All hail the new Federalists
By Jake Fuller
We live in extraordinary political times, to say the least. The Democrat party seems to have finally maneuvered itself into a position to establish a power base that could prove insurmountable; a clever band of elitists using the mantel of populism as its means to an end.
While reading the book, “The Radicalism of the American Revolution,” by Gordon S. Wood, I couldn’t help notice the parallels between the Federalist party of the 1790s and the Democrat party of the 21st century. Both espoused the need for a strong federal government; one as means of controlling the common man and the threat he might pose to the power of the privileged few; the other — on the surface — as means of advancing the power of the downtrodden. At first, the two parties seem diametrically opposed in their ends but not their means. But are they?
Federalist leaders consisted of the educated gentlemen of proprietary wealth who, through their enlightenment and inherited station in society considered themselves best qualified to rule. They strived to convince themselves and others that their public service was disinterested, that they served for no reason other than the public good. In the end they convinced no one. Everyone knew that they served their own interests of power and wealth. Their political party inevitably failed because it could not adapt to and control the rising power of the common man.
Fast forward to the modern Democrat party. Either consciously or through political intuition, it has learned its history lesson well. Regardless of Democrat accusations about Republicans being the party of the wealthy, i.e. the “evil rich,” its leaders are anything but the yeoman citizen/politician. Most are educated at elite universities, possessors of proprietary wealth, and many benefit from inherited stations in society. The have also learned well the value of a powerful central government in keeping constituents in their “station” in life, while pretending to work for their benefit. Just ask black Americans how much better off they are after 60 years of Democrat benevolence. As the genteel class of the 1700s secured its political power by using its lending power to hang a yoke of dependency around the necks of the lower classes, today’s Democrats have learned to use taxpayer money to do the same thing.
Of course it will be argued that its current leader fits anything but this definition. Just as the last two Democrat presidents, he has come from humble beginnings, a common man rising up to serve his fellow countrymen. Yet, like his predecessors he was educated at an elite school, has become the possessor of proprietary wealth and, if not the beneficiary of an inherited station in society, has certainly been propped up by his associations with those types.
Today’s Democrat leaders have learned not to attempt to justify their elitist objectives but to mask them. In Wood’s book he writes about a fiery anti-Federalist named Abraham Bishop, who in 1800 railed against “the people’s ‘habit of following these great men faithfully as hounds to the horn.’” The Federalists commanded this behavior through “inferiority and humiliation” of the lower classes. Of course, as common citizens obtained more wealth, this tactic eventually failed and the party collapsed.
Democrats have cleverly turned these feelings of jealousy and resentment against the other party, using class warfare to paint it as elitist, all the while stealthily grasping for power and wealth. Only occasionally do they let their true feelings of contempt for working Americans bubble to the surface, as with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s recent condescending reference to the “chattering classes.”
According to Wood, Bishop argued that the Federalists talked of “energetic government and national greatness” and could “prove conclusively that a national debt is a blessing or a curse.” “They fooled people with their ‘charming outsides, engaging manners, powerful address, and inexhaustible argument.’” Sound familiar? Our new charismatic leader and his party have added over a trillion dollars to the national debt in less than a month, while calling for fiscal responsibility; and the fawning media and public, raised on American Idol and People magazine, gaze in mesmerized approval.
There is one great distinction between the original Federalists and the “new” Federalists. The former found the concept of seeking public office for personal gain “unpardonable.” The latter has taken this Anti-Federalist approach to government and perfected it. Using public office as a source of private wealth and power has become an art to them.
So, we now find ourselves faced with a deceptive political party that has cultivated the common man’s envy. It’s like a rope salesman inciting a lynch mob. Those screaming for a hanging get to vent their anger and feel better for it. And the salesman multiplies his wealth and power.
So, all hail the new Federalists. The new elitists have found the perfect way to acquire power and wealth, and more importantly, hold on to it with the blessings of the common man. Unfortunately, they are the only ones who have learned their history lesson well.
Jake Fuller is a political cartoonist by profession, and an occasional opinion writer. E-mail him at: JakeFuller08@gmail.com.