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Birch and Tea
National Review Online ^ | Daniel Foster

Posted on 12/05/2012 3:06:24 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife

To toil at National Review is to know what it’s like to read “Buckley must be spinning in his grave!” at the beginning of umpteen letters, e-mails, blog posts, and tweets from less-than-gruntled critics supremely assured of their originality. The beauty of this evergreen — and its cheap presumptions about a great man — is that it can be wielded with equal convenience by trolls of every political persuasion and in response to any number of detected heresies.

But, with the whiff of bigotry and malice that so many smell in popular politics since the tranquil days when the last Bush effigies were burned, it has increasingly taken a single form, repeated over and over: viz., that WFB would be aghast that the conservative movement, along with the Republican party, has allied itself with the kooks and cranks of the Tea Party, especially since it was Buckley who so decisively expelled the Birchers from the movement, thereby saving it, in the early 1960s.

The latest entry in this genre comes from inside the family, as it were, in the person of former RNC research director David Welch. Welch writes on the New York Times op-ed page (because, where else?) that the GOP needs a similar house-cleaning now:

It is a shame that William F. Buckley Jr. passed away in 2008. The conservative movement could use him — or someone like him — right now.

In the 1960s, Buckley, largely through his position at the helm of National Review, displayed political courage and sanity by taking on the John Birch Society, an influential anti-Communist group whose members saw conspiracies everywhere they looked.

Fast-forward half a century. The modern-day Birchers are the Tea Party. By loudly espousing extreme rhetoric, yet holding untenable beliefs, they have run virtually unchallenged by the Republican leadership, aided by irresponsible radio talk-show hosts and right-wing pundits. While the Tea Party grew, respected moderate voices in the party were further pushed toward extinction. Republicans need a Buckley to bring us back.

Let’s pause for a second here and remember why Buckley took action........ Continued


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: davidwelch; johnbirchsociety; robertwelch; teaparty
Related: Sept 4, 2012: Hoffa Says Tea Party and John Birch Society Are One and the Same
1 posted on 12/05/2012 3:06:35 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
The JBS was a bit before my time. I suppose that if they made the claim that Eisenhower was a communist agent, I would have to agree that they were a little flaky. HOWEVER -- if this country had gone in that direction, and seen communism as a serious threat domestically -- if we had read the Communist Party Goals into the Congressional Record in 1963 and made a serious effort to make sure none of those goals were achieved -- if we had done all that, then I think the JBS would have been happy, and I think this country would be a lot better off today.

I am not afraid of flaky right-wing extremism.

2 posted on 12/05/2012 3:16:30 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (Republicans have made themselves useless, toothless, and clueless.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
In 1960, Welch advised JBS members to: "Join your local P.T.A. at the beginning of the school year, get your conservative friends to do likewise, and go to work to take it over."

Think how much would be different if Conservatives had taken over the academic environment starting in 1960! If the school systems were churning out kids who knew their civics and not Marxism, I think it would be a good thing.

The Tea Party is not the John Birch Society. I wish it was.

3 posted on 12/05/2012 3:26:07 AM PST by ClearCase_guy (Republicans have made themselves useless, toothless, and clueless.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

The John Birch Society is still around. Their magazine is “The New American”.


4 posted on 12/05/2012 3:28:33 AM PST by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

Notice the “received wisdom”? The goals of the Tea Party are untenable? Really? Zero’s goals are?


5 posted on 12/05/2012 3:37:15 AM PST by wastoute (Government cannot redistribute wealth. Government can only redistribute poverty.)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

The JBS hasn’t been wrong about much.


6 posted on 12/05/2012 3:41:46 AM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment,a Matter of Fact,Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: ClearCase_guy
"John Birch Society...wish it was"

Why?

7 posted on 12/05/2012 3:55:03 AM PST by driftless2
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I was a huge fan of the JBS back in the 1980s as a teenager. I have a stack of 1960’s era American Opinion magazines at home. I don’t particularly care for the post-early 1990s JBS, but as far as the group in the 60s...I think they were pretty much right. Incidentally, so was Joseph McCarthy. Obama and the modern Democrat party is the culmination of everything McCarthy and the Birchers warned us about back in the day.


8 posted on 12/05/2012 3:56:04 AM PST by MachIV
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To: Cincinatus' Wife; fieldmarshaldj; sickoflibs; AuH2ORepublican; justiceseeker93; SunkenCiv

I shocked it’s taken them this long to try and make that connection.


9 posted on 12/05/2012 4:04:34 AM PST by Impy (All in favor of Harry Reid meeting Mr. Mayhem?)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

“The JBS hasn’t been wrong about much.”

But also right about a lot of things. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

One of thier biggest issues was with the UN - now even “mainstream” conservatives can see that it really is becoming a “Fearful Master”.


10 posted on 12/05/2012 5:22:49 AM PST by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

I was a member of the John Birch Society for a short period in the late 90’s. I didn’t agree with everything they were for and they are a bit conspiratorical, but they are very vigilant and very presicent. Their blue book (the founding speeches from 1958) is a call to Liberty like none other. And some of the articles in The New American are the best I’ve ever read on Liberty.

Buckley was a conservative and very brilliant but he was also a one-worlder. The Birch Society has wanted to get us out of the UN for fifty years.


11 posted on 12/05/2012 5:45:23 AM PST by cotton1706
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To: ClearCase_guy
The guardians, those who stand watch, are often far from the center of the herd. Many of the "conspiracy theories" the JBS had back when sure look like they were genuine conspiracies now, especially when the results are compared to the projected goals.

The JBS has been Alinsky'd over the years, but they have maintained, regardless of which party was in power, to point out that what was being done was not in accordance with Constitutional principles.

Pity. "I told you so" is a bitter compensation for the derision the society has suffered at the hands of Leftists and the GOP alike.

12 posted on 12/05/2012 5:57:52 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: Dr. Sivana
Their magazine is “The New American”.

Often breaking stories six months before an inkling appears in the more mainstream press, and always analyzing from a consistent Constitutional point of view.

I've been reading it since the Clintons were in office, and frankly, they are one of the most accurate news and information sources I have seen.

13 posted on 12/05/2012 6:04:09 AM PST by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: Psalm 73
Read this again. I said “The JBS HASN'T been WRONG about much.”

I believe this means the same as JBS HAS been RIGHT about most things.

14 posted on 12/05/2012 10:08:45 AM PST by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment,a Matter of Fact,Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
[Article, quoting former RNC pooh-bah David Welch]
In the 1960s, Buckley, largely through his position at the helm of National Review, displayed political courage and sanity by taking on the John Birch Society, an influential anti-Communist group whose members saw conspiracies everywhere they looked.

Well, let's see -- it's been 55 years or so now, and the Venona Papers have come out, so let's turn now to a reappraisal of the Birchers and Buckley's stand against them. Who looks good now? Was Buckley right, or did the Birchers know something that we needed to do something about right away, like back in 1955? It's time for a new book, by someone like John Barron (KGB: The Secret Work of Soviet Secret Agents and KGB Today: The Hidden Hand), David Horowitz, Edwin Luttwak, Dmitri Simes, or even Alan Keyes: Keyes couldn't stop the Obama Express in Illinois, but at least he tried, and he can definitely write a book.

We've been paying for Republican failure to counter and purge Communist penetration and 'pwnership' of the Democratic Party for 50, 60 years, with only slight remissions of the curse under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush; but the Communists have 'pwned' our academies, schools for schoolteachers ("normal schools"), and daily media ever since the days of Alger Hiss, Owen Lattimore, C.P. Snow, and I.F. Stone.

(It's interesting that even after it's been shown that Owen Lattimore was indeed working for the Soviet KGB, Mount Holyoke College still today has an article about him on its website, on a page titled "Victims of McCarthyism".)

15 posted on 12/05/2012 11:01:43 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: Cincinatus' Wife
[Article]

Deb Fischer of Nebraska came out of nowhere in a three-way race in which the Tea Party Express, the Club for Growth, and Sarah Palin each endorsed a different candidate.

It's worth noting in passing, here, that the Tea Party Express is not the Tea Party. Rather, they're conservative Republicans, all right, and their heroes are California congressmen whom the ADA rates as zeroes and the ACU rates 100 percenters. Most of the Tea Party Express board are former campaigners for the Gray Davis recall (their names be praised), who initiated that recall petition in the hope that their man, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), would be able to win the ensuing election against, presumably, Lt. Gov. Bustamante, a Chicano nationalist whose views converged with those of L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the infamous MeChista.

The Gray Davis recall was partly successful: Davis was booted from office. But the recall election was hijacked by California's RiNO herd, who inveigled celebrity Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger to run and win.

Other board members of the Tea Party Express are either very conservative California "professional" Republicans (who are distinguishable from the typical "professional GOP'ers" by actually having principles) or former Reaganauts (as distinguished from Bushbot patronage people brought in by Poppy and James Baker) from Ronnie's California conservative base.

But they aren't exactly "Tea Party" people, never mind that some of them may go back to some of the original teabag-mailing political actions half-a-dozen years ago or more, and that distinction needs to be preserved.

16 posted on 12/05/2012 12:11:00 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: cotton1706
Buckley was a conservative and very brilliant but he was also a one-worlder.

What makes you write that?

17 posted on 12/05/2012 12:11:02 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: wastoute
Notice the “received wisdom”? The goals of the Tea Party are untenable? Really?

Yes, and notice the bracketing of the Tea Party with the John Birch Society.

Lazy RiNO, wants yesterday's knock on yesterday's out-group laid on the People acting through the Tea Party, simply because he manages to pronounce both names in the same sentence.

"Young RiNO seeks lifetime sinecure playing tennis with the Right People. Will work for box lunch under the stairs, shine shoes and polish apples for free, for shot at Yacht Club junior-adjunct associate membership and dessert-cart privileges." Also, "The Tea Party isn't a Thing; it's an overlapping congeries". Will write for food. I hate Sarah Palin. Reply soonest to Daniel Foster, RiNO Postulant.

18 posted on 12/05/2012 12:39:47 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

“Read this again.”

Sorry - read it too fast.
I’m an old man - I forget things - I have short-term memory issues - I forget things.... ; )


19 posted on 12/05/2012 12:59:00 PM PST by Psalm 73 ("Gentlemen, you can't fight in here - this is the War Room".)
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To: neverdem

All the new world order crap. The UN, the council on foreign relations, etc. He was for selling the Panama Canal. I remember watching him debate Reagan and Pat Buchanan on that.


20 posted on 12/05/2012 1:07:36 PM PST by cotton1706
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To: SWAMPSNIPER
I believe this means the same as JBS HAS been RIGHT about most things.

I think that thoughtless comment about Ike probably cost them their respectability and gave the Communists a really nice soft lob to hammer back at them.

Someone once hypothecated a little bit about how things would be different today, if Lee Harvey Oswald had been on the mark in his attempt to kill General Walker (who was a Bicher, which was LHO's reason for going after Walker). He'd have been in prison or on the run, instead of nested on the fifth floor of the Texas Book Depository .... no presidency for LBJ, no War on Poverty. Think about it.

21 posted on 12/05/2012 1:11:26 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: cotton1706
All the new world order crap. The UN, the council on foreign relations, etc. He was for selling the Panama Canal. I remember watching him debate Reagan and Pat Buchanan on that.

Murray Rothbard, paleocon of fragrant memory, once accused Buckley of being totalitarian for having supported the idea of a large and powerful defense establishment (in preference, Buckley insisted, to learning Russian at gunpoint). So Buckley was d'accord with the Neocons on that policy, anticipating them by several years.

But he was also a conservative more in the colors of Burke and Hobbes, than of Thomas Jefferson. He dreamed of a civilized, Catholic world in which gentle people could all get along in their fortress of moneyed solitude, and not be roiled by the anxieties of nationalism that the French Revolution and Napoleon's wars had stirred up in Europe, dividing the upper classes of the great powers and placing them in competition, and limiting their social intercourse.

22 posted on 12/05/2012 1:22:14 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: cotton1706
All the new world order crap. The UN, the council on foreign relations, etc. He was for selling the Panama Canal.

Holding the Panama Canal was a PR disaster, especially after after our actions during the Suez crisis in 1956. I don't remember Buckley being pro UN, pro new world order, etc. unless it advanced American interests.

23 posted on 12/05/2012 1:57:34 PM PST by neverdem ( Xin loi min oi)
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To: neverdem

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen that Panama Canal debate but I remember being solidly on Reagan’s side (though I saw it on cable years later and the issue was long settled). I’d stand shoulder to shoulder on most things with Buckley, but on the international stuff and the free trade stuff like Nafta and GATT and the WTO and the UN, I part company with republican orthodoxy. None of our policies should be dictated to us by foreign bodies, our tax policies are our own business, and treaties should be between individual nations, not these regional treaties and international conventions. In my view, the UN, WTO and ICC should be disbanded. A confederacy of republics, along the lines of NATO would be preferable.


24 posted on 12/05/2012 2:40:00 PM PST by cotton1706
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To: lentulusgracchus

Buckley never said that there weren’t communists in the government. He was a supporter of McCarthy. Come back when you have an argument.

PS. I’m a former Bircher.


25 posted on 12/05/2012 6:11:52 PM PST by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: rmlew
Buckley never said that there weren’t communists in the government. He was a supporter of McCarthy. Come back when you have an argument.

You must be posting in response to someone else. Let's let it go at that.

26 posted on 12/06/2012 2:54:49 AM PST by lentulusgracchus
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