even the brightest among us eventually reveals that they, too, are fallen and limited beings. (And as we can see, sometimes they’re even mean to their friends and allies.)

The great political philosophy professors that I’ve studied under, and whose works I’ve pored over, point to a simple fact of life: eventually things have to get practical, and thus — there is a need for statesmanship. If Keyes is to be a statesmen, he needs to lay out his plan of attack.

If Keyes is suggesting the forming of a third party, great — I say, “go for it.” Having worked in GOP politics for a long time, however, I understand how much work will be required if that is to be accomplished successfully. For years it has been clear to me that taking over an existing party is a better idea than starting from scratch — though I’m happy to be proved wrong. For decades we’ve all read talk of the desire to form a credible third party. The reason it hasn’t been done by now is because it isn’t easy.

If Keyes is suggesting instead that conservatives exit en masse the two party process, then I need to be made aware of how his plan will actually bring about the needed political reformation. Since no one that runs as a Republican deserves the name “conservative,” no conservatives will be on the ballot and none will be elected.

Since political parties are legal entities given ballot access through government statutes, where will the elected officials come from who will implement the necessary changes in the law?

Politics is a frustrating business, so I empathize with all who are brought to their wits end. I live in the frustrating state of Illinois, where the Republican Party was a national joke even before it imported Alan Keyes to run against Barack Obama in 2004.

So, again, what’s to be done?

Completely giving up on the country is certainly an option for those who support the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. Leaving the Republican Party is also a popular choice. Tut tutting about why the two party system is a sham might become increasingly fashionable as well. Then, there’s the Matt Barber suggestion for a GOP house cleaning.

As I’ve stated, I’m open to the possibility of there being a good plan of action outside of that house cleaning. Unfortunately I’ve yet to see any.

Let’s say there is a person behind the steering wheel of a car who is driving at a high rate of speed in the wrong direction. For the passengers unhappy about both speed and direction, jumping out of the car has its risks. Another available option for them is to write about the illegitimacy of steering wheels. Such an essay can have value, especially if it leads to a viable plan to replace the driver.

Clearly, Alan Keyes isn’t a fan of people like me, or, for that matter, thinkers like the recently deceased Harry Jaffa, who wrote just last year:

The end of the Cold War has also brought an end to the remission of the disease of moral relativism that is corroding the life of western civilization. It would certainly seem that the salvation of the West must come, if it is to come, from the United States. The salvation of the United States, if it is to come, must come from the Republican Party. And the salvation of the Republican Party, if it is to come, must come from the conservative movement within it.

Even though Keyes and I might never become good friends, I will continue to enjoy, when I can, how well Keyes articulates what’s wrong with the Republican Party and the nation. I’m sure we disagree little on those fronts. I beg to differ, however, about the character of the people working inside the Republican Party to clean it up so we can get more genuine conservatives elected to office.

More than once Keyes was a candidate in this sham of a two-party system. Now, along with Matt Barber, he’s left to others the work of cleaning up the mess caused by the failure of generations of conservative leaders.

Keyes is right — the Republican Party “is decisively dominated by forces committed to the elitist faction’s agenda for the overthrow of constitutional government, of by, and for the people of the United States.” Why is this the case? My contention in many articles over many years is that far too few conservatives have fulfilled their duty as citizens by participating in the political process. If so many wouldn’t have been AWOL, maybe the GOP would more resemble a Grand Old Party.

Both Matt and Alan have dedicated a lot of time and energy to defend the cause of liberty — and I applaud them for it. But this is not the time to be discouraging ground troops from fighting the necessary and practical party battles.



 

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