Conservative commentator R. Emmett Tyrrell: Liberalism is dead

Jamie Weinstein | Senior Writer

Conservative commentator R. Emmett Tyrrell says liberalism is dead. In fact, it’s right in the title of his latest book, “The Death of Liberalism.”

He wrote the book “because I noted that an ideology that does not respond to its opposition honestly and to the reality of, for instance, trillion dollar deficits is dead,” the founder and editor-in-chief of The American Spectator told The Daily Caller.

“Liberalism began to die with the arrival at the top of the Democratic Party of the Infantile Left, the Clintons, Jean Francois Kerry, and so forth. They replaced Hubert Humphrey and Pat Moynihan. The debate between conservatives and liberals ended because the liberals were all gone. Now comes the stealth socialists and cronyism, or ‘friendly fascism.'”

Asked if he may be a bit premature in his assessment of liberalism given how well Democrats fared in the 2006 and 2008 elections, Tyrrell said he didn’t think so. “Those elections in ’06 and ’08 were the death rattle.”

“They allowed the moribund liberals into the federal government with almost plenary power save for the workings of the Supreme Court and the U.S. military. It was a frightening time, though we did still have various state militias. But those elections did allow the moribund liberals to expose their essence and that was the beginning of the end. They accumulated  trillions of dollars in debt, higher taxes, and, well, idiotic pursuits like green power and eventually the ultimate folly, Solyndra crony capitalism. The American people shouted out in 2010 and will shout louder in the years to come.”

TheDC interviewed Tyrrell about his book and his assessment of the 2012 presidential race:

Why did you write the book? 
I wrote “The Death of Liberalism” because I noted that an ideology that does not respond to its opposition honestly and to the reality of, for instance, trillion dollar deficits is dead. Liberalism began to die with the arrival at the top of the Democratic Party of the Infantile Left, the Clintons, Jean Francois Kerry, and so forth. They replaced Hubert Humphrey and Pat Moynihan. The debate between conservatives and liberals ended because the liberals were all gone. Now comes the stealth socialists and cronyism, or “friendly fascism.” It is all in the book.
Will you be attending liberalism’s funeral?
We are holding a small ceremony at the Roosevelt Memorial. I hope well wishers will attend.
Why are you so sure that liberalism is dead? It seemed to do fairly well electorally in 2006 and 2008.
Those elections in ’06 and ’08 were the death rattle. They allowed the moribund liberals into the federal government with almost plenary power save for the workings of the Supreme Court and the U.S. military. It was a frightening time, though we did still have various state militias. But those elections did allow the moribund liberals to expose their essence and that was the beginning of the end. They accumulated trillions of dollars in debt, higher taxes, and, well, idiotic pursuits like green power and eventually the ultimate folly, Solyndra crony capitalism. The American people shouted out in 2010 and will shout louder in the years to come.

How was liberalism fatally wounded? 
I think it was always fatally flawed in terms of the American Constitution. Much of what it tried to do it failed at and cost us hugely in terms of liberty. But the more proximate cause of liberalism’s death was the emergence of the Infantile Left … [which] emerged from the 1960s. They were coat-and-tie radicals who played both sides for political power, first in student government then in the adult world. They really were something new under the sun. They had no fixed principles other than self-promotion. By the 1990s when they emerged at the top of the Democratic Party the die was cast. For them the principles of the Founding Fathers were secondary to the principles of Gandhi and the songs of the Beatles.
If liberalism is dead, does that mean we have reached the end of history domestically? Is conservatism now unchallenged? 
Conservatism has many challenges. To begin with there are President Obama’s pet projects like the green nonsense and Solyndra. It will take time, but in the end I see conservatism eventually triumphing and for honest, well intentioned people on the left life will not be so bad. It will be somewhat like the 1890s with a libertarian tone, tolerance and respect for liberty.
Do you think Mitt Romney is a acceptable standard-bearer for conservatism? 
I think he is. My only question is regarding his toughness. Will he fight? I think he will and I expect President Obama to be retiring in November back to his museum, to be constructed, my sources say, in Blue Island, Illinois. It will be very modern, a gigantic pancake, if you can imagine it.
Who do you think Romney should pick as his vice-presidential nominee in 2012? 
My candidate is Paul Ryan, but then he is my candidate for any high office of the land. He understands the government and the budget process, and those are the chief problems facing the country.
How is Washington different today from when you first arrived here decades ago? 
The liberals stopped debating the conservatives at least 25 years ago. They just were no longer interested. I can tell you personally. I used to host dinners where I would invite such liberals as E. J. Dionne. They just stopped coming. We cannot even get them to attend if they are the featured speaker. Even their television and radio and print journalism are highly selective in mentioning conservatives. When they mention one or quote one he is usually a rather stupid conservative or one who just said something that can be interpreted by the liberal to be stupid.
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