By L. Neil Smith
Exclusive to The Libertarian Enterprise
American culture often places an exaggerated emphasis on "breaking news" when what's really needed to cope with crucial circumstances is a longer outlook.
Stories pop up on the horizon, receive five minutes' analysis from media hacks and tame "independent" commentators. A party-line is generated to distort the facts so that they serve established interests, and the story is disposed of as quickly as possible, usually within days, sometimes within hours.
The fact is, the trade that most needs a 15-day waiting period is probably journalism.
Such was the case recently, when former Reagan Secretary of Education and "drug czar" William Bennett -- the Book of Virtues guy Rush Limbaugh used to squander so much of his time (and ours) toadying to -- saw fit to publicly attack Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich for sucking up to Jesse Jackson.
Doubtless you remember the event.
Republican Congressman J.C. Watts, a black conservative, given the task of officially answering Bill Clinton's State of the Union address for his party, used the opportunity -- quite appropriately -- to address one of the country's most egregious blights, "race-hustling poverty pimps". (Before you get too excited, never forget that this guy is a typical Republican, with a typical Republican's moral integrity and intestinal fortitude: he apologized the next day.)
Gingrich (who, driven by some freshly-discovered species of pusillanimity that established a new record even for Republicans, had invited Jackson to sit with him during the address) felt called upon to tender his sincerest regrets to the Rainbow Demagogue for Watts' indisputably truthful and highly cogent remarks.
Although the congressman named no names, everybody knew who he was talking about.
Gingrich's gratuitous expression of regret would certainly have been bad enough.
His disintegration and collapse as a national figure of respect has been dismaying -- almost physically painful to witness -- even to his political opponents.
At least to those among them -- unlike such creatures as David Bonior and Richard Gephart -- who can truthfully lay claim to some trace of honesty and decency.
Even worse -- and somehow more vicariously embarrassing -- was this feeble attempt on Bennett's part to rehabilitate himself with conservatives for the cretinous and cowardly position he took last year on California's Proposition 187.
In what would turn out to be a miniature preview of Bob Dole's milk-toast presidential campaign -- and undoubtedly what we can all expect when the same gaggle of fumbledummies attempt to shove Jack Kemp down our throats in 2000 -- both Bennett and Kemp took a stand against an extremely popular measure that (had it not been interfered with by California's Marxist courts) would have gone a long way toward solving many social and political problems of the last couple of decades, by denying certain social services -- welfare -- to illegal immigrants.
The "explanation" is that, given their grand design for 2000, Bennett and Kemp didn't want to alienate massive numbers of Hispanic voters in southern California.
And Bill accused Newt of sucking up to Jesse Jackson?
The result of all this flap was a continued erosion of everyone's regard for the Republican Party which not only fails to say what it really means very often, but whenever it does -- apparently by accident -- immediately takes it back.
Who are these Republicans, anyway?
They always claim to stand up for individual rights, but I can't think of a single individual right they've reliably stood up for over the past five decades.
They let Democrats -- like Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson -- start bloody, stupid, purposeless wars which they then feel perversely obligated to defend.
They blather about "law and order" all the time, but you'll never see them lift even a pinky finger to enforce the highest law of the land, the Bill or Rights.
Republicans are the "Rent-a-Wreck" of the American political game, not the Avis or even Budget to the Democrats' Hertz; they don't even bother to try harder.
Now look, Bill, you can trust me.
I'm gonna assume there's somebody in the Republican party with a remnant of intelligence, courage, and morality, and I'm going to pretend that it's you.
Believe me, I have absolutely nothing but your best interests uppermost among my thoughts, and because of that, I have some items of advice to offer you.
If you really want to win back the hearts and minds of conservatives, then apologize publicly -- and abjectly -- for ever having proposed gun control of any kind (there are some of us out here who remember that putting political pressure on our semiautomatic weapons was your idea) and demand its immediate repeal.
Do what you should have done as "drug czar": call for an abrupt end to the War on Drugs, and all of its supporting and related legislation, like RICO.
Do what you ought to have done as Secretary of Education: emancipate millions of kids and parents by calling for a total separation of school and state.
Commit yourself to eradicating every last trace of socialism from American life.
You can finish up by pledging yourself, wholly and without reservation, to stringent -- no, I guess we'd better make that "draconian" -- Bill of Rights enforcement.
Then buy yourself a can of dog-treats and try to teach the same tricks to Jack.
Permission to redistribute this article is hereby granted by the author, provided it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety, and appropriate credit given.
Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, author of Pallas, Henry Martyn, The Crystal Empire, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn (published by Tor Books and distributed by St. Martin's Press), Smith's books are available at bookstores everywhere, at http://www.amazon.com, Laissez Faire Books, (800) 326-0996, or Frugal Muse Bookstore, (608) 833-8668. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, Neil is honored to be keynote speaker at AZLP's annual convention in Phoenix, April 19, 1997. See The Webley Page: http://www.lneilsmith.org//.
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