Bush CPB appointee and NPR defender is symbol of GOP fight between Conservatives and Statists.
“They are the two principles that have stood face to
face from the beginning of time…. The one is the common right of
humanity and the other the divine right of kings.… It is the same
spirit that says, ‘You work and toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat
it.’ No matter in what shape it comes… it is the same tyrannical
principle….[This is] where the struggle really is… [and we must]
get rid of the fog which obscures the real
— Abraham Lincoln in the Seventh Lincoln-Douglas Debate, October 15, 1858, Alton, Illinois
Let’s talk about Republicans and 2012.
What does the NPR kerfuffle really mean in terms of the 2012 battle for the GOP presidential nomination?
Who is Patricia de Stacy Harrison? And what does her support of NPR really have to do with that 2012 fight?
Say what? Beyond the minor Shakespearean skirmish over National Public Radio (“to fund or not to fund, that is the question”) what in the world does NPR have to do with the looming fight for the GOP presidential nomination? And what does it have to do with a GOP victory — whether in 2012, 2016 or for that matter, anytime?
First, Ms. Harrison.
Patricia de Stacy Harrison is the president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the “parent” of the public TV and radio siblings PBS and NPR. NPR, as the world knows, has been hard upon troubled times lately. First because of the firing of commentator Juan Williams. Then the mishandling of the firing of Juan Williams. This was followed in short order by the James O’Keefe Muslim-fundraising videotape and the abrupt departures of the un-related but seemingly identical thinking NPR Schillers, Ron and Vivian. As a result, the very liberal NPR has found itself targeted by conservatives for an end to its federal funding.
Enter Ms. Harrison, who has come quickly to NPR’s defense.
Issuing a formal statement in her role as CPB president and CEO on the day the GOP-controlled House cut off NPR’s funding, Harrison said in part that NPR decidedly was in need of “federal support” and that “rather than penalize public broadcasting, the debate should focus on strengthening and supporting this valuable national asset.” At the end of her statement was an apparently standard description of CPB that said in its first sentence the organization is the “steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting.”
What makes this important is not that Harrison is the CPB President and CEO. No, what makes this plea for federal funding significant is that she is a former co-chair of the Republican National Committee and a Bush appointee to head the CPB.
In other words, as we head into the fight for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Patricia Harrison’s stance on NPR signals that this is exactly the right time to begin understanding the very real philosophical differences among those in the Republican presidential field. Discerning — not to put too fine a point on it — who among these would-be Republican presidents really and truly understand in their bones what the party of Lincoln (not to mention Reagan!!) is all about. Do they get what Republican Party founder Abraham Lincoln was talking about in, say, his famous debates with Stephen A. Douglas in 1858? When he said, for example, that the “real question” in politics was all too frequently obscured by “fog.” That principle, cherished if almost never openly acknowledged by the left is, again according to Lincoln: “You work and toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.”
In Liberty and Tyranny our friend Mark Levin took the very title of his considerable bestseller from Lincoln saying this again years later — in 1864 — as president. Then, Lincoln summed up the point by saying that the difference between each man doing “as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor” — or not — is “called by two different and incompatible names — liberty and tyranny.” Levin revitalizes an old and accurate term for those who would take the results of someone else’s work and toil to satisfy what Levin calls their “endless rationalizations for seizing ever more governmental authority” in service of the “supremacy of the state.”
The term: Statists. Or, if you prefer, “neo-Statists.” The latter Levin’s Lincoln-like designation of “some who claim the mantle of conservatism but are, in truth, neo-Statists, who would have the Conservative abandon the high ground of the founding principles for the quicksand of a soft tyranny.”
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?