The Never-Trumpers Are Never Coming Back

The Never-Trumpers Are Never Coming Back

By Patrick J. Buchanan

With never-Trump conservatives bailing on the GOP and crying out for the Party of Pelosi to save us, some painful truths need to be restated.

The Republican Party of Bush I and II, of Bob Dole and John McCain, is history. It’s not coming back. Unlike the Bourbons after the Revolution and the Terror, after Napoleon and the Empire, no restoration is in the cards.

It is over. The GOP’s policies of recent decades — the New World Order of George H.W. Bush, the crusades for democracy of Bush II — failed, and are seen as having failed. With Trump’s capture of the party they were repudiated.

There will be no turning back.

What were the historic blunders?

It was not supporting tax cuts, deregulation, conservative judges and justices, or funding a defense second to none. Donald Trump has delivered on these as well as any president since Reagan.

The failures that killed the Bush party, and that represented departures from Reaganite traditionalism and conservatism, are:

First, the hubristic drive, despite the warnings of statesmen like George Kennan, to exploit our Cold War victory and pursue a policy of permanent containment of a Russia that had lost a third of its territory and half its people.

We moved NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic, onto her doorstep. We abrogated the ABM treaty Nixon had negotiated and moved defensive missiles into Poland. John McCain pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, and even to send U.S. forces to face off against Russian troops.

Thus we got a second Cold War that need never have begun and that our allies seem content to let us fight alone.

Europe today is not afraid of Vladimir Putin reaching the Rhine. Europe is afraid of Africa and the Middle East reaching the Danube.

Let the Americans, who relish playing empire, pay for NATO.

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Second, in a reflexive response to 9/11, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, dumped over the regime in Libya, armed rebels to overthrow Bashar Assad in Syria, and backed Saudi intervention in a Yemeni civil war, creating a humanitarian crisis in that poorest of Arab countries that is exceeded in horrors only by the Syrian civil war.

Since Y2K, hundreds of thousands in the Middle East have perished, the ancient Christian community has all but ceased to exist, and the refugees now number in the millions. What are the gains for democracy from these wars, all backed enthusiastically by the Republican establishment?

Why are the people responsible for these wars still being listened to, rather than confessing their sins at second-thoughts conferences?

The GOP elite also played a crucial role in throwing open U.S. markets to China and ceding transnational corporations full freedom to move factories and jobs there and ship their Chinese-made goods back here, free of charge.

Result: In three decades, the U.S. has run up $12 trillion in merchandise trade deficits — $4 trillion with China — and Beijing’s revenue from the USA has more than covered China’s defense budget for most of those years.

Beijing swept past Italy, France, Britain, Germany and Japan to become the premier manufacturing power on earth and a geo-strategic rival. Now, from East Africa to Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, and from the South and East China Sea to Taiwan, Beijing’s expansionist ambitions have become clear.

And where are the Republicans responsible for building up this potentially malevolent power that thieves our technology? Talking of building a Reagan-like Navy to contain the mammoth they nourished.

Since the Cold War, America’s elites have been exhibiting symptoms of that congenital blindness associated since Rome with declining and falling empires.

While GOP grass roots have begged for measures to control our bleeding southern border, they were regularly denounced as nativists by party elites, many of whom are now backing Trump’s wall.

For decades, America’s elites failed to see that the transnational moment of the post-Cold War era was passing and an era of rising nationalism and tribalism was at hand.

“We live in a time,” said U2’s Bono this week, “when institutions as vital to human progress as the United Nations are under attack.”

The institutions Bono referenced — the U.N., EU, NATO — all trace their roots to the 1940s and 1950s, a time that bears little resemblance to the era we have entered, an era marked by a spreading and desperate desire of peoples everywhere to preserve who and what they are.

No, Trump didn’t start the fire.

The world was ablaze with tribalism and was raising up authoritarians to realize nationalist ends — Xi Jinping, Putin, Narendra Modi in India, Erdogan in Turkey, Gen. el-Sissi in Egypt — before he came down that escalator.

And so the elites who were in charge when the fire broke out, and who failed to respond and refused even to recognize it, and who now denounce Trump for how he is coping with it, are unlikely to be called upon again to lead this republic.

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McGovern & Goldwater: Losers or Winners?

Goldwater for President

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Early in Ronald Reagan’s second term, Bill Rusher, the publisher of National Review, was interviewing the president in the Oval Office for a documentary on the conservative movement.

Rusher asked how he would describe Barry Goldwater‘s role.

Reagan thought a moment and replied: I guess you would have to call him the John the Baptist of our movement.

I resisted the impulse to lean in and ask, “Sir, if Barry Goldwater was John the Baptist, who would that make you?”

The death of George McGovern brought back thoughts of these two men who suffered two of the greatest defeats in presidential history.

McGovern was an unapologetic liberal from South Dakota. Goldwater was Mr. Conservative and proud of it. Both had been World War II pilots. Goldwater had flown “over the hump,” the Himalayas, into China. George McGovern flew bombing runs over the Ploesti oil fields.

McGovern had been at the Progressive Party convention in 1948 that nominated Henry Wallace to run against Harry Truman. Goldwater voted against the Senate censure of Joe McCarthy in 1954 and was one of only six Republicans to oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In 1964, Goldwater led his party to a 22-point defeat at the hands of Lyndon Johnson, winning only five states of the Deep South and Arizona.

Eight years later, McGovern lost every state but Massachusetts to Richard Nixon in the worst rout ever sustained by a nominee of his party. In 1984, McGovern would be joined in that dubious distinction of a 49-state defeat by Walter Mondale.

Yet unlike others who have lost presidential bids in modern times — Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain — Goldwater and McGovern proved to be men ahead of their time.

Though a reluctant candidate who had to be “drafted,” Goldwater became the political instrument of a rising conservative movement that used his campaign to tear the Republican Party away from an Eastern liberal establishment that had controlled it for generations and dictated its nominees.

In 1960, Vice President Nixon had traveled to New York to cut a deal with and mollify Nelson Rockefeller. But by 1968, it was the endorsement of Goldwater and conservatives like John Tower of Texas and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina that were Nixon’s keys to the nomination. After 1964, the liberal establishment never again imposed a nominee on the GOP.

But between the movement that captured the nomination for Goldwater and the cause that captured the Democratic Party for McGovern, there were differences not only of philosophy.

The Goldwater people were rebels. They wanted to overthrow and displace the old leadership. Many McGovernites were revolutionaries.

Where conservatives sought a party more true to its principles, many McGovernites wanted to change America into another country — more statist, egalitarian, permissive. They did not like the country they grew up in. The Goldwaterites wished to restore the best of those times.

“Why Not Victory” was the title of Goldwater’s book on the Cold War. “Come Home, America” was McGovern’s slogan.

Where McGovern sought to end the war in Vietnam, some of his supporters thought America was on the wrong side of that war and on the wrong side of the Cold War. They marched under Viet Cong flags, chanting: “Ho! Ho! Ho! Chi Minh — The NLF is going to win.”

With McGovern’s nomination, conservatives in the Democratic Party who had voted for George Wallace or Hubert Humphrey in 1968 moved in the millions into Nixon’s New Majority and would remain there until the end of the Cold War. They became the Reagan Democrats.

Whatever McGovern’s personal views, his campaign became the vehicle of the counterculture of the 1960s, of the feminist and homosexual rights movements, of antiwar activists and student radicals, of Harvard and the Hollyleft, all of whom were in those years cordially detested by Middle America.

Goldwater’s nomination ripped the Republican Party asunder. But Nixon, the most skillful politician of his generation, was able to stitch it back together by 1968 to win the presidency.

McGovern’s nomination run replicated Goldwater’s. His people had written the rules for the 1972 delegate selection process and written the bosses out. The nomination would be decided in state conventions, caucuses and primaries, as it was in the Goldwater campaign.

The Goldwater nomination left conservatives in the GOP with the power to nominate one of their own every four years, or to veto any non-conservative. No Republican ticket after Goldwater would be without a conservative. In 1976, the right would force Gerald Ford to dump his vice president, Nelson Rockefeller, as the price of its support.

McGovern’s followers never captured the presidency, as the right did with Reagan. But the counterculture for which his campaign was the earliest political expression became the dominant culture of America’s social, cultural and intellectual elite. We live with the consequences still.

And only that altered culture could have opened the door of the presidency to a man of Bill Clinton or Barack Obama’s background.

Pat Buchanan: The Noble Relic

by John Derbyshire – Taki’s Magazine

Has Pat Buchanan been fired from MSNBC, or hasn’t he? He hasn’t been seen on the channel since October, when his last book came out. (I reviewed it for Taki’s Mag here.) MSNBC president Phil Griffin said a month ago that Pat was being kept off the air because of things Griffin found objectionable in the book: presumably things such as Pat’s having lamented “The End of White America”—one of his chapter titles. A friend who met Pat on January 27th reports that Pat denied having been fired.

The MSNBC debacle is one more attenuation in the slow fading of Pat’s public career. He still has other TV gigs, but if MSNBC does not restore him, he is unlikely to get a media contract elsewhere that gives him as much visibility. Pat will have taken another step down in his gradual departure from the public stage. The man is 73 and has health issues. More decisively, large parts of the American public—including, obviously, Mr. Griffin—see him as a relic whose views are not so much shocking as incomprehensible, as if a courtier of James the First had appeared among us in doublet, hose, and ruff arguing for the divine right of kings.

Ah, well. As Pat’s close British equivalent Enoch Powell famously observed, all political careers end in failure. Pat’s career was, in its very American way, a glorious one. The details have been laid out in a striking new biography by historian Timothy Stanley: The Crusader: The Life and Tumultuous Times of Pat Buchanan.

Stanley sensibly omits most of Pat’s childhood and youth, which Pat covered thoroughly in his own 1990 memoir Right from the Beginning . By page 36 of The Crusader, Pat is working for Richard Nixon. There follows a breathtaking 320-page canter through US national politics toward the end of the 20th century, culminating in Pat’s disastrous 2000 run for president under the Reform Party banner. He won 0.4 percent of the popular vote.

The highest point was Pat’s victory over Bob Dole in the 1996 New Hampshire primary. It is still thrilling to read about:

At the Buchanan office in Manchester, there was a riot. The media turned up from nowhere and tried to break in. They pushed their way up the narrow staircase, squeezing against the walls, waving boom mics….At the front was Larry King, shouting, “Where’s Pat? Where’s Pat?” Pat was world news. He made the front page in London, Tokyo, and Moscow….This was the high tide of the Middle American Revolution.

Establishment Republicans were furious. The neocons had already captured key strategic points in the party and were aggressively pushing their programs of globalization, demographic replacement, and military aggrandizement. How dare Pat speak up for economic nationalism, American citizenship, and the return of our troops from Germany, Italy, Korea, and Japan? Pat was “pseudo-populist” (Bill Kristol); he was “exclusionary” (Jack Kemp); he was a “segregationist,” guilty of “Jew-baiting” and “queer-bashing” (David Frum); he was…whatever (Bob Dole).

Four years earlier, at the 1992 Republican Convention in Houston, Pat had scored his greatest oratorical triumph. GOP moderates followed with a shameful betrayal of him. Timothy Stanley tells the story very well.

Pat had come to the convention with a respectable showing in the primaries. Nearly three million people had voted for him—23 percent of all votes cast. The GOP establishment badly wanted those votes for George H. W. Bush in the general election and were willing to pay for them.

While she was at the convention, [Pat’s sister and campaign organizer] Bay got a call from Bush’s advisors to ask if they could meet to discuss Pat.…The polls showed that Bush needed Buchanan’s endorsement. What was Pat’s price? “We want a primetime speech,” she said.

She kept saying it until the Bush people caved. The result was Pat’s “Culture War” speech, a splendid flight of oratory that electrified conservatives. Reports Stanley:

Before the convention, Clinton led Bush 52-35 percent. After the convention, Clinton led by just 45-42 percent. The President led among men by 47-41 percent. The leap came the day after Buchanan’s speech.…

Bush himself seemed to be pleased with the speech, congratulating Pat personally at a party that evening. Other elements in the party were horrified. The neocons did not yet have their thumbs pressed as firmly on the GOP’s windpipe as they would four years later, but there was a sufficient spirit of cultural appeasement in the Republican establishment to provoke a swift backlash: a hatred of ideas, a terror of strong opinions, and an awareness of the fortunes to be made by moving factory work to cheap-labor countries.

Media allies were hastily enlisted, and a parade of GOP moderates offered up prime-time condemnation of Pat’s speech. On the psephological evidence, it might have saved the administration; in the lightning-fast rewrite of history accomplished by the GOP panjandrums and their media shills, it had hurt the administration.

In just twenty-four hours, Pat went from the voice of the people to right-wing nut.

Read more at Taki’s Magazine…