Bob picked me up at his Nebraskan corn estate near Omaha, which has become my preferred landing site on Earth because Kathryn has her TV studio there. “You look human again,” he welcomed me, seeing me climbing out of Space Scooter One in my Earth fatigues. “Kathryn, the kids and a few friends are waiting for drinks.”
It was a happy reunion. Labor Day offers that mixture of friendly farewell to summer and back to school frenzy when everything gets serious again and boring TV repeats stop. A good time to celebrate enjoying the season’s last barbecue and talk about Earth’s daunting agenda. Bob’s friends included Paul Faulkner, a well-known financier, Henriette Alston, a writer, Charlene Kaufmann, a business executive, and Eugene Carlton, an economics professor at Omaha University. Kathryn had only Pete and Sue with her.
“Your last Mars panel was very critical of the lack of an inspiring figure on the American right,” Bob started, serving Martinis and beer on his sprawling terrace. His beautiful wife Marlene had prepared a wealth of delicious snacks.
“From our vantage point high-up there,” I said, pointing to heaven, “it looks frightening indeed. You need a firebrand to spell out your ideas clearly and convincingly, not that same old same old wooden political jargon we’ve heard for some years now.”
“Don’t you think Gingrich hasn’t been doing that right?” Charlene asked.
“He has, and he is formidable,” I said. “But it’s still same old same old.”
“But people are so disgusted with all that nice talk about change while we are going down in flames,“ Marlene countered, “that they will vote for the opposite side in November, regardless.”
“There are several polls that seem to validate that point, “Kathryn said, “but Mars is right, there is no one to articulate our views. That’s our problem. There’s no Reagan and we need him soon.”
“The Pied Piper won because he had fresh charisma,” I said, “and could speak convincingly unlike Bush or his father with Clinton. There’s nobody else so far on the right who has that forceful ability. A Republican win in November would only mean a no-vote for Democrats and you may lose that again in 2012, as you did before.”
“The Pied Piper must by now have doubts that his socialist agenda is working,” Eugene said. “To stay in power and achieve at least a portion of his additional socialist goals while keeping the ones he got largely intact, he must adopt a few strategies of the center just to take the wind out of their sails.”
“François Mitterrand, the French socialist party leader who got elected President in 1981, did just that,” Paul said. “I was a student in Paris at that time, and still see him smirking when he took office: “Those on the right who criticize socialism will be proven wrong. We will see who does better,” he pontificated. They nationalized the banks and industries and imposed wide-ranging socialist regulations. In three years the economy was completely wrecked and unemployment soaring. Two years later the socialists lost the elections and Mitterrand was forced to accept what they called“cohabitation” with the right. But because he adopted some of the right’s policies and denationalized some banks and industries again, he was still re-elected for another seven year term. It may happen here too.”
“The reason that happened, “Eugene said, “was that Mitterrand convincingly preached that socialism was “justice”, not just “freedom, equal opportunity and brotherhood” as their flag says. “Justice” to him meant that everybody is offered the same share of the collective good, not the freedom offered by incentive-based capitalism that is ingrained in the human spirit and the invisible economic laws. He considered that against the collective good. Obama thinks the same. It’s a good slogan in the ears of a superficial electorate, but it conflicts with basic economics. That’s why Mitterrand’s socialism failed and Obama’s will fail here too.”
“But France is not the USA,” Bob said. “We are experiencing a grassroots groundswell in defense of our freedom, the justice of our Founding Fathers, and our way of free enterprise. On the left they keep barking at the Bush policies, but many of those were imposed by the Democrats themselves, when they took over the house and senate in 2006, and these policies are plaguing us now. They don’t say that of course, but the Republican Party isn’t saying it enough.”
“Bush’s error was not to veto them,” Kathryn said, “even if they could’ve overridden his position. As a result he is blamed for them, such as the Fanny May and Freddie Mac disasters that started the whole financial mess.”
“True, but that still does not mean they were his policies,” Sue intervened. “My school friends keep harping on Bush too, but when I tell them that they shut up.”
“There’s more that’s going on,” Pete said, in support of his beautiful slant-eyed sister who reminded me so dearly of my far away homeland in the universe. “Younger people are searching for a different truth that the secular emptiness of the socialist crowd does not offer them. They feel cheated out of an objective education with professors that indoctrinate them with their own personal views. They feel that their civil rights are being abused and want a fundamental change in the class.”
“You saw a reflection of that in the huge crowd that Glenn Beck attracted at the Mall in DC,” Charlene said. “It was refreshingly non-political. A lot of people want a return to the basic values of the USA, faith, trust and freedom to just do your job right and feel good about it. We don’t need all that government stuff.”
“There’s a huge cleavage between the two philosophies,” Eugene explained. Seeing Henriette, Charlene and Marlene in their low-cut summer dresses exchanging rapid looks of ridicule, he said: “No girls, I didn’t mean it in the biological sense.” When the laughing stopped, he continued: “It’s been ringing throughout history. Paul referred to François Mitterrand. I’m sure he was genuine in his convictions, and maybe Obama and his consorts are as well. But whose justice are they talking about? Their justice is power of a few over many to enforce a tyrannical ideology they think is better for us. We want less interference, small government, and God-fearing freedom to do what we do best. That got the economy running again in the nineties and that had nothing to do with Clinton but all with Gingrich.”
“If you say that at your University,” Sue attacked, “what does your management say?”
“True,” Eugene admitted. “I say it but presently I have to be careful, because academia is notoriously left. But my sense is that views in academia are changing, as they are in some circles in Hollywood.”
“But would Glenn Beck’s Christianity movement have political ramifications that could beat socialism here?” Sue asked him.
“There is a lot of growling in the nation,” Eugene responded, “and I sense that also among the young. Secularism has been pushed too far and contradicts the message of our Founding Fathers. Over 300,000 people on the Mall in DC can’t be wrong.”
“God has been driven out of our materialistic lives for too long,” Henriette said. “Churches are empty in the big cities. Daily advertisement pushes our earthy beliefs. It would take a messianic leader to lead us back to where we were. Obama saw that nationwide emptiness and filled it with his socialistic message for change. The masses, in particular the young, all fell into the trap. The Pied Piper may yet do it again if we don’t find an equivalent.”
“The left is fearful of a religious swell,” Bob said, “and will try to smear it as rightist extremism, while forgetting that socialist theology is leftwing extremism. That’s precisely the cleavage Eugene was talking about” – He noticed the ladies chuckling again, looking down and shaking their heads. “The leftwing advantage is that while they are not in the majority, they have the majority media on their side.”
“People always throw in God like a commodity,” I said. “It has hugely hypocritical overtones. Look at that Islamic reaction to that ground zero mosque. We on Mars were utterly amazed. Of course it is a plot to mark Islamic territory after 9/11, but the moslims, socialists and their media call it constitutional religious freedom that they deny to the Christian faith elsewhere.”
“What is God for you then, Dad?” asked Sue out-of- the-blue.
“As I said before, to me it’s not just one person or one particular belief as often portrayed, but the framework of the universe in whose grace we live. When I am in Space and float along the stars all by myself, see the cosmos I am made off, it’s something overwhelming, a powerful statement of good over evil, strength over weakness, reason over hatred. It brought you Moses and the Ten Commandments from the Sinai, and all Abrahamic religions, including Islam, respect those basic rules. That’s God for me. Why can’t you just unite on that?”
“Institutionalized religion made by man is the main obstacle on Earth,” Henriette said. “Books left and right and religious wars throughout history confirm that world-wide.”
“Still, it would be better if they build that mosque somewhere else and not at Ground Zero,” Sue said. “It would take the sting out of a wound that would otherwise never heal.”
“Presidential politics seem ambivalent on this subject,” Pete said, sarcastically. “Two million Islamic voters count too.”
“You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Sue retorted, “it’ll boomerang. I hope moderate Muslims will convince that fiery Imam to drop it and move his controversial project somewhere else.”
“Sustained pressure from the grassroots will do it,” Henriette said. “There will be marches and speeches on 9/11 and thereafter.”
“As there will be other marches and speeches on the Mall,” Marlene said, “a never ending story trying to prove that big government and socialism are good for the country or not.”
“The opposite of President Kennedy with his well-known rhetorical question,” Paul said, “ask not what your Government can do for you, but what you can do for your Government”. This seems totally forgotten. And he cut taxes, and not raised them. They don’t have Democrats like him anymore.”
“The welfare state encourages intellectual laziness,” Kathryn said, “and drives out our way of get-up-and-go. Socialists suck on that to empower themselves. I hear it often on my shows, but there’s too much talking and too little doing. A march on the Mall here and there is not going to change things.”
“We need a convincing plan that explains the “no”,” Eugene said. “Or rather explains the mood of the center and center-right. People must understand why socialism doesn’t work. It is a leftist totem, not an economic wisdom. Find a charismatic interlocutor who can energize business but also America’s factory worker, galvanize our solidarity and team spirit, our optimism, enthusiasm and faith to do right. Someone who brings trust back into the system. That’s the challenge. The people thought that Obama was offering that but all they got was an empty bag full of holes.”
“Precisely,” Kathryn said. “That’s the argument made on my shows. The “no” is not because there is no plan, it is a “no” to an ideology that leads to economic stalemate. If Obama calls the Republican Party the Party of No, call the Democratic Party the Party of Doom, which it is. But that “no” has to be articulated and it must.”
“Is Senator Ryan’s budget plan not the answer?” Pete asked.
“It has some very good points,” Paul answered. “But others seem not politically convinced, that’s why I think that the Republican leadership has not fully embraced it. In any event, it has not been spelled out and advertized like Gingrich did with his “Contract with America” in 1994 and got it enacted in 1996 when they got the majority in the House. That’s the first thing they must do.”
“You’ll see,” Bob said, “that around Labor Day, the Pied Piper will make overtures to the center by proposing some business incentives, to stem the anti-democratic surge. It may not help them enough in November and he may be forced to cohabitate with the Republican Party like Mitterrand in France was at the time, but it may save him in the end.”
“True,” Paul said, “that would make Republicans part of the process. If things get better like they always do in the business cycle, the Pied Piper can claim credit, get re-elected in 2012 and struggle along with his socialist agenda for further damage. We need a credible plan and motivator for the “no” if we want to win in 2012 and save the USA from permanent decline.”
“That’s a nice subject for my next show,” Kathryn said. “Mars must be tired, Marlene, we have to go,” and she stood up. Bob walked us to Kathryn’s TV limousine. What a room compared to Space Scooter One.