The Republicans — After Dunkirk

Cash Advance

By Patrick J. Buchanan

At the Potsdam conference with Harry Truman and Josef Stalin, Winston Churchill learned that the voters of the nation he had led for five years through World War II had just voted to throw him out of office.

“It may well be a blessing in disguise,” said his wife Clementine.

“At the moment, it seems quite effectively disguised,” replied Churchill.

Republicans must feel that way today. For they have survived their own Dunkirk. They may have left their helmets, canteens and rifles behind, but they did finally get off the beach.

That Republicans suffered a rout, as the British did with the fall of France and evacuation at Dunkirk in 1940, is undeniable.

The party that blocked tax increases since George H.W. Bush agreed to raise Ronald Reagan’s top rate of 28 percent to 35 percent, thus repudiating his “no-new-taxes” pledge, just signed on to one of the largest tax increases in history.

Payroll taxes on working Americans will rise by a third, from 4.2 percent of wages and salaries to 6.2 percent. For couples earning $450,000, the tax rate rises from 15 to 20 percent on dividends and capital gains, and from 35 to 39.6 percent on ordinary income. The death tax will rise from 35 to 40 percent on estates over $5 million.

Obamacare will push those rates up further. And now we learn the bill was stuffed with tax breaks for windmills, NASCAR owners and Hollywood.

Why did Republicans go along?

Had they not, taxes would have risen for everyone. And Obama would have postured as the tax-cutting savior of the middle class by proposing to restore the Bush tax cuts for every couple earning less than $250,000.

What does this bill do to spur growth and create jobs? Nothing.

Even Lord Keynes would have wondered what these Americans were doing raising taxes on a recovering economy.

The GOP defense: We took this rotten deal to prevent a worse one.

And what, if any, is the “blessing in disguise”?

Obama has no more leverage. The Bush tax cuts for the 98 percent are now permanent. To block further tax hikes, all the House need do, from now to 2017, is stand united and just say no.

Obama is thus almost certainly staring at four more trillion-dollar deficits to match the last four, and he has no leverage to force Republicans to provide him with new revenue.

The president threatens that before he signs on to new spending cuts, Republicans will have to “make the rich pay their fair share.”

The GOP response should be: We will work with you on spending cuts, but there will be no more tax increases. If higher taxes are a condition you impose for spending cuts, there will be no spending cuts.

But, Mr. President, you will be in the driver’s seat when we go over the cliff into bankruptcy. You will be your party’s Herbert Hoover.

John Boehner and the Republicans got their clocks cleaned in these negotiations because they believed the president was dealing in good faith.

But the ideology and the interests of the Democratic Party dictate not only preserving federal programs, but expanding the numbers of beneficiaries, already near 100 million.

For the larger the number of beneficiaries, the larger the bloc of voters for the party of government and the greater the opposition to any who would dare to cut government.

The question for Republicans is what they do now, besides say no to new taxes.

Most Democrats are not going to agree to freeze or cut Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, federal aid to education, Head Start, Pell Grants, housing subsidies, welfare, earned income tax credits or unemployment checks. These are the party’s pride and joy, the reason the Democratic Party exists.

As we have seen since 2009, Democrats will readily accept trillion-dollar deficits rather than do even minor surgery on their cherished programs.

As for the Republicans, is it wise to propose cuts in Social Security and Medicare, upon which Republican seniors depend, when they know for certain Democrats will reject those cuts and take credit for doing so?

Will Republicans recommend cuts in defense and foreign aid and a rollback of the U.S. military presence in Europe, the Far East and Persian Gulf? Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham already want to know why we are not intervening in Syria. Soon, some Republicans will be beating the drums for strikes on Iran.

Republicans Chris Christie and Peter King already want to know why Congress has not forked over $60 billion to repair the damage done to New Jersey and New York by Hurricane Sandy.

With the GOP splintering, with Democrats running the Senate and White House, conservatives must realize: They cannot make policy.

Let the Democrats take the lead, drive the car, propose the tax hikes, refuse to make the spending cuts and answer for where we are in 2016, because, right now, it looks as though we are headed for an even bigger cliff.

For the next two years, the best offense may be a good defense.

Is the GOP Headed for the Boneyard?

Cemetary Gate

By Patrick J. Buchanan

After its second defeat at the hands of Barack Obama, under whom unemployment has never been lower than the day George W. Bush left office, the Republican Party has at last awakened to its existential crisis.

Eighteen states have voted Democratic in six straight elections. Among the six are four of our most populous: New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California. And Obama has now won two of the three remaining mega-states, Ohio and Florida, twice.

Only Texas remains secure—for now.

At the presidential level, the Republican Party is at death’s door.

Yet one already sees the same physicians writing prescriptions for the same drugs that have been killing the GOP since W’s dad got the smallest share of the vote by a Republican candidate since William Howard Taft in 1912.

In ascertaining the cause of the GOP‘s critical condition, let us use Occam’s razor—the principle that the simplest explanation is often the right one.

Would the GOP wipeout in those heavily Catholic, ethnic, socially conservative, blue-collar bastions of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Illinois, which Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan swept, have anything to do with the fact that the United States since 2000 has lost 6 million manufacturing jobs and 55,000 factories?

Where did all those jobs and factories go? We know where.

They were outsourced. And in the deindustrialization of America, the Republican Party has been a culpable co-conspirator.

Unlike family patriarch Sen. Prescott Bush, who voted with Barry Goldwater and Strom Thurmond against JFK’s free-trade deal, Bush I and II pumped for NAFTA, GATT, the WTO and opening America’s borders to all goods made by our new friends in the People’s Republic of China.

Swiftly, U.S. multinationals shut factories here, laid off workers, outsourced production to Asia and China, and brought their finished goods back, tax-free, to sell in the U.S.A.

Profits soared, as did the salaries of the outsourcing executives.

And their former workers? They headed for the service sector, along with their wives, to keep up on the mortgage payment, keep the kids in Catholic school and pay for the health insurance the family had lost.

Tuesday, these ex-Reagan Democrats came out to vote against some guy from Bain Capital they had been told in ads all summer was a big-time outsourcer who wrote in 2008, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt!”

Yes, the simplest explanation is often the right one.

Republicans are also falling all over one another to express a love of Hispanics, after Mitt won only 27 percent of a Hispanic vote that is now 10 percent of the national vote.

We face demographic disaster, they are wailing. We must win a larger share of the Hispanic vote or we are doomed.

And what is the proposed solution to the GOP‘s Hispanic problem, coming even from those supposedly on the realistic right?

Amnesty for the illegals! Stop talking about a border fence and self-deportation. Drop the employer sanctions. Make the GOP a welcoming party.

And what might be problematic about following this advice?

First, it will enrage populist conservatives who supported the GOP because they believed the party’s pledges to oppose amnesty, secure the border and stop illegals from taking jobs from Americans.

And in return for double-crossing these folks and losing their votes, what would be gained by amnesty for, say, 10 million illegal aliens?

Assume in a decade all 10 million became citizens and voted like the Hispanics, black folks and Asians already here. The best the GOP could expect—the Bush share in 2004—would be 40 percent, or 4 million of those votes.

But if Tuesday’s percentages held, Democrats would get not just 6 million, but 7 million new votes to the GOP‘s less than 3 million.

Thus, if we assume the percentages of the last three elections hold, the Democratic Party would eventually gain from an amnesty a net of between 2 and 4 million new voters.

Easy to understand why Democrats are for this. But why would a Republican Party that is not suicidally inclined favor it?

Still, the GOP crisis is not so much illegal as legal immigration. Forty million legal immigrants have arrived in recent decades. Some 85 percent come from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. Most arrived lacking the academic, language and labor skills to compete for high-paying jobs.

What does government do for them?

Subsidizes their housing and provides free education for their kids from Head Start through K-12, plus food stamps and school lunches, Pell Grants and student loans for college, Medicaid if they are sick, earned income tax credits if they work and 99 weeks of unemployment checks if they lose their job.

These are people who depend upon government.

Why would they vote for a party that is going to cut taxes they do not pay, but take away government benefits they do receive?

Again it needs be said. When the country looks like California demographically, it will look like California politically. Republicans are not whistling past the graveyard. They are right at the entrance.

Romney for President

Mitt Romney

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people — a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.”

So wrote John Jay in Federalist No. 2, wherein he describes Americans as a “band of brethren united to each other by the strongest ties.”

That “band of brethren united” no longer exists.

No longer are we “descended from the same ancestors.”

Indeed, as we are daily instructed, it is our “diversity” — our citizens can trace their ancestors to every member state of the United Nations — that “is our strength.” And this diversity makes us a stronger, better country than the America of Eisenhower and JFK.

No longer do we speak the same language. To tens of millions, Spanish is their language. Millions more do not use English in their homes. Nor are their children taught in English in the schools.

As for “professing the same religion,” the Christianity of Jay and the Founding Fathers has been purged from all public institutions. One in 5 Americans profess no religious faith. The mainline Protestant churches — the Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran and Presbyterian — have been losing congregants for a half-century. Secularism is the religion of the elites. It alone is promulgated in public schools.

Are we attached to “the same principles of government”?

Half the nation believes it is the duty of government to feed, house, educate and medicate the population and endlessly extract from the well-to-do whatever is required to make everybody more equal.

Egalitarianism has triumphed over freedom. Hierarchy, the natural concomitant of freedom, is seen as undemocratic.

Are we similar “in our manners and customs”? Are we agreed upon what is good or even tolerable in music, literature, art?

Do we all seek to live by the same moral code? Abortion, a felony in the 1950s, is now a constitutional right. Homosexual marriage, an absurdity not long ago, is the civil rights cause du jour.

Dissent from the intolerant new orthodoxy and you are a bigot, a hater, a homophobe, an enemy of women’s rights.

Recent wars — Vietnam, Iraq — have seen us not “fighting side by side” but fighting side against side.

Racially, morally, politically, culturally, socially, the America of Jay and the Federalist Papers is ancient history. Less and less do we have in common. And to listen to cable TV is to realize that Americans do not even like one another. If America did not exist as a nation, would these 50 disparate states surrender their sovereignty and independence to enter such a union as the United States of 2012?

Nor are we unique in sensing that we are no longer one. Scotland, Catalonia and Flanders maneuver to break free of the nations that contain their peoples. All over the world, peoples are disaggregating along the lines of creed, culture, tribe and faith.

What has this to do with the election of 2012? Everything.

For if America is to endure as a nation, her peoples are going to need the freedom to live differently and the space to live apart, according to their irreconcilable beliefs. Yet should Barack Obama win, the centralization of power and control will continue beyond the point of no return.

His replacement of any retiring Supreme Court justice with another judicial activist — a Sonia Sotomayor, an Elena Kagan — would negate a half-century of conservative labors and mean that abortion on demand — like slavery, a moral abomination to scores of millions — is forever law in all 50 states.

President Obama speaks now of a budget deal in which Democrats agree to $2.50 in spending cuts if the Republicans agree to $1 in tax increases. But given the character of his party — for whom Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, food stamps, Head Start, earned income tax credits and Pell Grants are holy icons — any deal Obama cuts with Republicans in return for higher taxes will be like the deal Ronald Reagan eternally regretted.

The tax hikes become permanent; the budget cuts are never made.

In the first debate, Mitt Romney said that in crafting a budget that consumes a fourth of the economy, he would ask one question: “Is the program so critical that it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it?”

If a President Romney held to that rule, it would spell an end to any new wars of choice and all foreign aid and grants to global redistributionsts — such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It would entail a review of all U.S. alliances dating back to the Cold War, which have U.S. troops on every continent and in a hundred countries.

Obama offers more of the stalemate America has gone through for the past two years.

Romney alone offers a possibility of hope and change.

The ‘Large Purpose’ of Romney-Ryan

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“The success of a party means little except when the nation is using that party for a large and definite purpose,” said Woodrow Wilson in his first inaugural, 100 years ago.

The Republican Party of Richard Nixon was called to power in 1968 to bring an honorable end to the war in Vietnam and restore law and order to campuses and cities convulsed by crime, riots and racial violence. Nixon appeared to have succeeded and was rewarded with a 49-state landslide.

The Republican Party of Ronald Reagan was called to power in 1980 to restore America’s prosperity and military might and halt her stumbling retreat in the Cold War. He succeeded and was rewarded with a 49-state landslide in 1984.

Should Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan prevail, what would be the “large and definite purpose” for which they and their party had been called to power? Answer: Put America’s fiscal house in order and restore the prosperity the nation knew before the Great Recession.

Yet the only path consistent with party principle to achieve this goal is by imposing real pain upon an electorate that is less likely to reward Romney-Ryan with a 49-state landslide in 2016 than punish their party with a massacre of Republicans in 2014.

Recall: In 1982, before the Reagan tax cuts began their healing work, Fed Chairman Paul Volcker‘s deep-root-canal economics — double-digit interest rates to scour inflation out of the economy — caused a loss of 26 Republican House seats. In early 1983, Reagan was widely viewed as a one-term president.

Should Romney and Ryan prevail in November, they would face a situation as dire as was Reagan’s — with fewer policy options.

Consider the 20 percent income tax cuts Romney proposes. With present tax rates generating revenue only 15 to 16 percent of gross domestic product, a cut that size would explode a deficit that is already in excess of $1 trillion for the fourth straight year.

Moreover, the principal beneficiaries of those tax cuts would be Americans in the 35 percent bracket, who would see their top rate fall to 28 percent. Someone earning $10 million a year in salary income could get a tax cut of around $700,000 — a nice piece of change.

Romney suggests he will pay for tax cuts by cutting deductions. But the three largest deductions for most taxpayers are mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and charitable contributions. And if the GOP is reluctant even to discuss these cuts today, is it likely to enact them?

The Romney-Ryan supply-side tax cuts had better produce a boom, and fast, because, given the makeup of the media, they will be portrayed as a plutocrats’ raid on the U.S. Treasury.

Moreover, while tax cuts produce only ideological angst on the left, any major budget cuts must inevitably cause real pain.

For consider the major categories of federal spending.

The largest domestic programs are Medicare and Social Security. Pare back these middle-class entitlements, and a President Romney will be at war with AARP, tens of millions of seniors and an army of baby boomers now reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 a day.

If Romney is going to bring the budget even close to balance, he has to end U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan and stay out of any new wars in Syria or Iran. But a policy of no war where no vital U.S. vital interest is imperiled would be seen as a moral abdication by the democracy crusaders and a betrayal by the neoconservatives.

As for defense, Romney has taken that off the table and would increase it to 4 percent of GDP.

What about education? The major items here are Head Start, Bush II’s No Child Left Behind, Pell grants and student loans. Has any president since Sputnik jolted America awake ever cut back on education?

What about infrastructure? Since the Interstate Highway Act of President Eisenhower, when has federal spending for highways, roads, bridges, airports, ports and mass transit ever been cut?

Among the major poverty programs are rent supplements, food stamps, the Earned Income Tax Credit, welfare and Medicaid. Would a Romney administration that is slashing tax rates for the top 20 percent dare to cut programs that benefit the working poor?

Only once in the lifetime of Americans now living did the U.S. government slash spending. Right after World War II, the feds’ share of the U.S. economy was cut by two-thirds, and all those dollars put away in wartime savings came flooding out to buy the homes, cars, TVs, freezers, and washers and dryers suddenly available.

What would a Romney-Ryan administration do once in office?

A guess: freeze federal spending rather than slash it. Retain the Bush tax cuts, and pass the new Romney rates. Take a chainsaw to regulations choking free enterprise. Tighten eligibility for federal programs. Cut federal payrolls through attrition.

And pray it all works, as it did for the Gipper not so long ago.

But however it turns out, those 49-state landslides are history.