Walter Dobius, Fred Van Ackerman, and Barack Obama

by Timothy Lane8/11/15

Most readers here are probably familiar with Allen Drury’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Advise and Consent (or even with the movie based on it). They may not be aware that Drury wrote a series of sequels to the book, ending in alternative endings to the series (Come Nineveh, Come Tyre and The Promise of Joy). These covered concerns that were contemporary at the time they were written, such as race issues A Shade of Difference) and riotous protestors (Capable of Honor and the later books).

In that book, a suave but slimy liberal named Edward Montoya Jason (undoubtedly something of a Kennedy parody) ends up running for President as the candidate of the peaceniks and other protestors in the midst of an overseas war against the Communists. The protestors, led by an especially vile Wyoming senator named Fred Van Ackerman, are increasingly violent — but liberals such as Walter Dobius (the most influential liberal pundit) and Jason refuse to let themselves be aware of the violence. (They eventually do open their eyes — too late — in Come Nineveh, Come Tyre, in which Jason achieves his goal and destroys the country . In his case, unlike the current incumbent, the destruction is unintentional.)

Drury was using the protests against the Vietnam War as his template (along with increasingly violent civil rights protests). We see the same thing happening today, though, with a variety of violent liberal protest groups. The Occupiers, Black Lives Matters, and various other groups of rioters are routinely defended by liberals who then turn around and express concern that the Tea Party might turn violent (even though they haven’t and show no signs of becoming so). One of their favorite lines is to call a protest “mostly peaceful”. That means that there were a lot of peaceful protestors — and a lot of violent rioters destroying their communities.

When Jason’s intra-party opponents attacked the violent protestors, he complained that they didn’t understand the role of dissent in society. We see similar tropes from liberals today. What part of “peaceably to assemble” do they not understand? Of course, to liberals all good things (such as “peaceable”) are defined as “agrees with me” and all bad things (such as “violent”) are defined as “disagrees with me”).

And so, today, the actions of Drury’s violent rioters are being replicated in urban (and occasionally suburban) pestholes, as well as the liberal defenses of these thugs. They defend them even as the thugs chant their desire for “dead cops now” or boast about being “ready for war” (as they’re chanting in Ferguson — and unfortunately the cops aren’t giving them the war they want). Will this end with the destruction of the United States? Most likely our modern Jason will be gone before quite finishing off the country. But will his replacement be any better?

Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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3 Responses to Walter Dobius, Fred Van Ackerman, and Barack Obama

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    the actions of Drury’s violent rioters are being replicated in urban (and occasionally suburban) pestholes, as well as the liberal defenses of these thugs.

    The pestholes get worse and never quite recover from the riots. But the leftist locusts who fly in and stir up trouble, are able to fly out looking for more fertile ground on which to gorge.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Those locusts are the equivalents of Van Ackerman and the individual leaders the subordinate groups of NAWAC (the umbrella organization for the protestors). Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would fit in perfectly with the black activists of DEFY in Drury’s series.


    I remember coming across a copy of A Shade of Difference around 1971 – in someone’s trash I think (I was a kid at the time and sometimes looked for hidden treasures in other people’s discards). But Drury deserved, and deserves, a read – thanks for reminding us, Tim.

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