Is This Worse Than ’68?

Is This Worse Than '68?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Saturday, in Pittsburgh, a Sabbath celebration at the Tree of Life synagogue became the site of the largest mass murder of Jews in U.S. history. Eleven worshippers were killed by a racist gunman.

Friday, we learned the identity of the crazed criminal who mailed pipe bombs to a dozen leaders of the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.

From restaurants to Capitol corridors, this campaign season we have seen ugly face-offs between leftist radicals and Republican senators.
Continue reading “Is This Worse Than ’68?”

No Party for Old White Men

No Party for Old White Men

By Patrick J. Buchanan

For Nancy Pelosi, 78, Steny Hoyer, 79, and Joe Biden, 75, the primary results from New York’s 14th congressional district are a fire bell in the night.

All may be swept away in the coming revolution. That is the message of the crushing defeat of 10-term incumbent Joe Crowley, who had aspired to succeed Pelosi and become speaker of the House.

The No. 4 House Democrat, Crowley, 56, had not faced primary opposition since 2004. He outspent his opponent, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was tending bar a year ago, by 10 to one.

The son of an Irish immigrant, Crowley was leader of the Queens Democratic Club. He had the unions’ support. So confident was he that he skipped a debate and sent a Latina politician to stand in for him.

First comes Hubris, the god of arrogance. Then comes Nemesis, the goddess of retribution.

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Tossing Crowley’s credentials back in his face, Ocasio-Cortez ran as a Latina, a person of color, a millennial and militant socialist who lived in her district, and painted Crowley as a white male with lots of PAC money who had moved to D.C. and sent his kids to school in Virginia.

“The Democratic Party takes working-class communities for granted; they take people of color for granted,” railed Ocasio-Cortez. The party assumes “that we’re going to turn out no matter how bland or half-stepping (their) proposals are.”

“Bland or half-stepping” are not words her agenda calls to mind.

A Democratic Socialist, endorsed by MoveOn, Black Lives Matter and People for Bernie, Ocasio-Cortez favors Medicare for all, a $15 minimum wage, 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, free tuition at public colleges, federal jobs for all who want them, and abolishing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that runs “black sites” on the Mexican border where “human rights abuses are happening.”

When tear gas was used in Puerto Rico, whence her family came, Ocasio-Cortez laid it at Crowley’s feet: “You are responsible for this.”

Crowley tried gamely to keep up, declaring that ICE, for which thousands of Americans work to protect our borders, is a “fascist” organization, presumably something like Ernst Rohm’s Brown Shirts.

While the victory of Ocasio-Cortez is bad news for Pelosi and Hoyer, it may also be a harbinger of what is to come. For the Democratic Party appears about to unleash its radical left, its Maxine Waters wing, and give its ideology another run in the yard.

When the party has done this before, however, it did not end well.

After Hubert Humphrey lost narrowly in 1968, an enraged left seized the nomination for George McGovern, who went on to lose 49 states to Richard Nixon.

After Hillary Clinton’s defeat, the left, whose champion, Bernie Sanders, they believe, was robbed by the establishment, seems to be looking to settle scores and seize the nomination for one of its own.

But if an apertura a sinistra, an opening to the left, is what lies ahead for the Democratic Party, then that is better news for the party of Trump than for the party of Pelosi.

Just as Crowley’s congressional district had changed, so, too, has his party in Congress. Columnist Dana Milbank, who sees it as progress, writes, “A majority of House Democrats are … women, people of color or gay.”

These rising forces in the Democratic coalition are looking to bury the Democratic Party of yesterday, where white males and older ethnic groups — Irish, Italians, Poles and Jews — were dominant.

It seems certain now that the summer of 2020 will see a woman, a person of color, or both, on the Democratic ticket. Two whites would likely offend the rising base. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine may have been the last of the all-white Democratic tickets.

However, inside this emerging Democratic majority of peoples of color, fractures and fissures are already visible.

In New York City, the Asian community, which votes Democratic in presidential elections, is in an uproar over efforts by leftist Mayor Bill de Blasio to eliminate the entrance exams that have enabled Asian kids to capture most of the seats in the city’s elite public schools.

De Blasio and his allies want the Asian numbers in these select schools reduced, so the schools mirror the city’s demography, no matter how well the Asian kids are doing on the competitive admissions tests.

Also, the hard left in the Democratic Party, oriented more toward the Third World than the West, is increasingly anti-Israel. And while the Jewish vote is small and largely concentrated in blue states, among donors to the Democratic Party the Jewish contingent looms large.

The new demography of the Democratic Party brought about the defeat of Crowley. A majority white district when he first ran, the Bronx-Queens district he now represents is only one-sixth white.

The Irish and Italians have moved out or passed on. And Archie Bunker? He rests in peace in Calvary Cemetery. Like his party.

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With Nixon in ’68: The Year America Came Apart

With Nixon in ’68: The Year America Came Apart

By Patrick J. Buchanan – The Wall Street Journal

On the night of Jan. 31, 1968, as tens of thousands of Viet Cong guerrillas attacked the major cities of South Vietnam, in violation of a Lunar New Year truce, Richard Nixon was flying secretly to Boston. At 29, and Nixon’s longest-serving aide, I was with him. Advance man Nick Ruwe met us at Logan Airport and drove us to a motel in Nashua, N.H., where Nixon had been preregistered as “ Benjamin Chapman.” The next day, only hours before the deadline, Nixon filed in Concord to enter the state’s Republican primary, just six weeks away.

On Feb. 2, the New York Times story “Nixon Announces for Presidency” was dwarfed by a giant headline: “Street Clashes Go On in Vietnam; Foe Still Holds Parts of Cities; Johnson Pledges Never to Yield.” Dominating the page was the photograph of a captured Viet Cong, hands tied, being executed on a Saigon street by South Vietnam’s national police chief, firing a bullet into his head from inches away. Eddie Adams’s photo would win the Pulitzer Prize.

America’s most divisive year since the Civil War had begun.

The author and Nixon on a plane in 1968.
The author and Nixon on a plane in 1968. PHOTO: COURTESY NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY

Nixon’s lone opponent for the Republican nomination was George Romney, three-term governor of Michigan and a legend at American Motors, where he had promoted the Nash Rambler. Romney had led in the polls in December 1966 and seemed the clear favorite, but by now he was not.

After campaigning in 35 states in 1966, leading the GOP to its greatest off-year victory in congressional races since 1946, Nixon had declared a moratorium on politics and dropped out of sight. Is it wise, I asked him, to cede Romney such a tremendous head start? Sensing what the press would do to Romney, Nixon told me, “Let ’em chew on him for a little while.”

Nixon’s instincts proved right. Romney was unprepared. On pre-campaign swings in 1967 he bickered with the press, and that August he made a fatal blunder. Explaining on a TV show why he was changing his position on the war, Romney said that on a previous visit to Vietnam, “I just had the greatest brainwashing anybody can get” from U.S. generals and diplomats.

The ridicule and mockery were ceaseless and universal. Sen. Eugene McCarthy said that, in Romney’s case, a full brainwashing was unneeded, as “a light rinse would have sufficed.” Romney plummeted in the polls, never to recover.

As Romney spun his wheels in New Hampshire, Nixon ignored his calls to debate, declining even to mention his name. Our polls showed us heading for a 5-1 landslide that would erase the “loser” image that had clung to Nixon since his loss to JFK in 1960 and his defeat in the California governor’s race in 1962.

President Lyndon Johnson announced on March 31, 1968 that he would not seek reelection; above, he works on the speech the day before.
President Lyndon Johnson announced on March 31, 1968 that he would not seek reelection; above, he works on the speech the day before. PHOTO:BOB DAUGHERTY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

With humiliation ahead, Romney abruptly ended his candidacy on Feb. 28, 1968, robbing Nixon of his triumph. What historians call “crazy March” now began. In the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, Sen. McCarthy, running an antiwar protest campaign, got 42% of the vote. Lyndon Johnson won with 49%, though his name was not on the ballot. Inexplicably, the president of the United States had run as a write-in candidate.

Half the McCarthy voters were later identified as pro-war but fed up with LBJ’s indecisive leadership. In January, North Korean commandos had assaulted the Blue House in Seoul and come close to assassinating President Park Chung-hee, and the U.S. spy ship Pueblo had been hijacked and its crew taken hostage by North Korean gunboats. Johnson had done nothing.

The press read into the McCarthy vote a repudiation of the war, and Johnson was now wounded. On March 16, Sen. Robert Kennedy leapt into the race. Speaking a week later in Los Angeles, he stuck the knife deep into his old antagonist, accusing President Johnson of “calling upon the darker impulses of the American spirit.”

On March 21, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller of New York stunned the political world by declaring that he would not challenge Nixon. The anticipated battle inside the Republican Party seemed suddenly settled, just as a three-sided war broke out inside the Democratic Party. Alabama’s Gov. George Wallace had announced he would run as a third-party candidate in the fall, while Kennedy and McCarthy battled for the nomination as they assaulted their own president.

The Tet Offensive was seen as a major American setback in 1968 but the Viet Cong lost huge numbers of troops; above, a Viet Cong soldier awaits interrogation following capture.
The Tet Offensive was seen as a major American setback in 1968 but the Viet Cong lost huge numbers of troops; above, a Viet Cong soldier awaits interrogation following capture. PHOTO: CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES

The Tet Offensive proved a strategic disaster for the Viet Cong, who suffered tens of thousands of dead. But U.S. media portrayed Tet as an American defeat. On “The CBS Evening News,” Walter Cronkite declared Vietnam a “stalemate.”

Nixon moved to update his position. As his writers Ray Price, Dick Whalen and I argued in front of him at his Fifth Avenue apartment in New York on March 30, we got a call from our media folks: LBJ had asked to speak in prime time that Sunday night. Nixon canceled his prepared speech and, leaving for a Wisconsin event, told me to be at the private terminal at La Guardia Sunday to brief him on LBJ’s address to the nation.

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As Johnson was announcing that he would not run, Nixon’s private jet was landing. I reached the airplane door ahead of the press and told him what LBJ had said. Nixon stepped out into the cameras to declare 1968 “the year of the dropout.”

Four days later, the nation was stunned again. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Memphis to support a strike by garbage workers, had been assassinated on a motel balcony. A hundred U.S. cities exploded in rioting, looting and arson. The National Guard was out everywhere. The week long rampage caused a backlash across Middle America, and Wallace’s poll numbers vaulted. Support for Nixon, who went to Atlanta for King’s funeral, sank.

Violence broke across American cities after the April 4, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Above, soldiers stand guard in front of a supermarket on Chicago’s South Side three days later.
Violence broke across American cities after the April 4, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Above, soldiers stand guard in front of a supermarket on Chicago’s South Side three days later. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

As the race riots burned out, the worst campus riot of the decade erupted. At my alma mater, Columbia University, student radicals occupied Low Library and Hamilton Hall. They ransacked professors’ offices and took a dean hostage. After a week, the NYPD, with clubs and sweeping arrests, recaptured the university. Nixon declared the uprising “the first major skirmish in a revolutionary struggle to seize the universities of this country and transform them into sanctuaries for radicals and vehicles for revolutionary political and social goals.”

Rockefeller denounced Nixon, reversed himself and entered the race. But polls showed that America’s patience with radicalism was exhausted. The country was with the cops wielding the clubs. Nixon had captured the law-and-order issue. When the Kerner Commission, set up to study the causes of the weeklong Newark and Detroit riots in the “long hot summer” of 1967, blamed “white racism,” Nixon dismissed the report by saying it blamed everyone for the riots but the rioters themselves.

As the Democratic showdown approached in the Oregon primary, the media zeroed in on the revelation that, as attorney general, Kennedy had authorized J. Edgar Hoover to wiretap the now-martyred Martin Luther King Jr. The explosive charge led to Kennedy’s defeat by McCarthy on May 28.

Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination on June 5 further traumatized the country. Above, he campaigns in Portland before the May 28 Oregon primary.
Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination on June 5 further traumatized the country. Above, he campaigns in Portland before the May 28 Oregon primary. PHOTO: BETTMANN ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

I was at Portland’s Benson Hotel that night with Nixon, who had won 70% of the primary vote, crushing both Rockefeller and Reagan. Later in the evening, I was standing in front of the hotel when Bobby Kennedy arrived to concede defeat in the first loss by a Kennedy since JFK entered politics in 1946. Though Bobby had a reputation for being ruthless, he could not have been more gracious in conceding defeat that night.

A week later, I was awakened at 3 a.m. by Jeff Bell, a young aide at Nixon’s campaign office. Bobby had been shot in a Los Angeles hotel kitchen after winning the California primary. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the favorite after LBJ stood down, was now assured of the nomination.

The surging antiwar movement was demoralized, bitter and angry. Humphrey was seen as a Johnson lackey who would continue the war. Then, just days after Bobby was buried beside JFK at Arlington, Earl Warren resigned as chief justice, and LBJ named his old crony Justice Abe Fortas to replace him. All three wanted to prevent a President Nixon from naming the next chief justice. Senate Republicans aborted the insiders’ deal and rejected Fortas. The Supreme Court wars that would endure into the 21st century had begun.

The Democratic Convention in Chicago was marked by chaos inside on Aug. 28, 1968, as delegates were fractured over the candidates and the party platform....
The Democratic Convention in Chicago was marked by chaos inside on Aug. 28, 1968, as delegates were fractured over the candidates and the party platform…. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

One week before the Democratic convention in Chicago, the Soviet Union sent hundreds of Warsaw Pact tanks and 250,000 troops into Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring. As with the seizure of the Pueblo, President Johnson, with a half million U.S. troops now in Vietnam, did nothing.

The stage was set for an explosive Democratic convention in Chicago. I asked Nixon to send me. He agreed. Our listening post was on the 19th floor of the “Comrade Hilton.” I was alone in the suite one night when Norman Mailer walked in with the light-heavyweight champion Jose Torres. As we talked, a commotion erupted outside. A phalanx of cops had marched up Balbo Drive to Michigan Avenue and halted. Suddenly, the cops took off into Grant Park, clubbing the radicals and dragging them to patrol wagons. Mailer and I saw it all from our 19th-floor window. On and on it went, as Torres cursed the cops and I stayed mute. I had been down there at night among the protesters, who were as ugly a crowd as I had seen in the Vietnam era.

When Humphrey left Chicago, the Democratic coalition that had given LBJ a historic landslide in 1964 was shattered. Wallace seemed certain to shear off the electoral votes of the Deep South. The McCarthy-Kennedy wing was enraged over how Mayor Richard Daley’s cops had beaten the protesters. The nation had seen a convention where Democratic delegates cursed one another on the floor as their partisans brawled with police in the streets.

I came back from Chicago and told Nixon that we should side with Daley and the cops. Nixon’s first campaign stop that fall was a motorcade through downtown Chicago, where huge crowds cheered him.

... And the convention was marred by violence outside, as Mayor Richard J. Daley’s forces cracked down violently on protesters.
… And the convention was marred by violence outside, as Mayor Richard J. Daley’s forces cracked down violently on protesters. PHOTO: BETTMANN ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

The Gallup poll in September had Nixon at 43, Humphrey at 28, Wallace at 21. At every campaign stop, Humphrey was shouted down with chants of “Dump the Hump!”, until he came close to breaking down, denouncing his tormentors as “fascists.”

Desperate, Humphrey rolled the dice on Sept. 30 and pledged to halt all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam. The impact was immediate. The heckling and abuse subsided. He began a steady ascent in the polls. His optimism returned, and he staged one of the great comebacks in presidential politics.

Then he caught a break. On Oct. 3, Wallace introduced his running mate, Gen. Curtis LeMay, who had led the firebombing of Tokyo and who told a stunned press that we Americans have “a phobia about nuclear weapons.” To achieve victory in Vietnam, LeMay said, “I would use anything…including nuclear weapons.” Wallace’s voters began to abandon him and move back home to the Democratic Party.

‘The Cold War consensus that had existed from the Berlin blockade of 1948 through the Cuban missile crisis was no more.’

The election ended in a virtual tie, with both candidates receiving roughly 43% of the popular vote. But Nixon had won in the electoral college and was now president-elect of the United States.

What had 1968 wrought?

The American establishment, “the best and the brightest,” had been broken on the wheel of Vietnam. Liberal elites would move to ally themselves with the antiwar left and to denounce as “Nixon’s war” the cause into which they themselves had led the country.

The Cold War consensus that had existed from the Berlin blockade of 1948 through the Cuban missile crisis was no more. The Democratic candidate in 1972 would run on the slogan “Come home, America!” Foreign policy leadership passed from the party of Truman and Kennedy to the party of Nixon and Reagan. After 1968, the word “victory” was rarely heard. The goal now in Vietnam was “peace with honor” or “an end to the war.”

Massive civil disobedience and violent protests would become the new normal. Failed and frustrated extremists would turn to bombings and terrorism. Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew would use the radical left and its media enablers as foils to drive a wedge right through FDR’s Democratic coalition, with Nixon calling out his “Great Silent Majority” and Agnew tabling the issue of press power and media bias.

Nixon would be re-elected in 1972 in a 49-state landslide. In four of the five presidential elections after 1968, Nixon’s new majority would crush the Democratic Party. By 1970, six years after Goldwater’s defeat, twice as many Americans would call themselves conservatives as liberals.

As the political wars of 1968 turned American politics upside down, a cultural war had broken out as well. Moral and social issues—abortion, affirmative action, busing, crime, drugs, feminism, gay rights—would tear apart families, communities and the entire nation. The culture wars had begun.

We are another country now, another people. The unity we knew in the Eisenhower-Kennedy era is gone. 1968 was the great divide. 1968 was the turning point.

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Mr. Buchanan, a former presidential candidate, served as an aide to Richard Nixon from January 1966 to August 1974. His books “The Greatest Comeback” and “Nixon’s White House Wars” describe those years.

Posted with permission from  The Wall Street Journal

Brownshirts & Republican Wimps

Brownshirts & Republican Wimps

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Friday evening’s Donald Trump rally in Chicago was broken up by a foul-mouthed mob that infiltrated the hall and forced the cancelation of the event to prevent violence and bloodshed.

Brownshirt tactics worked. The mob, triumphant, rejoiced.

And the reaction of Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich?

All three Republican rivals blamed — Donald Trump.

With his “dangerous style of leadership,” Trump stokes this anger, mewed Rubio, “This is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of bitterness and anger and frustration.”

Rubio implies that if Trump doesn’t tone down his remarks to pacify the rabble, he will be responsible for the violence visited upon him.

Kasich echoed Rubio: “Donald Trump has created a toxic environment (that) has allowed his supporters and those who sometimes seek confrontation to come together in violence.”

But were the thousands of Trump supporters who came out to cheer him that night really looking for a fight? Or were they exercising their right of peaceful assembly?

Cruz charged Trump with “creating an environment that only encourages this sort of nasty discord,” thus offering absolution to the mob.

Friday night cried out for moral clarity. What we got from Trump’s rivals was moral mush that called to mind JFK’s favorite quote from Dante: The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.

As news outlets have reported, Friday’s disruption at the University of Illinois-Chicago auditorium was a preplanned assault.

Behind it were the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org, Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, Hispanics hoisting Mexican flags and cop-haters carrying filthy signs to show their contempt for police.

People for Bernie, a pro-Sanders outfit, tweeted, “[This] wasn’t just luck. It took organizers from dozens of organizations and thousands of people to pull off. Great work.”

Now, Sanders did not order this assault on the civil rights of Trump supporters. But MoveOn.org has endorsed him and “Bernie” signs and T-shirts were everywhere among the disrupters. Hence, he has a duty to disavow this conduct and those who engaged in it.

If Sanders refuses, he condones it, and is morally complicit.

Can one imagine how the media would pile on Trump if working-class white males in Trump T-shirts invaded a Hillary Clinton rally and shut it down?

Can one imagine how the networks and cable TV channels that host town halls with the candidates would react if hell-raisers snuck into their audiences and shouted obscenities during discussions?

The keening over the First Amendment would not cease for weeks.

Some of us have been here before, and know how this ends.

When the urban riots broke out in the ’60s, Hubert Humphrey declared that, if he lived in a ghetto, “I could lead a pretty good riot myself.”

At his 1968 convention in Chicago, radicals baited and provoked the cops in the front of the Conrad Hilton, and as this writer watched, their patience exhausted after days of abuse, Chicago’s finest tore into the mob and delivered some street justice.

“Richard Nixon,” wrote Hunter S. Thompson, “is living in the White House today because of what happened that night in Chicago.”

Hunter got that one right.

That fall, Humphrey was daily assailed by the kinds of haters now disrupting Trump rallies. Everywhere he went, they chanted, “Dump the Hump!” At times, Humphrey came close to tears.

That fall, Humphrey realized the monster he helped nurture.

My tormentors, he said, are “not just hecklers, but highly disciplined, well-organized agitators … some of them are anarchists, and some of these groups are destroying the Democratic Party and destroying this country.”

In 1970, when President Nixon sent U.S. troops into Cambodia to clean out Viet Cong sanctuaries, and students rioted, Ronald Reagan called them “cowardly fascists,” and declared, “If there’s going to be a bloodbath, let it begin here.”

Not much Cruz-Rubio-Kasich equivocating there.

When radicals stomped down Wall Street desecrating Old Glory, construction workers came down from the building sites they were working and whaled on them.

Union president Peter J. Brennan was soon in the Oval Office — and in Nixon’s Cabinet. “Secretary Bunker,” we called him.

Prediction. Given their “victory” in Chicago, MoveOn.org and its allied nasties will try to replicate it, again and again. And as Americans came to despise the ’60s radicals, they will come to despise them.

And, as in the 1960s, the country will take a turn — to the right.

America has changed from the land we grew up in. But she is not yet ready to allow ugly mobs screaming obscenities at Trump and his folks inside and outside that hall in Chicago, or their paragons like socialist senator Bernie Sanders, to take over the country.

Those raising hell in the street in Chicago and that convention hall are unfit to be citizens of this democratic republic.

For as Edmund Burke reminded us, “Men of intemperate minds can never be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”