Camille Paglia, one of the few the old-school liberals whose social and fiscal views have always placed her nearer Constitutional libertarianism than 21st century liberalism, has had a rough go of rationalizing, to herself, her ongoing affiliation with the Democratic party. She’s admitted to herself that her eternal optimism for a classical liberal Democratic President is nostalgia, a principled loyalty she feels to her rebellious 1960s academic roots when liberalism and libertarianism were almost one and the same.
“Why has the Democratic Party become so arrogantly detached from ordinary Americans?” she once wrote. “Though they claim to speak for the poor and dispossessed, Democrats have increasingly become the party of an upper-middle-class professional elite, top-heavy with journalists, academics and lawyers (one reason for the hypocritical absence of tort reform in the healthcare bills). … How has ‘liberty’ become the inspirational code word of conservatives rather than liberals? I always thought that the Democratic Party is the freedom party — but I must be living in the nostalgic past.”
Paglia is among a number of now-jaded 1960s-era liberal intellectuals and culture-makers who truly believe in America as a land of singular opportunity ordained by a governing charter — the Constitution — that eternally stands as one of humanity’s crowning achievements. Whether you agree with their views, there’s no denying that their beliefs are substantive and uninfluenced by inscrutable motives or shortsighted expediency. The Administration of President Barack Obama has seen liberals like Paglia, Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, David Mamet and others rue their longstanding faith in the power of last century’s Democratic beliefs to carry over into the perverted Democratic power structure of the present day. Paglia herself voted for Obama in 2008, but she spent the next four years disgusted with him (as she had done with Bill Clinton in the 1990s) and ended up voting with the Green Party in 2012.
In a Salon interview this week, Paglia indicated she’s not interested in continuing to wave the flag for establishment candidates who’ll continue to subvert the very principles that once defined her beloved Democratic Party. In particular, she’s done with Hillary Clinton — big time.
As a registered Democrat, I am praying for a credible presidential candidate to emerge from the younger tier of politicians in their late 40s. A governor with executive experience would be ideal. It’s time to put my baby-boom generation out to pasture! We’ve had our day and managed to muck up a hell of a lot. It remains baffling how anyone would think that Hillary Clinton (born the same year as me) is our party’s best chance. She has more sooty baggage than a 90-car freight train. And what exactly has she ever accomplished — beyond bullishly covering for her philandering husband? She’s certainly busy, busy and ever on the move — with the tunnel-vision workaholism of someone trying to blot out uncomfortable private thoughts.
I for one think it was a very big deal that our ambassador was murdered in Benghazi. In saying “I take responsibility” for it as secretary of state, Hillary should have resigned immediately. The weak response by the Obama administration to that tragedy has given a huge opening to Republicans in the next presidential election. The impression has been amply given that Benghazi was treated as a public relations matter to massage rather than as the major and outrageous attack on the U.S. that it was.
Throughout history, ambassadors have always been symbolic incarnations of the sovereignty of their nations and the dignity of their leaders. It’s even a key motif in “King Lear.” As far as I’m concerned, Hillary disqualified herself for the presidency in that fist-pounding moment at a congressional hearing when she said, “What difference does it make what we knew and when we knew it, Senator?” Democrats have got to shake off the Clinton albatross and find new blood. The escalating instability not just in Egypt but throughout the Mideast is very ominous. There is a clash of cultures brewing in the world that may take a century or more to resolve — and there is no guarantee that the secular West will win.
There’s not a lot that even Rand Paul could add to that.
In fact, Paglia and the thinking members of the Tea Party differ primarily on one point, and that’s the extent to which religion should influence the crafting of a political party’s social platform. Paglia is a secularist who champions religion as mankind’s genius reaction to the brutal world it’s inherited, but she’d just as well live in a society which is ready for art to serve as the dominant vessel to contain and spill forth human nature.
The future tenure of even a two-term Democrat President doesn’t have to result in the Nation-wrecking debacle that’s unfolding under Obama, but just about the only way for that to happen is for party leaders on both sides to start listening to their conscience. Paglia, Chomsky and their sagacious peers are the closest thing Democrats have to a true conscience; and it’s a safe bet no one who matters inside the party is listening.