I attended the annual reunion of the 1980 Rome CIA Station last night. The group is in the sixty to seventy age range, mostly retirees with good pensions and health insurance, and a few are still working for CIA as contractors. It is 100% conservative with most voting Republican reflexively. Last year’s meeting was held just before election time. At the last reunion my wife and I were the only two attendees out of about twenty present who were not going to vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin. When my wife and I were preparing for last night we were somewhat apprehensive, fearing that the reunion would quickly turn into an anti-Obama rant. To our surprise, however, conversation soon turned to how the US economy is in far worse shape than any politician in Washington seems to understand. Most were in despair about the future of our country, noting that Congress is so hopelessly corrupted that only a clean sweeping out of all incumbents would accomplish anything. There was general agreement that the US has become an evil empire, fighting seemingly endless wars that serve no purpose. Several told horror stories about dealing with the health care industry, this in spite of the fact that they have good insurance, with everyone agreeing that major reform is required even if government health care would be an undesirable alternative. Surprisingly, there was not a whole lot of carping about Obama, with several noting that he had inherited a mess from GWB. Ron Paul’s name came up several times and two of the women present commented that what America needs is a new revolution headed by someone like him to restore the constitution.
It being the ROME station we also talked a lot about food and wine, the newly released digital DVD of I, Claudius, the pluses and minuses of HBO’s series Rome, Inspector Montalbano, and the state of the Catholic Church.
I would not want to read too much into alcohol fueled comments made on one evening by a group that is far from representative, but it occurs to me that there is something in the air. Can it be that the American people have finally had enough of politics as usual? It would be nice to think so and it would be nice to think that somehow someway someday it might be possible to plug into that sentiment to recreate a genuine conservative movement that is both answerable to the American people and reflective of the national interest.