An Essay I Wish I Wrote by David Montgomery


This week I am replacing my column with a post written by my good friend Ernest Christian. Ernie is a Texan, a patriot, and one of the most astute observers of American politics I have known. His post appeared in American Greatness on December 12 with the title “Will the Thin Red Line Save America from the Blue Wave?” and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. Ernest is a  lawyer who served as a tax policy official in the Treasury Department in the Ford Administration.

It expresses so well concerns that I share about the next 2 years that I wanted to give readers of the Spy an opportunity to read it, too: 

“If they do their duty in the next Congress beginning at noon on the third day of January, the 53 Republican members of the 116th Senate will steadfastly repel all the attacks that the radical 116th House of Representatives is expected to make on the principles of free-market economics and our defining constitutional protections for speech, religion, and property.

At times the House has been controlled by leftists of various types, ranging from “extreme” to “not so much.” Indeed, liberal Democrats (as leftists once labeled themselves) dominated the House for most of the last half of the 20th century. Nancy Pelosi and many of the veteran members of the House who numerically comprise part of the Democrats’ incoming majority are representative of that group of old-line liberal-leftists.

They gained and retained power by a lethal combination of high taxes and spending to forcibly redistribute other people’s income and property to Democrat voters. They also excelled at economy-warping regulations and special-interest tax rules, exceptions and extenders that favored their friends on K Street to the detriment of those businesses’ competitors and the economy as a whole. Although they deliberately killed millions of jobs, created several generations of welfare recipients, and were highly culpable in a broad range of other depredations, they generally managed to stay—albeit barely—within the boundaries of the law and constitutional legitimacy as an American political party.

Now, however, deny it though they will, the old-line liberal-leftists will inevitably be forced to follow the most extreme dictates of the neotenous, chip on the shoulder, minority-heavy,female-dominated “progressives” who flipped the House. They will insist that all Democrats goway out of bounds in taking control of the Americans’ minds and souls as well as their money andand property. In the hyper-hypocritical name of “bipartisanship,” they may be able to seduce the California side of K Street into helping them create a digital-age mind-control regime in exchange for new forms of subsidy that replace the “special rules/exceptions/extenders” used in the past by the liberals to milk and bilk.

Progressive operatives have already proven their skills in exploiting women, young people, and minorities. The Soviet-style show trial of Judge Kavanaugh also revealed how unscrupulous they can be when acting in concert with no-holds-barred affiliates in the media. Hillary Clinton’s progressive mentor, Saul Alinsky, had his bombs and a master plan. Earlier, Stokely Carmichael and Patty Hearst had their guns and violent hatreds.

But 2018 digital-age progressives need no such crude weapons. They use clean technology to bend the minds of women, children, minorities and the increasingly large population of preconditioned white males—thereby turning them into weapons for their own destruction.

Neat trick and highly profitable to boot. The two most recent progressive cabals to occupy the White House (the Clintons and the Obamas) have become filthy rich.

To succeed in re-engineering what millions of people think, say, and do, progressives turn logic upside down in countless ways, every day and in every place, until utter nonsense begins to seem normal and correct to people whose minds have been preconditioned since kindergarten.

Consider, for example, Travis County, Texas (home of the University of Texas) where a group studying “enterprises” counsels that hiring employees based on merit is unfair. Also, in this heart of Beto O’Rourke progressivism, college-age males not already emotionally neutered can take a course in how not to be masculine. Up until recently in Texas, manliness was second only to godliness—but in the brave new world of the progressives, both struggle even to make the team.

It used to be that young people learned about God and goodness at church and at home. In school, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance and were taught American history and the “American Creed,” which Samuel Huntington described as secular Christianity. Yes, no doubt about it, we were from childhood on thoroughly “indoctrinated” in the founding principles of Western civilization: God, family, country, truth, merit, integrity, courage, loyalty, decency, morals and manners. Men were expected to be gentlemen and women to be ladies.

All that indoctrination was good in principle, although many of us failed to learn our lessons fully. But even as an aspiration, it was an imperfect lesson until Martin Luther King, Jr. added the final rejoinder that we not judge people by their skin color, but, instead, on the basis of their character and conduct.

The current crop of progressives, however, has not only turned the old creed (decency, honor, and manners) upside down, they have perverted Dr. King’s rule of color-blind racial fairness into a new and evil form of racial and gender discrimination called “identity politics” and, worse, used it as a weapon to the detriment of women and African Americans.

What the Senate Can Do

James Madison’s constitutional design imposes on the Senate the duty of standing fast when necessary to preserve and protect the nation’s founding principles from the destructive and ill-considered excesses of a rogue House of Representatives which—let’s face it—the 116th House already shows signs of becoming. Socialism was once beyond the pale in American politics and policy, but it is now de rigueur among the progressives—and when combined with their founding principles of “PC” thought and speech control, the result fits perfectly the definition of a totalitarian state.

Whether the thin red line of Republicans, especially in the Senate, will recognize the degree and nature of the danger in time to avoid disaster remains to be seen. They must avoid the trap of “bipartisanship” and such canards as “reaching across the aisle” and must recognize that just because Republicans were many times in the past able to “do business” with the old line liberal-leftists does not mean that they can do so again. And they should recall that many times when they did so in the past, America suffered considerable damage in the process.

The 116th Senate may be the last chance for the Republicans to follow the example of Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and “man-up” for a last-ditch defense of the American Creed Progressives for decades have been peddling their nostrums from kindergarten to graduate school, and many members of the Senate and the House and even the general population may in mild degrees be afflicted by progressivism.

Many fateful signals about the future likely will be given during the current “lame duck” session of Congress, in which Republicans still have a majority in both houses—subject to a filibuster in the Senate by the minority.

Based on past performance, year-end lame-duck sessions do not enjoy a good reputation. Many times in the past the Congress—Republicans and Democrats alike—have used these occasions to deliver Christmas presents to K Street that get rushed through at the last minute under the cover of political darkness.

But let’s be optimistic—we really have no other choice—so we must hope and demand that this time Congress, and the Republicans in the Senate in particular, will rise to the historic occasion and stand firm on important principles.

Senate Republicans can confirm some judges in the lame duck and it is hoped that they can also confirm a batch of qualified Trump appointees to important positions in the Executive Branch whose service to the nation has been wrongfully delayed by Senate Democrats for nearly a year. Senate Republicans can also stand firm on the continuing resolution needed to fund the government until March 2019—and, having done so, can in March 2019 also stand firm on the debt limit votes and the spending caps under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (signed by President Obama), which pit outlays for national defense against increases in domestic spending.

Avoiding Lame Duck Lameness

Wish lists for passage in the lame duck abound. There may be some bipartisan hope for passage of a farm bill and some Democrats talk airily about trading some amount of funding for a border wall in exchange for legalizing “Dreamers.”

Although President Trump during the campaign talked about additional tax cuts and reforms that would boost the economy for years to come, Democrats will be able to block by a filibuster in the Senate both broad-based rate cuts and making permanent first-year expensing for job-creating capital investments, which would have been the perfect thing for passage in the lame duck had proper preparation been made in the form of a budget resolution in April.

Having failed to do that, the only tax legislation potentially being set up for passage in the lame duck is H.R. 88, a largely housekeeping provision of little intrinsic merit of its own and which, on the negative side, unfortunately from a tax reform standpoint would perpetuate a list of 20- odd extenders for K Street that have been condemned by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation as well as the reliably conservative Heritage Foundation, and which are, in my opinion, an insult to the principles of the historic tax reform legislation which was the crown jewel of Republican accomplishment in the 115th Congress.

It defies imagination why Republicans would want to go out of their way to extend a tax credit for electric vehicles that is on its face a classic case of exactly the kind of “progressive” policymaking that Republicans must guard against in much larger and more dangerous forms over the next two years. The electric vehicle credit probably does less actual harm to the economy than some of the other extenders, but it is the “progressive” nature of the thing that matters.

Not a good sign that Republicans will stand firm against progressives in the new Congress. They may do so on the big philosophical issues, but K Street is the vulnerable point where business as usual horse-trading is most likely to go on—and the progressives know it.”

David Montgomery is retired from a career of teaching, government service and consulting, during which he became internationally recognized as an expert on energy, environmental and climate policy.  He has a PhD in economics from Harvard University and also studied economics at Cambridge University and theology at the Catholic University of America,   David and his wife Esther live in St Michaels, and he now spends his time in front of the computer writing about economic, political and religious topics and the rest of the day outdoors engaged in politically incorrect activities.




Letters to Editor

  1. Dear Editor,

    Why publish this nasty piece of work? It basically insults everyone in the United States besides old, conservative, crotchety white men of a certain ilk. I see no merit in it. It is mean-spirited and appears to be written just to pick fights as opposed to actually offering any valuable insights.

    Ideally, we’d leave examples of partisanship like this op-ed to the extreme audiences they’re pandering to—and strike a more civil tone in The Spy with pieces written for and by members of our own community.

    • Deirdre LaMotte says

      So true! My early New Years resolution? Never to read another of his pieces. I mean, if they weren’t so tragic, they’d be laughable!

  2. Gretchen Stroh says

    Reading this I thought it was April Fools Day. Then I checked the calendar. So sad and scary that anyone truly feels this way.

  3. Valerie Overton says

    I wish i could understand why the Spy continues to allow this sort of dreck…is there no content editor?

    I would think Mr Montgomery would be better served to write something intelligent that ignores this level of wrabblerousing minutiae and focuses instead on the decline of the country’s leading economic indicators. He could actually apply his educational background! This might also better meet the intelligence of the spy’s readership and address an actual future problem of import.

    If Mr Montgomery is not up to the task, could the Spy please consider a writer of merit who is?

  4. Beryl Smith says

    This is no better than the other swill coming from the pen of David Montgomery. It has no place in this publication and, if it were up to me I would ban Mr. Montgomery altogether. I do read intelligent contributions from right, left and center, but these pieces are beyond any definition of intelligent of thoughtful. Just trash!

  5. Marge Fallaw says

    In addition to questionable ideas, this piece is full of loaded language. If I wanted to be exposed to this sort of thing, I know exactly where to go—to Fox News or worse. The Spy should steer clear of it.

  6. Dean Snyder says

    Saul Alinksy “had his bombs”??? Alinksy was a proponent of non-violence. Does the writer mean this metaphorically? If not, he should either substantiate his claim or apologize to Alinksy’s memory. Also, Hilary Clinton wrote a paper about him once. Does that make him her mentor?

    The writer’s championing of his brand of “free-market economics” reminds me of something Peter Hayes wrote in his new book “Why? Explaining the Holocaust” (available through the Kent County library):
    … in this country and in Europe, economic inequality is growing, as the proponents of a certain version of free market capitalism increasingly lose sight of the implicit contract that most Western nations made with their populations in response to World War II. That contract traded a promise that governments would provide basic services and security in return for citizens abandoning political extremism. Communism and fascism were the outgrowths of societies in which the distribution of wealth and opportunity were massively unequal, and the postwar architects of European unification and social safety nets knew that reducing inequality was the essential prerequisite for social peace. As governments cease to keep their part of this bargain, they invite citizens to cease to keep theirs, and in such a context, no minority (and perhaps no democracy) will be safe.
    —-Peter Hayes, Why? Explaining the Holocaust (W W Norton & Company), p. 334.

  7. Steve Payne says

    The “neotenous, chip on the shoulder, minority-heavy,female-dominated “progressives” are coming!

  8. Bob Ingersoll says

    Many “liberals” have already responded to the essay written by the Montgomery stand in, asking the Spy why they would print such divisive drivel. The first amendment protects such liberty, and I stand beside that amendment. Mr. Montgomery did not punch my nose, nor cry fire in the Garfield. He has the right to be heard.
    He did, in fact, give his spot to a friend, his mentor, whose point of view seems to me even farther right than that of Mr. Montgomery. But the title said it all. “Will the Thin Red Line Save America from the Blue Wave?” The “Thin Red Line” is decidedly thin, decidedly white, decidedly male, and decidedly old. The “Blue Wave” is ascending as our population changes, and the citizens in that wave realize that only participation in government will save those freedoms and moral values for everyone, not just those hiding behind the thin red line. Why Mr. Montgomery would even want to let everyone know what he really thinks, especially by first insulting the intelligence of women in general, every minority, and generally everybody who does not tow the thin red line, is beyond me. What followed in the text of the essay looked more like alienation than inspiration. I thank the Spy for printing it…so I will always know where Mr. Montgomery and his friends stand, and why I am disheartened and saddened by it.

  9. Jamie Kirkpatrick says

    Cop out, Mr. Montgomery. Next time, write your own drivel. On second thought, don’t bother.

  10. Howard McCoy says

    I raise my glass in cheerful acknowledgement, “Thank God for Leftists!!”

  11. Gren Whitman says

    Mr. Montgomery calls his Texas pen pal “a patriot.”
    I call him something else.
    Can’t Mr. M. write his own reactionary screeds?

  12. Adam Goodheart says

    Even the headline is ignorant and wrong. (Should be “I wish I had written.”)

  13. Adam Goodheart says

    One of the most revolting things is the author’s sanctimonious embrace of MLK. I have zero doubt that back in the 60s, David Montgomery and his friend were — at best — smearing King as a commie agent, attacking pro-integration politicians as “liberals who want to legislate what we think about the blacks,“ and clucking their tongues about the poor innocent childlike black folks being duped and misled by sinister Jewish propagandists. (Random gratuitous reference to Saul Alinsky noted.) In other words, exactly their worldview today, except that these people have figured out they can misuse King’s rhetoric to argue for a fake kind of “colorblindness“ (i.e., pretending racism doesn’t exist while continuing to be a bigot).

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