I posted a comment on a Financial Times essay by John McDermott, this morning. And asked as part of it, Where are the Eisenhower Republicans?, to speak out against the Republican Nihilist. As I was driving to the gym this morning, I listened to Letters and Politics hosted by Mitch Jeserich. He was interviewing Geoffrey Kabaservice, author of Rule and Ruin, and Mr. K. commented that the reason that Republicans didn’t criticize the leadership was that The Club for Growth, come the next election, would run a candidate, farther to the right of the incumbent, of their own choosing, against any obdurate incumbent who criticized the leadership i.e. Tea Party zealots . That seems to answer my question in a very succinct manner.
But Mr. Kabaservice also made some comments on the Tea Party. The most surprising was that the Tea Party has much in common with the Yippies of the Sixtys, namely Jerry Rubin and Abbey Hoffman. The evidence that brought the contemporary Tea Party and Mr. Hoffman together, in the myth-making comments of Mr. K., was that Hoffman once dressed as a tea party patriot. And that the Rubin/Hoffman traveling political provocateurs were connected with the long political eclipse of the Democratic Party. This fits rather handily into the ‘Radical’ / ‘Moderate’ thesis propounded by Mr. K.. ( But as one who was twenty three in 1968, I have a vivid recall of those years, they are etched in my memory, and Mr. K.’s retelling, or better yet re-imagination of ‘History’ is very different than mine!) The Rubin/Hoffman menage was never elected to public office, nor wielded any political power, except as a kind of street theater activists at war with the ‘Establishment’ Republican and Democrat. This bit of historical invention must rank with the James Pinkerton notion that George McGovern was a Leftist of the insidious kind, an idea he repeated at many and various political occasions. The Tea Party holds political office, Rubin and Hoffman were itinerant political provocateurs, their relationship is a figment of Mr. Kabaservice’s self-serving political imagination.