In 2007 I published my book One Night, Two Teams: Alabama vs. USC and the Game That Changed a Nation. In that book, I evaluated American politics, particularly reactionary causation. I studied the rise of Ronald Reagan in California and Richard Nixon's 1972 sweeps, determining that conservatism triumphed because America hated the leftward tilt of the 1960s. I then studied how Teddy Democrat and the Democrats used Watergate to de-fund our alliance with the South Vietnamese battling Communism. This caused 1.5 million people to be murdered in Cambodia, 1 million in Vietnam, and international Communist adventurism. The electoral reaction to this treachery was to elect Reagan in 1980, launching a 12-year Republican winning streak. I then concluded in my book that un-patriotic Democrats, rooting against America in Iraq for purely political purposes, would result in a resurgent Republican winning streak. I looked pretty dumb in 2008, but on Tuesday I became a political prophet. Counting the U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, Governorships, state legislatures,and various elected offices spread across America, something like 900 OFFICES HELD BY DEMOCRATS WERE SWITCHED IN ONE NIGHT TO THE REPUBLICANS This must be the single greatest, most complete free will victory by one political philosophy over another in world history. This was a repudiation of Barack Hussein Obama so total and absolute that on his way back from India the soon-to-deposed President should stop at Tokyo Bay to sign a surrender document to John Boehner and the GOP on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri.
On top of everything else, this is a census year. First, it means that Republicans will be in control of re-districting over the next decade, unquestionably creating huge advantages for the party, but that is not the half of it. In what basically could be viewed as a scientific determination that conservatism is better than liberalism, places that are conservative - the South, especially Texas - are weathering the economic storm and growing in population because people want to live under conservative leadership, while places that are liberal - like California - are losing population, decent people fleeing so as not to be under the control of the likes of Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. After re-distsricting, a red state like Texas will add something like five Congressional seats, all likely Republican, while a blue state such as California will lose three or four, which will simply put two or three Democrats out of a job.
In the words of Tom Cruise in Taps, "It's beautiful man, it's beautiful."
Conservatism and Christianity have proven themselves to be the winning ideology of 2000 years of history.
- Steven Travers, author of God's County: How History Formed the United States Empire and America's Manifest Destiny For the 21st Century
We looked outside the White House walls, to the protesters in Lafayette Park, and as far as we were concerned, we were looking at Civil War, and that's how we looked at it.
- Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy, speech at USC, 1983
Republican hegemony in the 21st Century South has given rise to some telling observations. After the 2004 elections, Democrats in the "blue states" complained that "banjo pickers" and "cross-breeders" had decided the White House. This unfortunate statement, made en masse by a huge portion of the Left, is not only a lie but also the height of hypocrisy. Using the legal "but-for" method of proximate causation, an examination of the facts reveals just how hypocritical.
For many decades, the South was backward. Their rural counties often lacked running water, electricity and indoor plumbing, much less cable TV or computers. For all the decades in which a large swath of the South actually was ignorant, two constants remained:
· They were racist.
· They were Democrats.
An American folk singer named Barry Maguire had a big hit during the Vietnam War called "Eve of Destruction." A typical hippie peace anthem, it challenged fighter pilots to look into their souls, presumably because what they were doing was supposed to be immoral. The premise of the song was that America's efforts in Vietnam were the pre-cursor to Armageddon, which was the "destruction" in the title. There is nary a word about the 50 million dead during World War II, the 35 million who died under Soviet Communism, the 65 million under Chinese Communism, or the millions of other dead due to various other forms of Communism. Maguire was "right" despite being wrong. The bombings (performed by the "immoral" fighter pilots) pushed the North Vietnamese into a binding agreement that brought temporary peace, not destruction, to Vietnam.
After Watergate, however, the Republicans lost all their Congressional power. With the Democrats in control, South Vietnam was thrown to the wolves. The wars, savagery, genocide, holocaust, misery, re-education camps, "killing fields," refugees and utter destruction that enveloped Vietnam, Laos and Pol Pot's Cambodia as a result of Democrat perfidy was highly, precisely, and to quintessential effect exactly that with which Maguire's song described. Maguire would presumably hate this assessment and claim it to be a lie. Liberals by the bushel will be outraged that such a thing should be suggested. None of this changes the fact that it is simply that with which is true. The fact that it is true is known by millions of others who can read and have access to facts.
The "brink" was not Nagasaki or Hiroshima. It was not the Cuban Missile Crisis or Vietnam. The brink occurred after August 1974, when Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency. With Republican Gerald Ford in the White House and Henry Kissinger as Secretary of State, America "held the line" as long as she could, but in the words of Led Zeppelin, "when the levee breaks" the effect can be devastating. The "levee," in this case, was The Thin Green Line of funding keeping the North from invading South Vietnam. The Democrats said "no," and that was that. To those non-Communists who were there, what happened was Biblical. The effect was more far-reaching than Southeast Asia. The media called it Communist "adventurism," to use a word now attributed by liberals to make the Soviets look like modern day Teddy Roosevelts, or Winston Churchill testing his manhood as a young officer.
The term "traitor" is a powerful one. In many poor countries and criminal organizations, treachery is identified every day, and punished severely. But in America, with the Constitution, due process of law, the "court of public opinion," and the liberal media, such a post-McCarthyite phrase is deemed to be an overripe conservative term. The fact is, there are many who do things that are treacherous, if not meeting the legal definition. They are protected not only by the courts and the "guilty until proven innocent" premise, but simply by the power of America. It is to the great credit of this great nation that drugs, terrible Presidents, civil wars (both military and social) and really bad political philosophies have not destroyed us.
The "civil war" atmosphere of the 1960s saw students take to the streets and the campuses to protest and show what they claimed was not "hate" for America, but was something that sure resembled it. If one were to ask what was the biggest domestic threat to this country since the War Between the States, most would respond that it was the 1960s protest movement, or Nixon's Watergate scandal. They would be wrong. Watergate was a scandal that wounded American international prestige, but it was the aftermath of Watergate, prosecuted by the Democratic Party led by Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy, that posed the biggest threat ever. The fact that this threat did not destroy the United States, any more than Bill Clinton's lies did, is a testament to the strength of the country. We have a built-in, systematic ability to withstand these things.
Still, the late 1970s were a time that, in retrospect, demonstrates that point in which the U.S. almost gave in and rescinded its role in the world. Since, according to many, that role is sanctioned by the Almighty, such a thing could have had an effect of, well, Biblical proportions. It never got to that pitch. Ronald Reagan saved the day, simplistic as it sounds, with a Hollywood ending, but it was not looking good for a few years there.
Richard Nixon deserves his share of the blame. All of the comparisons with the Robert Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson/J. Edgar Hoover buggings do not make what he did right. The fact that Franklin Roosevelt's lies made Nixon like look Mother Theresa also do not excuse Nixon. All of Nixon's "excuses" have been detailed. Nixon failed his country, and he paid an appropriate price for it. In the long run, he did the Republican Party a favor, because the lesson learned by the GOP is that it must hold itself to a higher standard. They have ever since, the public now recognizes it, and both the party and the nation are better off for it.
Political realists understand the nature of American campaigning. The Republicans have taken advantage of situations in which the Democrats were vulnerable. Watergate provided the Democratic Party a unique opportunity to strike major electoral blows to the GOP, first in the 1974 mid-terms and especially in the 1976 Presidential election. They had every right to pile it on. But in abandoning the fight against Communism in Southeast Asia, they allowed the murder of millions. It would be moral relativism to say the Democrats "murdered" all those people. The North Vietnamese, Chinese, and Khmer Rouge Communists did that, nobody else. The question is how foreseeable it was, and based on that foreseeability, what was the responsibility of the Democrat majority that held their fate entirely in their hands? Allegories and examples could go on for pages. Instead, a study of the facts places the blame on the Teddy Kennedy Democrats. The rest of the world had abandoned the Vietnamese, too, but the responsibility is America's. We are better than the rest of the world. You cannot choose leadership, you have to accept it. It was not America's finest hour.
The U.S. is the world's leading capitalist democracy. Dealing with nations that were neither Communist, nor capitalist, proved to an exercise in clumsiness. In Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, which makes up the Third World then and now, doctrinaire Communist revolutionaries were trained, funded, and controlled by the Soviet Union. The locals who opposed them, more often than not, were unsavory. The question then came down to whether the Marxist-Leninist tide was greater than the danger of non-Communist despotism. This question had some relevancy. It was worthy of a Platonic discussion of "just cause" and the "ends justifying the means." All things being equal, foreign policy could have been decided on a case-by-case basis, weighing each country, situation, danger level, and the "unsavoriness" of selected militants, freedom fighters and dictators.
However, the Democrats could not enter into this discussion in such a manner. Their baggage was too heavy. McCarthy's accusations, Johnson's poor handling of Vietnam, and the fact that the hated Nixon had emerged as the geo-political thinker of the era, meant that the Great Threat had to be reduced. It had to be reduced not by our military, the intelligence community or by popular uprising - but by saying it never was what the conservatives said it was.
Liberals had, of course, been saying this for years. But the Silent Majority saw through them and refused to hand the country to them. Now, his own sword had felled the Silent Majority's man. The enthusiasm for defending our principles temporarily lost momentum. The Democrats jumped all over it.
Look at old photos from the 1970s. If you have a vague sense you are looking at something sick, it is because you are. The hippies, the most spoiled, over-indulged generation in history, were a group of people who knew they could never achieve what their parents had, which was overcoming the Great Depression and Hitler. Instead of trying, or expressing gratitude for these efforts, which of course gave them the freedoms they now had, they decided to "tune in, turn on, and drop out." They did have political passion over the war, misguided as it was. But the ragamuffins who followed the hippies in the 1970s were as unimpressive as any Americans who have ever lived. The photos show long-hairs who wasted God-given athletic ability, drug dealers and drug abusers, alcoholics, bad clothing styles, and disaffection. American kids had little respect for tradition. The excellent music of the 1960s was replaced by a funk sound in the 1970s that today is used mostly as a laugh track.
The 1970s were not all bad. The Major Leagues were golden, although the old-fashioned values that makes one a real baseball fan were lacking, and so attendance in the 1960s and '70s sagged. Pro football had a big decade, too, as did Hollywood. But the military was reduced to accepting criminals who chose service instead of sentences. The economy suffered. American prestige hit an all-time low.
Gerald Ford, a football star at the University of Michigan, was reduced to a Chevy Chase skit on Saturday Night Live. Jimmy Carter became the "accidental President." Carter had graduated from the Naval Academy and served as an engineer in Admiral Hyman Rickover's nuclear Navy. After retiring, he became a peanut farmer in his native Georgia, but was bit by the political bug. He became the unlikely Governor of Georgia, one of the first tangible results of the Voting Rights Act. Carter eschewed the racist rhetoric of Southern politicians of that era, among them Lester Maddox, Ross Barnes and George Wallace. He received the "new" black vote, and was in actuality not racist. This is to his great credit, especially considering that he was a white man who grew up in the Jim Crow era. He was, and is, an evangelical, "born again" Christian, devout in his faith. His entrepreneurial background, heavy drawl and Naval career made him palatable to the "good ol' boy" network.
After LBJ, the South was not considered the best breeding grounds for Presidential candidates, but Nixon's "Southern strategy" in 1968 made it a battleground region that the Democrats needed to win. After Watergate, Ford's Republicanism and pardon of Nixon destined him to lose. Carter changed the complexion of modern campaigning. He hired a pollster, Pat Caddell, who did groundbreaking work in the area of opinion gathering and making. Carter also started campaigning earlier than any other candidate. 1976 was the first of the modern "primary campaigns." Carter endeavored to make the nomination his by virtue of winning in this manner, instead of focusing on the summer convention and the "smoke-filled room" approach of canvassing and strong-arming delegates (which LBJ and RFK had mastered). He virtually lived in Iowa, site of the first caucus, and in New Hampshire, the all-important bellwether primary.
Teddy Kennedy, all-powerful in the Senate, was burdened by Chappaquiddick, whose seven-year old wounds were still raw. The old McGovernites were supposed to be too liberal. Hubert Humphrey would soon be dead of cancer. The old guard fell. The Republicans went with Ford, but Reagan made a strong run. He was still firing everything he had at the convention in Kansas City, but a sitting President is difficult to unseat as a party nominee.
History requires us to ask what would have happened had Reagan emerged as the 1976 GOP nominee. He was identified with Nixon, being of the same vintage and a Californian, but he did not have Ford's pardon of him to overcome. Reagan proved four years later that he was a great campaigner, and for all practical purposes wiped the floor with Carter. But in '76, Carter did not have four horrible years attached to his record. Reagan was a conservative in a distinctly unconservative time; a Cold Warrior when the press no longer used the term, preferring to call it détente. Reagan's advocacy of a strong defense and justification for nuclear weapons would not have been a popular campaign approach. He called the Vietnam War honorable when few wanted to hear that. He called the Communists what they were when most just wanted to pretend they were not.
Had he won in '76, he might have been too late to prevent the "killing fields." North Vietnam invaded the south almost two years prior to his would-be January 1977 inauguration. The Pol Pot nightmare was two years old. Iran and the hostage situation, Africa and Afghanistan very possibly might have played out differently, however. Had Reagan lost to Carter in 1976, he still would have been viable in 1980.
The 19th Century confidence, in which the world emulated America as a "beacon on the hill," was severely questioned, and at a certain point abandoned, in the 1970s. America lost confidence that democracy would triumph as a universal system. Patriotism, love of country and old-fashioned flag waving were all but gone. It was a liberal time, and it was a terrible time. The breakup of Europe's colonial empires throughout Asia and Africa was a conundrum. On the one hand, the U.S. had advocated that Britain give up its colonies. Much of the Roosevelt-Churchill Grand Alliance was based on this implicit promise. The fact that it happened has left some historians questioning Churchill's legacy. In the modern era, Great Britain is seen as a loyal, yet relatively Leftist, junior friend and ally of the U.S. It is almost comical, with "page three girls" and eccentric unseriousness. English girls, once prim and proper, have developed a reputation for unbounding promiscuity, and the men enjoy drinking, wearing rubber suits and getting spanked. The royals are as vulnerable as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, devoid of any public power. Their affairs and scatological peccadilloes are tabloid fodder. Tony Blair was a '70s Mod with Pete Townshend hair who managed a rock group. Not exactly Churchill. These observations reek of sweeping stereotype, yes, and American love and admiration for the Brits goes above and beyond all foreign countries, but the point is this is not your grandfather's England.
This transformation was occurring in England in the 1970s, and it was also occurring in America. England had lost its political will. Instead of American-style freedom, the old colonies were now sore spots, hostile to the West and vulnerable to Communist takeover at the worst conceivable time. Vietnam and Watergate had robbed the U.S. of its political will, too.
The Democrats decided it was an opportunity, not a disaster. A hopeful view prevailed that the ex-colonies would choose democracy and capitalism, and in so doing "vote the Soviet Union out of office."
This hope, in and of itself, was not something to blame the Democrats for. It has a distinctly conservative flavor to it, and reminds one of the famous Reagan optimism. These hopes, however, were dashed. The Third World de-colonized, and were replaced by dictatorships and invitations to Moscow to come in and stick around for awhile. In the end, the real victim was the Third World itself. They were reduced to a battlefield. Before it was over, though, Left wing revolutionary movements threatened to overwhelm the U.S.
Washington had long regarded any anti-Communists as allies, regardless of criminality or instability. The fact that organized criminal syndicates are naturally anti-Communist, since they engage in pure profit motive, is summed up in The Godfather, in which one family head says Don Vito Corleone must share the judge he has "in his back pocket."
"He may present a bill," the capo regime says of Corleone. "After all, we are not Communists." The film, which came out in the 1970s, was part of a "new wave" of social cinema in which Francis Ford Coppola chose to make the mob out to be an allegory for capitalism in America. The subliminal message was that this beautiful nation is just a bunch of crooks.
This mindset quickly imbued the critics of American Third World policy. Our "allies" were a bunch of crooks, and by the way, so were we. Unable to stand up to the exemplary image we had set for ourselves, how could we stand up as the moral and mortal enemy of Communism? How bad could Communism be? The 65 million dead Chinese, most of whom had perished in the then still-fresh Culural Revolution (1966-76) were known to people at this point, but the question was asked anyway, at least within Leftist circles.
If one of our anti-Communist allies imprisoned some students, or tortured some terrorists, or salted some money away in a Swiss bank account, this automatically gave the media carte blanche to asses them as no better than those who ran the gulags and the re-education camps.
Worst of all, everything was now about "corporate exploitation" or "big oil," and these terms were suddenly just codes for racism.
President Harry Truman's Doctrine in 1947 proclaimed assistance to friendly governments resisting Communist aggression. JFK's 1961 speech famously reiterated it. By the mid-1970s, those concepts seemed archaic. If the U.S. were to abandon these principles, the results would be disastrous. Washington had actively exerted itself in Central America and the Caribbean for decades. To do so on a global basis opened this nation to international hatred.
The question, then, is what should we have done? This is the tricky part of the deal, the one the Left never has an answer for. What alternatives did we have? Criticism is easy. The liberals have developed it into an art form. This world would be one heckuva lot better if every time somebody aired public criticism, whether it is on Meet the Press or in the letter to the editor, they were required to then provide details on how they would do it differently. Not being the "right" answer would not discount a noble attempt.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, when protestors helped derail the Vietnam War, and patriotism was replaced by liberalism, the Silent Majority looked on. They did not like what they saw, and their numbers were growing. Nobody, least of all the mainstream press, paid much attention to them. The Republican Party did. Much of the Silent Majority lived south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Long dismissed as football yahoos, backwards and racist, they were quietly modernizing. The South was determined to rise again.
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism