It’s Trump’s Party Now

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“More is now required of us than to put down our thoughts in writing,” declaimed Jeff Flake in his oration against President Trump, just before he announced he will be quitting the Senate.

Though he had lifted the title of his August anti-Trump polemic, “Conscience of a Conservative,” from Barry Goldwater, Jeff Flake is no Barry Goldwater.

Goldwater took on the GOP establishment in the primaries, voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, defiantly declared, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” and then went down to defeat battling to the end after the assassination of JFK made LBJ invincible.

The real “Mr. Conservative” was a true profile in courage.

Flake, with only 18 percent approval in Arizona, decided to pack it in rather than get waxed in his own primary. With Falstaff, Flake appears to believe that “discretion is the better part of valor.”

Sen. Bob Corker is another summertime soldier calling on colleagues to stand and fight Trump while he retires to Tennessee.

It’s no wonder the establishment is viewed with such derision.

Flake calls Trump “dangerous to our democracy.” But the real threat Trump represents is to the GOP establishment’s control of the party’s agenda and the party’s destiny.

U.S. politics have indeed been coarsened, with Trump playing a lead role. Yet, beneath the savagery of the uncivil war in the party lies more than personal insults and personality clashes.

This is a struggle about policy, about the future. And Trump is president because he read the party and the country right, while the Bush-McCain Republican establishment had lost touch with both.

How could the Beltway GOP not see that its defining policies — open borders, amnesty, free trade globalism, compulsive military intervention in foreign lands for ideological ends — were alienating its coalition?

What had a quarter century of Bushite free trade produced?

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About $12 trillion in trade deficits, $4 trillion with China alone, a loss of 55,000 plants and 6 million manufacturing jobs.

We imported goods “Made in China,” while exporting our future.

U.S. elites made China great again, to where Beijing is now challenging our strategic position and presence in Asia.

Could Republicans not see the factories shutting down, or not understand why workers’ wages had failed to rise for decades?

What did the democracy crusades “to end tyranny in our world” accomplish?

Thousands of U.S. dead, tens of thousands of wounded, trillions of dollars sunk, and a Mideast awash in blood from Afghanistan to Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, with millions uprooted and homeless. Yet, still, the GOP establishment has not repudiated the mindset that produced this.

With the Cold War over for a quarter of a century, what is the case now for America, $20 trillion in debt, going abroad in search of monsters to destroy?

Consider. Bush-Obama “open borders” brought in tens of millions of Third World peoples, legally and illegally, to rising resistance from Americans forced to bear the economic and social costs.

What was the GOP establishment’s reply to the opposition to amnesty for illegals and calls for a moratorium on legal immigration, to assimilate the tens of millions already here?

To call them nativists and parade their moral superiority.

Flake and Corker are being beatified by the Beltway elites, and George W. Bush and John McCain celebrated for their denunciations of Trumpism.

Yet no two people are more responsible for the blunders of the post-Cold War era than McCain and Bush.

About which of half a dozen wars were they right?

Yesterday’s New York Times recognized Trump’s triumph:

“Despite the fervor of President Trump’s Republican opponents, the president’s brand of hard-edged nationalism — with its gut-level cultural appeals and hard lines on trade and immigration — is taking root within his adopted party.”

Moreover, a new question arises:

Can the GOP establishment believe that if Trump falls, or they bring him down, they will inherit the estate and be welcomed home like the Prodigal Son? Do they believe their old agenda of open borders, amnesty, free trade globalism and democracy-crusading can become America’s agenda again?

Trumpism is not a detour, after which we can all get back on the interstate to the New World Order.

For though unpleasant, it is not unfair to say that if there was one desire common to Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump voters, it was be rid of the regime resting on top of all of us.

Should Trump fall, and a restored establishment attempt to reimpose the old policies, there will be a truly uncivil war in this country.

After the Trumpian revolt, there is no going back. As that most American of writers, Thomas Wolfe, put it, “You can’t go home again.”

Traditionalists have been told that for years. Now it’s the turn of the GOP establishment to learn the truth as well.

Goldwater lost badly, but the establishment that abandoned him never had its patrimony restored. It was the leaders they abhorred, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, to whom the future belonged.

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Is Trump the Heir to Reagan?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Three decades ago, as communications director in the White House, I set up an interview for Bill Rusher of National Review.

Among his first questions to President Reagan was to ask him to assess the political importance of Barry Goldwater. Said Reagan, “I guess you could call him the John the Baptist of our movement.”

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

What brings the moment back is Laura Ingraham’s new book: “Billionaire at the Barricades: The Populist Revolution from Reagan to Trump.” Thesis: Donald Trump is a conservative populist and direct descendant and rightful heir to Ronald Reagan.

To never-Trumpers this is pure blasphemy. Yet the similarities are there.

Both men were outsiders, and neither a career politician. Raised Democratic, Reagan had been a Hollywood actor, union leader and voice of GE, before running for governor of California.

Trump is out of Queens, a builder-businessman in a Democratic city whose Republican credentials were suspect at best when he rode down that elevator at Trump Tower. Both took on the Republican establishment of their day, and humiliated it.

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Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first.

Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot.

He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can’t control its borders isn’t really a country any more.

Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of “peace through strength.” And, like Ike, both built up the military.

Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day — the Soviet Union in Reagan’s day, Russia and China in Trump’s time.

And both were regarded in this capital city with a cosmopolitan condescension bordering on contempt. “An amiable dunce” said a Great Society Democrat of Reagan.

The awesome victories Reagan rolled up, a 44-state landslide in 1980 and a 49-state landslide in 1984, induced some second thoughts among Beltway elites about whether they truly spoke for America. Trump’s sweep of the primaries and startling triumph in the Electoral College caused the same consternation.

However, as the Great Depression, New Deal and World War II represented a continental divide in history between what came before and what came after, so, too, did the end of the Cold War and the Reagan era.

As Ingraham writes, Trumpism is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and “America First,” as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s.

Which bring us to the present, with our billionaire president, indeed, at the barricades.

The differences between Trump in his first year and Reagan in 1981 are stark. Reagan had won a landslide. The attempt on his life in April and the grace with which he conducted himself had earned him a place in the hearts of his countrymen. He not only showed spine in giving the air traffic controllers 48 hours to get back to work, and then discharging them when they defied him, he enacted the largest tax cut in U.S. history with the aid of boll weevil Democrats in the House.

Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill.

Moreover, we seem close to war with North Korea that would be no cakewalk. And the president appears determined to tear up the Obama nuclear deal with Iran that his own national security team believes is in the national interest.

Reagan was, as Trump claimed to be, an anti-interventionist. Reagan had no wish to be a war president. His dream was to rid the world of nuclear weapons. This does not sound like Trump in October 2017.

Steve Bannon may see the 25th Amendment, where a Cabinet majority may depose a president, as the great threat to Trump.

But it is far more likely that a major war would do for the Trump presidency and his place in history what it did for Presidents Wilson, Truman, LBJ and George W. Bush.

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Trump Dumps the Do-Nothing Congress

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Donald Trump is president today because he was seen as a doer not a talker. Among the most common compliments paid him in 2016 was, “At least he gets things done!”

And it was exasperation with a dithering GOP Congress, which had failed to enact his or its own agenda, that caused Trump to pull the job of raising the debt ceiling away from Republican contractors Ryan & McConnell, and give it to Pelosi & Schumer.

Hard to fault Trump. Over seven months, Congress showed itself incapable of repealing Obamacare, though the GOP promised this as its first priority in three successive elections.

Returning to D.C. after five weeks vacation, with zero legislation enacted, Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were facing a deadline to raise the debt ceiling and fund the government.

Failure to do so would crash the markets, imperil the U.S. bond rating, and make America look like a deadbeat republic.

Families and businesses do this annually. Yet, every year, it seems, Congress goes up to the precipice of national default before authorizing the borrowing to pay the bills Congress itself has run up.

To be sure, Trump only kicked this year’s debt crisis to mid-December.

Before year’s end, he and Congress will also have to deal with an immigration crisis brought on by his cancellation of the Obama administration’s amnesty for the “Dreamers” now vulnerable to deportation.

He will have to get Congress to fund his Wall, enact tax reform and finance the repair and renewal of our infrastructure, or have his first year declared a failure.

We are likely looking at a Congressional pileup, pre-Christmas, from which Trump will have to call on Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, again, to extricate him and his party.

The question that now arises: Has the president concluded that working with the GOP majorities alone cannot get him where he needs to go to make his a successful presidency?

Having cut a deal with Democrats for help with the debt ceiling, will Trump seek a deal with Democrats on amnesty for the “Dreamers,” in return for funding for border security? Trump seemed to be signaling receptivity to the idea this week.

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Will he give up on free-trade Republicans to work with Democrats to protect U.S. jobs and businesses from predator traders like China?

Will he cut a deal with Hill Democrats on which infrastructure projects should be funded first? Will he seek out compromise with Democrats on whose taxes should be cut and whose retained?

We could be looking at a seismic shift in national politics, with Trump looking to centrist and bipartisan coalitions to achieve as much of his agenda as he can. He could collaborate with Federalist Society Republicans on justices and with economic-nationalist Democrats on tariffs.

But the Congressional gridlock that exhausted the president’s patience may prove more serious than a passing phase. The Congress of the United States, whose powers were delineated in the late 18th century, may simply not be an institution suited to the 21st.

A century ago, Congress ceded to the Federal Reserve its right “to coin money (and) regulate the value thereof.” It has yielded to the third branch, the Supreme Court, the power to invent new rights, as in Roe v. Wade. Its power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations” has been assumed by an executive branch that negotiates the trade treaties, leaving Congress to say yea or nay.

Congress alone has the power to declare war. But recent wars have been launched by presidents over Congressional objection, some without consultation. We are close to a second major war in Korea, the first of which, begun in 1950, was never declared by the Congress, but declared by Harry Truman to be a “police action.”

In the age of the internet and cable TV, the White House is seen as a locus of decision and action, while Capitol Hill takes months to move. Watching Congress, the word torpor invariably comes to mind, which one Webster’s Dictionary defines as “a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility.”

Result: In a recent survey, 72 percent of Americans expressed high confidence in the military; 12 percent said the same of Congress.

The members of Congress the TV cameras reward with air time are most often mavericks like John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Jeff Flake, who will defy a president the media largely detest.

At the onset of the post-Cold War era, some contended that democracy was the inevitable future of mankind. But autocracy is holding its own. Russia, China, India, Turkey, Egypt come to mind.

If democracy, as Freedom House contends, is in global retreat, one reason may be that, in our new age, legislatures, split into hostile blocs checkmating one another, cannot act with the dispatch impatient peoples now demand of their rulers.

In the days of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, Congress was a rival to even strong presidents. Those days are long gone.

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Can the GOP’s Shotgun Marriage Be Saved?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Wednesday morning, Nov. 9, 2016, Republicans awoke to learn they had won the lottery. Donald Trump had won the presidency by carrying Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. All three states had gone Democratic in the last six presidential elections.

The GOP had won both houses of Congress. Party control of governorships and state legislatures rivaled the halcyon years of the 1920s.

But not everyone was jubilant. Neocons and Never-Trumpers were appalled, and as morose as they had been since the primaries produced a populist slaughter of what GOP elites had boasted was the finest class of presidential candidates in memory.

And there was this sobering fact: Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote. Her margin would rise to near three million, making this the sixth in seven presidential elections that the GOP lost the popular vote. Trump had cracked the Democrats’ “blue wall,” but a shift of 70,000 votes would have meant a third straight GOP defeat.

Seven months into the Trump presidency, the promise of a new Republican era has receded. It is not because Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have proven to be such formidable adversaries, but because the GOP coalition has gone to battle stations — against itself.

Trump has taken to disparaging Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to pass health care reform, though the decisive vote to kill the bill came from John McCain, who, for his own motives and to media cheers, torpedoed McConnell’s effort and humiliated his party

And as Allan Ryskind writes in The Washington Times, McConnell is responsible for Neil Gorsuch being on the Supreme Court. Had Mitch not kept his troops in line to block a Senate vote on President Obama’s election-year nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, there would have been no vacancy for Trump to fill with Gorsuch.

McConnell is also indispensable to the Trump-GOP effort to repopulate federal appellate courts with disciples of Antonin Scalia.

What purpose is served by the coach trashing his quarterback — in midseason?

Undeniably, Congress, which the voters empowered to repeal Obamacare, reduce tax rates and rebuild America’s infrastructure, has thus far failed. And if Congress fails to produce on tax reform, the GOP will have some serious explaining to do in 2018.

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As for Trump, while public approval of his performance is at record lows for a president in his first year, he has fulfilled some major commitments and has had some major achievements.

He put Gorsuch on the court. He pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accord. He persuaded NATO allies to put up more for defense. He approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.

Border security is markedly better. The economic news has been excellent: Record run-ups in the stock market, near full employment, growth approaching the 3 percent he promised. The coal industry has been liberated, and the Trump folks are renegotiating NAFTA.

Yet the divisions over policy and the persona of the president are widening. Trump is disliked and disrespected by many in his own party on Capitol Hill, and much of the Republican media proudly despise him.

And that form of bribery so familiar to D.C. — trashing one’s president at the coaxing of the press, in return for plaudits to one’s “courage” and “independence” — is openly practiced.

More critically, there are disputes over policy that again seem irreconcilable.

Free-trade Republicans remain irredeemably hostile to economic nationalism, though countries like China continue to eat our lunch. In July, the U.S. trade deficit in goods was $65 billion, an annual rate of more than $780 billion.

Interventionists continue to push for confrontation with Russia in the Baltic States and Ukraine, for more U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, for scrapping the nuclear deal with Iran.

On social issues, the GOP seems split, with many willing to soft-peddle opposition to same-sex marriage and abortion and wait on a Supreme Court that ignited the culture wars to reverse course with new Trump appointees.

Even Cabinet members and Trump aides have let the media know they sharply dissent from Trump’s stand in the Charlottesville brawl. And the coming clash over statues of Confederate soldiers and statesmen is likely to split Northern and Southern Republicans.

The white working class that provided Trump’s his margins in the Middle West wonders why affirmative action, reverse discrimination at their expense, has not been abolished.

As for Speaker Paul Ryan and others committed to entitlement reform — paring back Social Security and Medicare benefits, while raising the contributions of the well-to-do to ensure the long-term solvency of the programs — they have not been heard from lately.

What seems apparent is that the historic opportunity the party had in January, to forge a coalition of conservatives and populists who might find common ground on immigration, trade, border security, spending, culture and foreign policy, is slipping away.

And the battle for the soul and future of the GOP, thought to have been suspended until 2020, is on once again.

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The Passing of the Pelosi Era

The Passing of the Pelosi Era

By Patrick J. Buchanan

In the first round of the special election for the House seat in Georgia’s Sixth District, 30-year-old Jon Ossoff swept 48 percent. He more than doubled the vote of his closest GOP rival, Karen Handel.

A Peach State pickup for the Democrats and a huge humiliation for President Trump seemed at hand.

But in Tuesday’s final round, Ossoff, after the most costly House race in history, got 48 percent again, and lost. If Democratic donors are grabbing pitchforks, who can blame them?

And what was Karen Handel’s cutting issue?

Ossoff lived two miles outside the district and represented the values of the Democratic minority leader, whom he would vote to make the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.

The Pelosi factor has been a drag on Democrats in all four of the special elections the party has lost since Trump’s November triumph.

Prediction: Democrats will not go into the 2018 Congressional elections with San Fran Nan as the party’s face and future. No way. As President Kennedy said, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.”

Post-Trump, it is hard to see Republicans returning to NAFTA-GATT free-trade globalism, open borders, mass immigration or Bushite crusades for democracy. A cold realism about America’s limited power and potential to change the world has settled in.

And just as Trump put Bush-Romney Republicanism into the dumpster in the 2016 primaries, Hillary Clinton’s defeat, followed by losses in four straight special elections, portend a passing of the guard in the Democratic Party.

So where is the party going?

Clearly, the energy and fire are on the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren left. Moreover, the crudity of party chair Tom Perez’s attacks on Trump and the GOP, being echoed now by Democratic members of Congress, suggest that the new stridency to rally the angry left is gaining converts.

Trump’s rough rhetoric, which brought out the alienated working class in the ten of thousands to his rallies, is being emulated by “progressives” — imitation being the sincerest form of flattery.

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Nor is this unusual. After narrow presidential defeats, major parties have often taken a hard turn back toward their base.

After Richard Nixon lost narrowly to JFK in 1960, the Republican right blamed his “me-too” campaign, rose up and nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964. A choice, not an echo.

After Hubert Humphrey lost narrowly to Nixon in 1968, the Democratic Party took a sharp turn to the left in 1972 and nominated George McGovern.

A 21st-century variant of McGovernism seems be in the cards for Democrats today. The salient positions of the party have less to do with bread-and-butter issues than identity politics, issues of race, gender, morality, culture, ethnicity and class.

Same-sex marriage, abortion rights, sanctuary cities, Black Lives Matter, racist cops, La Raza, bathroom rights, tearing down Confederate statues, renaming streets, buildings and bridges to remove any association with slave-owners or segregationists, putting sacred tribal lands ahead of pipelines, and erasing the name of the Washington Redskins.

The Democrats’ economic agenda?

Free tuition for college kids, forgiveness of student loan debt, sticking it to Wall Street and the 1 percent, and bailing out Puerto Rico.

And impeachment — though a yearlong FBI investigation has failed to find any Trump-Kremlin collusion to dethrone Debbie Wasserman Schultz or expose the debate-question shenanigans of Donna Brazile.

And where are the Democratic successes since Obamacare?

The cities where crime is surging, Baltimore and Chicago, have been run for decades by Democrats. The worst-run state in the nation, Illinois, has long been dominated by Democratic legislators.

The crisis of the old order is apparent as well across the pond.

Jeremy Corbyn, a Bernie Sanders radical socialist, led his party to major gains in the recent parliamentary elections, as Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May saw her majority wiped out and faces the same seditionist grumbling as Nancy Pelosi.

Western elites are celebrating the victory of Emmanuel Macron, the “youngest French President since Napoleon,” who defeated Marine Le Pen by a ratio of almost 2-to-1 and whose new party, En Marche! (In Motion!), captured the Assembly. But the celebrating seems premature.

For the first time in the history of De Gaulle’s Fifth Republic, neither the center-left Socialists nor center-right Republicans, the parties that have ruled France for 60 years, made it into the finals in a presidential election.

And while the first round of that election saw the ruling Socialist Party’s candidate run fifth, with 6 percent, the votes of the rightist Le Pen and far left-Communist Jean-Luc Melenchon together topped 40 percent. It is the flanks of European politics that seem still to be hard and growing, and the center that seems shaky and imperiled.

Moreover, Macron faces daunting problems. Unemployment is nearly 10 percent, with youth unemployment twice that. Terrorist attacks from within Muslim communities continue to rise, as do the number of boats of Third Worlders migrating from across the Med.

Can anyone believe that, as these trends continue, Europeans will continue to back centrist policies and moderate politicians to deal with them?

Dream on. That is not the history of Europe.

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VIDEO: Pat Buchanan on President Trump and the Latest Controversies

EWTN – Raymond Arroyo
Patrick J. Buchanan, political commentator and bestselling author joins us to give us his take on the Trump Administration and the ongoing controversies it is facing in the wake of the firing of FBI director James Comey, and his latest book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Before Bannon, There Was Buchanan

By Eleanor Clift – The Daily Beast

The old keeper of the GOP’s American First flame considers the man carrying that torch today.

A conservative firebrand, Pat Buchanan worked in the Nixon and Reagan White Houses, filling a role much like the one that Steve Bannon is in today.

They’re the true believers, the keepers of the flame. Two pugilistic Irish Catholics with radical and often objectionable ideas that drive establishment Republicans up the wall.

“I never met the fellow,” Buchanan said when I floated the idea of comparing him to Bannon, the populist avatar in the Trump White House. “We come from different backgrounds and experiences,” he said, perhaps alluding to Bannon’s stint in Hollywood and his messy personal life. But then Buchanan relented, giving the go-ahead to “analogizing his situation to mine in the early seventies, sure.”

Buchanan understood the changing pulse of America, what he called “the silent majority,” when he helped Richard Nixon rebuild his political career after a devastating loss to John F. Kennedy. Once inside the White House, as Nixon’s speechwriter and top advisor, Buchanan had a direct line to the president.

“What do they want now, Buchanan?” Nixon would say when faced with complaints from conservatives. “He (Nixon) said there’s a rule in politics: You give the nuts 20 percent of what they want. I left the room thinking I was one of the 20 percent,” Buchanan says with a laugh.

Nixon relied on Buchanan’s rhetorical firepower to light up the base just as President Trump keeps Bannon close by in the West Wing to keep the Goldman Sachs alumnae at bay and to keep alive the anti-globalization economic nationalism that got him elected.

After a period of media speculation last month that Bannon was on the way out, a casualty of the New York globalists in the West Wing, Bannon has had his resurgence and is evidently back in the good graces of his mercurial boss.

Trump’s 100-day rally in Harrisburg, Penn. was vintage Bannon, hammering hard on the Washington elites and doubling down on jobs and trade and his promise to build a wall on the Mexican border. “They’re doing the right thing keeping Bannon there because he understands the full range of issues, and it’s not just populism—it’s trade and immigration and staying out of foreign wars,” Buchanan says.

Buchanan’s big concern now? “Don’t get us into another war. That’s my real apprehension,” he told the Daily Beast. “A major war would consume the Trump administration, just as it did (George W.) Bush.”

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Nixon was a progressive Republican who looked to Buchanan to navigate the new political reality of Goldwater conservatism taking over the GOP, and the country moving right, with segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace getting up to 21 percent in the polls. Anti-war protesters battled the police and “America love it or leave it” workers in hard hats, exposing a cultural divide in urban America that Buchanan turned into political gold much the way Donald Trump found his sweet spot in blue-collar rural America.

Bringing working class Northern Catholics together with Southern Protestants on a racially charged law-and-order, message carried Nixon to a 49-state reelection victory in 1972 with over 60 percent of the vote. Hard to believe today, but “Tricky Dick” was one of our most popular presidents.

Buchanan dealt with Nixon principally thru memos, all of which he has squirreled away in the basement of his McLean, Virginia home, and which form the basis of his new book, “Nixon’s White House Wars,” in which he repeats his oft-stated belief that, “The Watergate break-in was Mickey Mouse. If he (Nixon) had handled it correctly, he would have rolled right through it.”

There was illegal activity, though, and Nixon didn’t tell the truth about what he knew and, of course, he taped himself. The week before Alexander Butterfield, a White House aide, testified about the existence of the taping system, “I sent him (Nixon) a memo telling him to burn the tapes. Burn them and fire (Special Prosecutor) Archibald Cox before he gets too big. There would have been a firestorm, but it would have been the last firestorm.” Nixon ran Buchanan’s advice by White House chief of staff Al Haig, who told him not to do it. It would have been obstruction of justice.

Today, Bannon is up against what Buchanan calls “Wall Street Journal conservatives. They’re not upset by trade and factories moving out of the country, and those are the things that really catch Middle America by the gut.” The Goldman Sachs alums, Jared Kushner, the son-in-law, “and Ivanka doesn’t look like an economic nationalist,” he adds with a laugh. Buchanan likes Wilbur Ross at Commerce’s hard line on trade, the issue he says elected Trump.

Buchanan was named White House Communications Director after Reagan’s landslide victory in 1984. “Reagan was one of us,” he says, a movement conservative, so the battles were mainly with a State Department headed by George Schultz, a traditionalist and an internationalist. “They were very against me, but I had the President with me,” he recalls.

The only time Reagan got upset with the media is if Human Events or the National Review criticized him, says Buchanan. “He always thought of himself as the great leader of the movement. It was real and natural.”

On Buchanan’s watch, Reagan made the cover of Fortune as the ideal chief executive, a master delegator. Soon after, the Iran-Contra scandal broke, undermining the magazine’s thesis and turning it into a punch line. “I never felt he was a great corporate executive, he was more of an inspirational leader—you get the guy below him to run things,” says Buchanan.

Buchanan left four months into the scandal as a new team headed by former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker took over in the White House. The political needs of a president evolve over time, but for now, Trump needs what Bannon brings, which is a visceral feel for the new politics popping all over the world. That’s what sold voters on Trump, and they’re still hanging onto his words.

These are the same America First issues Buchanan ran on in the nineties—border wall, immigration, and economic nationalism. “That’s what carried him through those industrial states, and if he changes, the old blue wall will be back,” says Buchanan. In the end, Trump has to deliver with factories coming back, jobs coming back, and new jobs in manufacturing—a re-industrialization of America, easy rhetorically and almost certain to prove impossible in reality.

Read more at The Daily Beast…