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Back You are here: Home Columns Columns Allyn Hunt Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine debate produces some instructive conclusions from the right for today’s political nadir 

Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine debate produces some instructive conclusions from the right for today’s political nadir 

As the dizzying days of Christmas and the new year give way to other concerns, the coming mid-term elections in the United States are being pressed upon us by heavy media breathing north of the border.

Republicans are especially busy trying to come up with a rhetoric that does not mirror the comedy of their last (seemingly) unending set of presidential primaries.  And the Democrats are nervously occupied with trying to figure out who they – and the GOP – might nominate right now.  It promises to be a daft and bizarre season for both sides.

Slipping slyly into view, stage right, is an affable seeming, balding, youngish man, Yuval Levin, playing the part of Irving Kristol (1920-2009), who was the leading architect of neoconservatism, which he called a political and intellectual movement for disaffected ex-liberals, like himself, who had been “mugged by reality.”

For folks who find the behavior of the present mutation of the GOP and much of its personnel intolerable, Levin is the suave, nimble and unabashed repackager of that party’s ongoing war against so many Americans: women, Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, both the poor and the middle class, especially workers, teachers, American’s leading universities and their faculties, and students. That list is long.

In this job, Levin’s work is presently unending, for his many of sponsors seem to embody a still large, if slowly shrinking, portion of the the U.S. population that has been voting against itself so often that this flaw has become a habit.  Voters are vigorously encouraged in this self-wounding practice.  In turn, this calls for Levin to never specifically contradict the illogic and mendaciousness of attacks on large swaths of the citizenry, but to artfully wrap them in a soothing rhetoric, and a calming style that makes even the GOP’s most predatory political practices seem less nationally – and personally – dangerous than they really are.  He has recently written a book that will interest those wishing the GOP would, by some miracle, large or small, begin to both embrace rationality and a touch of comity, as well as trying to display useful concern for the plight of Americans less well-off than the Congressional millionaires’ club.

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