I see all this guff about the GOP “Establishment lane” and how the “Establishment” may be under threat from the rise of the yam. Nonsense. The Establishment has been gone for most of my adult life. It was all but finished by the time Ronnie Ray became president. Younger people get confused, I think, because there are still plenty of bigwigs working heavy-duty positions. But the Establishment, the rock-ribbed Powers That Be running America while I was growing up, that target of the political upheaval of the ’50s and ’60s, that withered away and died in the ’70s and early ’80s. One sure sign is that overt sexuality and drug use and flamboyant lifestyles became easier and easier because there was nobody left to fill the air with their outrage. That’s also why those who must be called the Skin-Deep Establishment are such Widdle Wads went you get down to it — if you didn’t fear the genuine Establishment, you at least had to respect its game.
I’ve already expressed my ambivalence about Ike. One Establishment figure I fully respect and even admire is Sen. Mike Mansfield. Sure, he had a few specks on him, pure straight-arrow and square, but of invincible character and principles.
As an example of bitterness toward the “progressive” Establishment, I should cite that I was thrilled and inspired by William O. Douglas’s autobio, Go East, Young Man: The Early Years when it came out in 1974 then was later crushed to find out he was something of a bullshitter and a fraud. (Even if only half of what has been uncovered is true, his image is damaged beyond repair for me.)