Thursday, September 4, 2008

Paleos and Palin

There’s more to the Republican convention than the Republicans’ first-ever female v.p. nominee, but let’s talk about her some more anyway, along with some related topics (fine though McCain’s speech was):

•Katherine Taylor pointed out to me that a writer who, like me, was a recipient of a grant from the Phillips Foundation, helped spark the idea of a Palin v.p. nomination.

•Some have, perhaps hastily, described her as something of a paleoconservative — that is, a conservative who, in the early-twentieth-century rather than Cold War style, emphasizes local control instead of DC plans, diverse traditions instead of a monolithic Western World.  As it happens, a paleo-inclined writer (Tom Woods) was depicted as something of a scandal in the Washington Post this week, since he ghostwrote Ron Paul’s most recent book (as if they don’t all use ghostwriters).  What the Post failed to note is that I had already drawn attention, in one of my Retro-Journal entries, to a greater scandal — if memory serves, Tom was that guy I mentioned who in college was twice duped into bringing a flask of his urine to a random public building, thinking it was needed for a phony psych experiment.

(I was reminded of this at Dawn Eden’s fortieth birthday party last night by James Kalb, who hosted a tradition-themed discussion group fifteen years ago that sometimes included Woods and me — and Kalb himself is the author of what will be one of my December Book Selections, so stay tuned for that.)

•On another paleolibertarian note, I notice that Tuesday’s Ron Paul  “alternate” Repbulican convention brought such highlights as (1) a live appeal for support from Bob Barr (who has pointed out ways in which he’s more libertarian than Palin), (2) a speech by admirably independent Jesse Ventura that, alas, included remarks seemingly sympathetic to the so-called 9/11 Truth movement, and (3) the comment by attending paleo writer Bill Kauffman that “locating the antiwar wing of today’s Republican Party is like looking for the Juice Newton wing in the rock and roll hall of fame.”

•Speaking of rock, though, as I type this, I am very pleased to say, they’re playing Heart’s “Barracuda” at the close of the GOP convention in honor of Sarah “Barracuda” Palin.  It’s not quite the Sex Pistols, but I’ll take it.  All right, it’s better than the Sex Pistols, frankly.

Megan McArdle — who was having an asthma attack during Palin’s speech (but later noted that her own mom, like mine, likes Palin, seemingly a good sign for the GOP) — reacted strongly to Romney’s speech, accusing him of using the word “liberal” in a random, meaningless fashion.  Andrew Sullivan seconded this odd claim — and noted approvingly that David Brooks (that right-wing socialist) even called the speech “borderline insane.”  Much as I hate to be at odds with two prominent libertarians and one prominent pseudo-conservative, I suggest reading the Romney speech, virtually every word of which I — and, I would have thought, most market-friendly-type conservatives — agree with.  Am I borderline insane or are his critics off-base?

•In this odd week, it seems as though libertarians, paleoconservatives, and neoconservatives are simultaneously very stirred up, largely because of Palin, but still dissatisfied — as well they should be.  A good time for Todd Kruse to launch a populist yet free-market conservative blog called RegularFolksUnited.

More in the next couple days on those other disgruntled folks, though — with at least a few mentions of sex, in keeping with this month’s theme, I promise.


Katherine Taylor said...

Golly. My pro-Palin mom was having an asthma attack during Palin’s speech, too.

Was I the only one totally distressed that Palin was speaking during one of the best Williams-Williams tennis matches ever?

toddseavey said...

And the first night of NFL football nearly lasted until McCain’s speech — clearly (as in sports-stadium funding debates), we need a greater separation of sports and state.

Ken Silber said...

Hey Todd, if you agreed with virtually every word of the Romney speech — what about “Adam Smith on steroids”?

Todd Seavey said...

It wasn’t clear to me that was an insult, but if it was, then that would be one of the parts I dislike. (I assumed he was just trying to imply a rapidly changing world of challenges, competitors, blah blah blah.) And it was presumably a veiled Olympics joke from an Olympics-organizing veteran, which may matter more among the masses, alas (as does sports generally).

David said...

It seemed to me that the oddness of Romney’s speech was a lack of any apparent relevance to the situation at hand. It would have been a reasonable speech for Reagan to have goven in 1980. I think it was the context more than the content that had people scratching their heads.