Never knew for sure where the expression came from that my grandmother voiced to my brother and me from time to time, “You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas,” but whether or not it was original with her, that probably wasn’t vital to her concern; only the intent to make a point for her grandsons.
I’d like to pass it along to Ted Cruz. If the Senator (I’m from Texas) thought he could, as Ronald Reagan mistakenly thought as well, come into the Republican party’s party and with a slight finger snap or pursed lips “psst” reveal himself as a dog whisperer and clean the political fleas from the ghastly flotsam of party-political neocons and pseudo-intellectual hounds from hell, he either isn’t as smart as I think he is or he fell for the same madness that the aforementioned Reagan did. Men like Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christi, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham and the prize of flea carriers Haley Barbour (I grew up in Mississippi) are as principled as their Democrat counterparts with their Lady MacHillary. Please note that three of the preceding names are Southerners. As well it should be remembered that Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are Southerners. Bushes 41 and 43 are such only in the Carpetbagger sense.
It has been said (naturally by the media) as least an infinite number of times that Ted Cruz hasn’t a friend in the Senate—lo not a friend in Washington! That alone is why I will vote (my privilege, not my right— ironically a republican principle) for him again given the chance. But, as Reagan learned, though never apparently understood, Republicans are not conservatives of tradition. They are only conservatives of their political house. Fact is, the present nominee, Donald Trump, the reincarnate P.T. Barnum, will, if elected (unlikely) issue “executive orders” with greater ferocity than any of his predecessors.
Reagan left the Democrat party and later saw the light though the illumination of Barry Goldwater’s Conscience of a Conservative. When the party apparatchiks of the day, Bill Stanton, George Romney, Nelson Rockefeller, et al ad nauseam submarined and sabotaged Goldwater, Reagan had to take the long view (as all politicians do) and lean toward the Nixon center. Volia`, once Gerald ford stumbled through the two and a half years of stupidity and Carter followed with (if it were possible) four years of even more stupidity Reagan was ready to bring the true meaning of Jefferson-Calhoun conservatism to Washington because his backers could spell Goldwater. Reagan wasn’t a Southerner, but so what? Carter was, but he was just another political rascal.
In 1981 Ronald Reagan became the 40th president. His Nixonian colors were not long in being hoisted when he gave in and withdrew a Southerner’s, M.E. Bradford, name as chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities (for an excellent read see McClanahan’s and Wilson’s book Forgotten Conservatives in American History) This was the Ronald Reagan who was supposed to be the reason for the past twenty years that Southern Democrats needed to convert to Republicans. Ronald Reagan had learned states’ rights at the knee of Goldwater. In his heart we assumed, like everyone, that Reagan knew Goldwater was right. Principles such as nullification and federalism could be discussed without the authors being called hate mongers. What many Southerners failed to realize was that Reagan wasn’t swept into the White House with a cadre of conservatives in his wake, but in fact was swept in by the brooms of the Neo-conservatives. But then he had made his bed when he left Goldwater.
I don’t know if the South will ever get its own limited, local and independent government(s) but, personally, I’m sure that it will not come through the Republican party. The advice of those who are so sure that the GOP is the answer, reminds me of the thoughts of Patrick Henry, the great Virginia patriot who refused to attend the convention to alter the articles of confederation: “I smell a rat!”
For a smell of rats, look again at some of the names above.