Phillips developed the projection in comparing the British, French and American revolutions in his 1999 book “The Cousins’ Wars.”
“The essence of political restoration is neither republican nor monarchical. It depends upon the delusionary psychology of a political class willing to let its memory grow more and more clouded until it sees fit to reinstate something second-rate, after that something’s replacement has become even less acceptable. This is why restorations contain an element of farce,” Phillips wrote in the February 2000 edition of Harper’s Magazine.
“Both Charles I (of England) and Louis XVI (of France), whose kingly failures began the two previous restoration cycles, were as widely disdained as the senior Bush. And the interlopers who came along to revolutionize their countries’ respective governments — Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard (‘Tumble-down Dick’) in England in the 1650s, and Maximilien Robespierre and then Napoleon in late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth century France — also made themselves unwelcome,” Phillips wrote.
“In both countries, the political elites came to prefer the return of an inexperienced heir. Charles II was called back to England in 1660; Louis XVIII to a re-established throne in 1815. … Bush the Younger is classic restoration material … Not a few observers have described him as cocky, lazy and arrogant (like Charles II), and intellectually undistinguished (a perfect late Bourbon).
“These comparisons are not yet proven, of course, but for the first time in U.S. history, the qualifications of a frontrunner for the presidency are converging with those of the Prince of Wales: heredity and birth,” Phillips noted.
He recounted how the new president’s “own mother once made him sit at the opposite end of the table from the Queen of England, for fear of what he might say, when he was 44 years old,” Phillips stated.
“When the restored James II fell in 1688, that was the end of the Stuart kings,” Phillips wrote. “When the restored Bourbons followed suit in 1830, that was the end of their house. Should a Bush Restoration implode on its own whir of cocky inadequacy, that could be a similar last hurrah not simply for the family’s power but for the Republican Party,” Phillips noted.
“It doesn’t take much to predict that George II will soon risk American lives in some foolish war,” I commented on 21 January 2001, adding “Dick and Colin are back fouling the bowels of government … Indeed, Dubya offers a single cure for all ills. At any bad moon on the rise, he howls for a huge tax cut for rich campaign contributors.”
The Republican Party today stands perilously close to marginalization, the last step before evaporation.
If the GOP continues self-destruction, the Democrats may easily become the party of big business.
A new Labor-Greens counterweight could then emerge, a populist mix of workers, minorities, environmentalists, retirees and occupiers. In other words, the formerly middle class that today’s Democratic leaders ignore at their peril in pursuit of the desensitized and ephemeral middle-right.
Vote for mensches
The great operatic tenor Jan Peerce defined the Yiddish word “mensch” as meaning “a whole man.”
The best potential public servants are well-rounded, complete men and women with open minds. How do you identify a mensch among the usual mediocrities?
One way is to ask them how they feel about taxpayer-funded corporate welfare. The unmensch gives great credence to suedeshoe salesmen in thousand-dollar suits who fly here to enlighten the hicks about their high-priced projects.
Decades of unmensch dominance have brought Reno and Sparks to the edge of insolvency.
Identifying broad-minded candidates secure in who they are is an inexact art, but work on it.
The dingbats and yahoos have been in charge way too long.
Show up for these shows
This Friday at 1 p.m. in UNR Business Building Room 106, Tony Platt will speak on his new book, “Grave Matters: Excavating California’s Buried Past,” the untold story of Native American burial sites plundered and looted by the thousands in California. Free admission.
At 7 p.m. Friday, the awesome Jeanmarie Simpson returns to Nevada to read from her newest solo work-in-progress “Mary’s Joy,” a play exploring the life of Mary Dyer, the first colonial woman executed in the New World. She was hanged in Boston on June 1, 1660, for the crime of being a Quaker.
Co-founder of the Nevada Shakespeare Company, Simpson achieved worldwide fame with her play and film “A Single Woman” about Jeannette Rankin. The first female member of congress, Rankin voted against both world wars.
Simpson will perform at The Non-Profit Center, 1301 Cordone at Vassar across from AT&T in Reno. Seating is limited, show up early, no late entry; complimentary food, wine and other beverages. Donations are encouraged to benefit the Sierra Association of Foster Families. For more information, call 828-9977.
“Wrecking Ball,” Bruce Springsteen’s new album, launches this week, loaded with songs about the plight of America in Great Depression Part Deux. If I had a TV show, I’d play every cut. Make it happen. Support the Nevada Citizen TV Project to re-establish a people’s channel hereabouts. Donate at ReSurge.TV.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and producer of Nevada’s March 31 César Chávez Day celebration. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.