31 MARCH 2007, Page 55

Marginalising conservatives


New York

To the nation’s capital for a speech at the National Press Club about the Fifth Columnists among us. Actually it was a conference honouring Sam Francis, sponsored by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Sam Francis died two years ago and his latest book is a compilation of his brilliant writings about unlimited immigration, the neoconservatives, the war against Christmas and other such subjects anathema to the Trotskyites now posing as conservative and patriotic Americans. I was the last speaker of the afternoon, as I had requested — one should always end on a light note, and mine sure was light — which was a handicap of sorts. I followed PhD Professor Paul Gottfried, a man whose knowledge of serious politics and history is on a par with mine where the history of the French Riviera is concerned. In fact, after being introduced, I noted that the master of ceremonies Wayne Lutton, another PhD and a Speccie reader from way, way back, had failed to mention my own PhD, the one from the University of La Côte d’Azur. He apologised. Not many got it.

Following Gottfried into bat is a bit like going to bed with a woman who has just had sex with Rubirosa. One is bound to feel diminished. Never mind. I gave it my best shot. (As I’m sure I would have, had I ever followed Rubi in bed.) Paul’s thesis was that the neocons are here to stay. The Old Right, the true conservatives, will have to mount an effort equivalent to the Soviet counterattack at Stalingrad to get rid of the enemy that the conservative movement invited in to occupy its territory. Alas, it is so. The terrible harm these wretched people have done to the country is nothing compared with the damage they’ve inflicted on anyone of the Old Right who knows them for what they are. People have lost their jobs and their livelihoods, and a palaeoconservative on a TV political chat show or a column in a major newspaper is as rare as a necktie around the ludicrous Dave Cameron’s fleshy neck. Better yet, they have acted brutally, breaking the bones of those on the Right, while at the same time maintaining a neighbourly dialogue with the Centre-left, a strategy which is integral in marginalising the real Right.

Mind you, the Kristols and Podhoretzes of this world are many bad things, but one thing they’re not is dumb. They and their ilk knew from the start that the country was turning conservative following Vietnam and the excesses of the Sixties. Their plan was to pretend to have seen the light of conservatism, marginalise the real conservatives using well-meaning people who abhor anti-Semitism (the neocon Trojan Horse) and continue the party line only with a different name. Big intrusive government, open borders, large state spending, non-person status for dissenters, worldwide interference and if need be military invasion — Mr Trotsky himself could not have done better even without that spike on his head. In fact, they are quite admirable and far less contemptible than those who serve them.

If life were fair, of course, especially after the Iraq fiasco, bums like Frum, Podhoretz, Kristol, Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle, the Kagan brothers and the rest of the galère would now be making a living asking customers whether they would like regular or super. Instead, they have not only kept their jobs or been pushed upstairs as in the case of Wolfowitz — but they also continue to shape public opinion with their columns, TV shows and various other means of exposure. The palaeoconservatives are outside the stadium looking in through peepholes.

Otherwise, Washington was fun. Although I wasn’t best pleased not to have hobnobbed with as many presidents and big shots as Andrew Roberts, ex-commissioner William von Raab was good enough for me. I happen to like President Bush, although we’ve never met. He seems like a very decent man who means well but was betrayed by Cheney and his gang. The one thing in last week’s diary that surprised me was Andrew’s claim that the President is widely read. If he was, how could he not know that Iraq was unwinnable from the start due to the Sunni-vs-Shiite equation. Not to mention the Kurds. Mind you, I’m sure he’s read a lot but when you have Cheney telling you that they will fold after the first shot, you’re bound to forget Winston’s folly and think that Gertrude Bell was one of those Bloomsbury women who smoked a lot and slept with their own sex.

Needless to say, the presidential election of 2008 has absurdly begun and has drawn an equally absurd amount of press coverage. I will not sit on the fence on this one. That ghastly old Hillary will win, which will give us plenty of material to write about, and will keep the neocons in business. After all, she’s a socialist, probably to the right of them, and she will reward them for having gotten rid of the real conservatives. In a perverse way I think it’s gonna be fun. The horrible Clintons renting out the White House to cheesy billionaire types who own shopping malls in El Lay, Concorde-nosed Barbra Streisand singing ‘People who need people’, the little Greek boy puking his guts out every night watching the news. Plus Va change, as they say in the land of cheese.