John Dean, who recently completed a series of articles on the 'Impact of Authoritarian Conservatism on American Government,' laments the reluctance of Democratic candidates so far to raise "process issues" that speak to what has become of "the machinery of democracy," as Daniel Ellsberg cries "coup."
What some call "authoritarian conservatism" for others are community-based, grassroots, Christian family values. I recently read James MacGregor Burns on Transforming Leadership: The Pursuit of Happiness. A key point he makes is that a leader interprets the needs and wants of his or her constituents and plays them back legitimized within a framework of values that makes pursuit of those wants and needs noble or inspiring. For that you have to credit the conservative think tanks, speech-writers, and talk show hosts. I am doing some volunteer work with Commonweal Institute who take the point of view that progressives should all be "singing from the same songbook," one of our own. I prefer a Dumpster on the margins of the parade route, where I am close enough to hear the soundbites for either party and far enough away not to be rounded up and shunted to the free speech zones. I don't like command and control, but maybe that is just because I have had so much of it from a certain generous patron of mine. Some people, left and right, apparently, thrive on strong leadership. To each his or her own. I have found that most things in life generally work out for the best if you remember your manners and do not look into things too much.