The Corner

Keep Punching

In the contest between Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, I have no idea who will win the battle for conservative hearts and minds, but I do know this: It’s about time somebody in the GOP started acting like Democrats. By which I mean, both Cruz and Paul realize that Campaign ’16 has already started, and unlike the clueless Mitt Romney, you don’t wait until you’ve secured the nomination to turn your attention to the foe. Instead, you prep the battlefield by pounding him relentlessly, all day, every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, well in advance of the actual election. Like the Left, you should never stop, never sleep, never quit. Politics, alas, has become a full-time job, and not just for politicians. We’re all part of the Permanent Campaign now.

Why? Because that’s the way they play the game — not just the party operatives, but their legions of media hacks in control of the Narrative, and their allies in academe who represent the indoctrination wing of la Causa. And as long as they’re allowed to romp unopposed on the field until it’s time to steal another election, they’re going to continue to roll out one distraction after another — look, puppy! — in order to obscure both the truth of the current situation and their long-range goals. That’s the plan, and they’re sticking to it.

Just ask them. As some idiot wrote in Rules for Radical Conservatives:

“What plan?” you ask.  After all, we seem like such nice people.  We preach tolerance constantly (it’s our protective cloak, our defensive shield, our Tarnhelm against your righteous anger), we never resort to violence when a ruinous lawsuit will do, and we’re always ready with an explanation of why your behavior is wrong, immoral, aberrational or just plain nuts.  We will “talking cure” you to death, set the rules for you, force you to stay inside your head while we romp around in the unoccupied sectors.

Stop and think.  Don’t you now, on some level, believe that up is down?  That black is white?  That freedom is tyranny?  That good is evil? 

Of course you do.  Because that’s what we want you to think.  That’s what we’ve been telling you for more than seventy-five years.  There is no position or proposition too ludicrous for us argue, and so beaten down are you that you’re bound to at least consider what we have to say.

Still, as the great philosopher Mike Tyson famously observed, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” The counter-punching from Cruz and Rand has already thrown the Left off its game, which is why it’s reacted to Cruz like screeching vampires suddenly confronting a crucifix. They want to turn him into the male Sarah Palin, but there’s those pesky little details like his Senate seat and his Harvard pedigree — like FDR, he’s a traitor to his class. Paul they can more easily dismiss (in their own closed minds) as a backwoods hillbilly from Kentucky, but then he goes and does things like this and this and this. And every time he does, it knocks them off their destructive stride and forces them to regroup.

At the moment, Cruz is taking the Left (and, alas, many ostensibly on the right) head-on over Obamacare, even if it leads to that most dreaded of Beltway disasters, a federal government shutdown, while Paul has targeted the NSA, the stationary figure of Chris Christie, and the even more stationary figure of Hillary Clinton, who’s ripe for taking down by someone who doesn’t buy into the Clinton mystique. (What Clinton mystique is a question for another time.) Can either of them win the nomination? Not if you listen to people like Steve Schmidt and others in the krack kadres of kampaign konsultants. But I think conservatives have finally gotten mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more, which is why Cruz and Paul are on the field right now. Down the line, the Republican party ought to thank them, but it’s probably too compromised or too dumb to do so.

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.


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