Saturday, December 3, 2011
A Half a Century Later and We are Losing Half a Century
The Canadian Manifesto: How the American Neoconservatives Stole My Country
In researching the conservative movement on both sides of the border, one thing becomes clear. In the U.S. they don't like to be referred to as Republican any more than Stephen Harper likes to be called a Tory. They are CONSERVATIVE, and there is a difference. The Republican Party is only the vehicle on their route to power.
Historian Richard Perlstein, writing of the 1960s conservative takeover of the GOP, says "A right-wing fringe took over the party from the ground up" while the Eastern establishment has been reduced to a "fringe looking on in bafflement". (Nixonland, 2003)
The picture above is definitely worth a thousand words. Nelson Rockefeller, who should have beaten Barry Goldwater for the nomination in 1964, George Romney and of course Ronald Reagan.
Mitt looks a lot like his dad, and like his dad he could very well be obliterated by history. George Romney was a moderate who opposed the Vietnam War and supported Civil Rights. The conservatives had to crush him, and now feel the same way about his son.
This is important for Canadians to understand, because Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada, were born of this movement.
Ernest Manning* and his son Preston, planned to take over the PC Party in the 1960s, until Robert Stanfield, a Red Tory, won the leadership, and they knew they'd have to wait. They wrote a book Political Realignment, that called for a definitive right-wing party to challenge a definitive left-wing party, and no soft centre.
It's not hard to see how we are being realigned, though I think Canadians may finally be balking as such an unnatural situation in a country that has always been somewhere in the middle.
Colin Brown, the man who created the National Citizens Coalition, initially to oppose public healthcare, read Political Realignment, contacted Ernest Manning and together they built the NCC into a voice for corporate interests. Stephen Harper ran the NCC before running for the Alliance leadership (they kept his position open for four years in case it didn't work out).
Gerry Nicholls, Harper's VP when he headed up the organization, was fired for criticizing his former boss. Not his wasteful spending, though he did publicly denounce it, but because he committed the mortal sin of suggesting that Stephen Harper was not "conservative" enough.
If lynching was legal they would have strung him up.
Perlstein tells us that while American Conservatives were devoted to Barry Goldwater, they had their suspicions of Richard Nixon, who had also initially spoke out against the Vietnam War. It wasn't until a young Nixon aid, spoke to his Conservative allies and assured them that Nixon was only trying to garner support from moderates, that they agreed to back him.
That young aid? Pat Buchanan.
Being devoutly anti-Communist and anti-Civil Rights, Ronald Reagan was never in doubt. When he ran against incumbent Jerry Brown, as Governor of California, Brown tried to expose Reagan's extremism, that included his ties to the John Birch Society.
However, as one Reagan insider told the Brown team: "A Bircher isn't identifiable, but a negro is." At least they had the "'right' colour" on their side.
The conservative movement, as well as the Religious Right, has always been about race, and they appear to be successfully wiping out the last 50 years of tolerance. One Kentucky Church is even banning interracial marriage. How long before others follow suit?
This week Ezra Levant responded to the Attawapiskat crisis with so many "white people" chants, I was waiting for his Freudian to slip, and he break into a "white power" shout.
Richard Nixon and Stephen Harper shared the political expertise of Arthur Finkelstein, but it was the Reagan/Harper guru, Paul Weyrich, who taught them the art of hatred.
Harper's decision to cut 31.5 million in funding to Ontario immigrant programs, and his new immigration policies, must have the late Weyrich looking up, cackling in the flames.
*Suncor founder, the late J. Howard Pew, gave money to Manning, Reagan, Goldwater and Nixon. His Pew Foundation now supports many right-wing causes.