Is the Party Over for Bushism?

Is the Party Over for Bushism?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Neither George W. Bush, the Republican Party nominee in 2000 and 2004, nor Jeb, the dethroned Prince of Wales, will be in Cleveland. Nor will John McCain or Mitt Romney, the last two nominees.

These former leaders would like it thought that high principle keeps them away from a GOP convention that would nominate Donald Trump. Petulance, however, must surely play a part. Bush Republicans feel unappreciated, and understandably so.

For Trump’s nomination represents not only a rejection of their legacy but a repudiation of much of post-Cold War party dogma.

America crossed a historic divide and entered a new era. Even should Trump lose, there is likely no going back.

Trump has attacked NAFTA, MFN for China and the South Korea trade deal as badly negotiated. But the problem lies not just in the treaties but in the economic philosophy upon which they were based.

Free-trade globalism was a crucial component of the New World Order, whose creation George H. W. Bush called the new great goal of U.S. foreign policy at the United Nations in October of 1991.

Bush II and Jeb are also free-trade zealots.

But when the American people discovered that the export of their factories and jobs to low-wage countries, and sinking salaries, were the going price of globalism, they rebelled, turned to Trump, and voted for him to put America first again.

Does anyone think that if Trump loses, we are going back to Davos-Dubai ideology, and Barack Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership is our future? Even Hillary Clinton has gotten the message and dumped TPP.

Economic nationalism is the future.

The only remaining question is how many trade deficits shall America endure, and how many defeats shall the Republican Party suffer, before it formally renounces the free-trade fanaticism that has held it in thrall.

The Bush idea of remaking America into a more ethnically, culturally, diverse nation through mass immigration, rooted in an egalitarian ideology, also appears to be yesterday’s enthusiasm.

With Republicans backing Trump’s call, after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, for a moratorium on Muslim immigration, and the massacres in Paris, Nice and the Pulse Club in Orlando, Florida, diversity seems to be less celebrated.

Here, the Europeans are ahead of us. Border posts are being re-established across the continent. Behind the British decision to quit the EU, was resistance to more immigration from the Islamic world and Eastern Europe.

On Sunday, French President Francois Hollande was booed at memorial services in Nice for the hundreds massacred and maimed by a madman whose family roots were in the old French colony of Tunisia.

Marine Le Pen of the National Front, who wants to halt immigration and quit the EU, is running far ahead of Hollande in the polls for next year’s elections.

As for the foreign policies associated with the Bushes, the New World Order of Bush I and the crusade for global democracy of Bush II “to end tyranny in our world” are seen as utopian.

Most Republicans ask: How have all these interventions and wars improved our lives or our world?

With 6,000 U.S. dead, 40,000 wounded, and trillions of dollars sunk, the Taliban is not defeated in Afghanistan. Al-Qaida and ISIS have outposts in a dozen countries. Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen are bleeding and disintegrating. Turkey appears headed for an Islamist and dictatorial future. The Middle East appears consumed in flames.

Yet, despite Trump’s renunciation of Bush war policies, and broad support to talk to Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the neocons, who engineered many of the disasters in the Middle East, and their hawkish allies, seem to be getting their way for a new Cold War.

They are cheering the deployment of four battalions of NATO troops to the Baltic states and Poland, calling for bringing Sweden and Finland into NATO, pushing for sending weapons to Ukraine, and urging a buildup on the Black Sea as well as the Baltic Sea.

They want to scuttle the Iranian nuclear deal and have the U.S. Navy confront China to support the rival claims of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia to rocks and reefs in the South China Sea, some of which are under water at high tide.

Who represents the future of the GOP?

On trade and immigration, the returns are in. Should the GOP go back to globalism, amnesty or open borders, it will sunder itself and have no future.

And if the party is perceived as offering America endless wars in the Middle East and constant confrontations with the great nuclear powers, Russia and China, over specks of land or islets having nothing to do with the vital interests of the United States, then it will see its anti-interventionist wing sheared off.

At issue in the battle between the Party of Bush and Party of Trump: Will we make America safe again, and great again? Or are globalism, amnesty, and endless interventions our future?

Do we put the world first, or America First?

Bush Republicanism Is Dead and Gone

Bush Republicanism Is Dead and Gone

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“The two living Republican past presidents, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush, have no plans to endorse Trump, according to their spokesmen.” So said the lead story in The Washington Post.

Graceless, yes, but not unexpected. The Bushes have many fine qualities. Losing well, however, is not one of them.

And they have to know, whether they concede it or not, that Trump’s triumph is a sweeping repudiation of Bush Republicanism by the same party that nominated them four times for the presidency.

Not only was son and brother, Jeb, humiliated and chased out of the race early, but Trump won his nomination by denouncing as rotten to the core the primary fruits of signature Bush policies.

Twelve million aliens are here illegally, said Trump, because the Bushes failed to secure America’s borders.

America has run up $12 trillion in trade deficits and been displaced as the world’s first manufacturing power by China, said Trump, because of the lousy trade deals backed by Bush Republicans.

The greatest strategic blunder in U.S. history, said Trump, was the Bush II decision to invade Iraq to disarm it of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction.

The war Bush began, says Trump, produced 5,000 American dead, scores of thousands wounded, trillions of dollars wasted, and a Middle East sunk in civil-sectarian war, chaos and fanaticism.

That is a savage indictment of the Bush legacy. And a Republican electorate, in the largest turnout in primary history, nodded, “Amen to that, brother!”

No matter who wins in November, there is no going back for the GOP.

Can anyone think the Republican Party can return to open borders or new free-trade agreements like NAFTA?

Can anyone believe another U.S. Army, like the ones Bush I and Bush II sent into Afghanistan and Iraq, will be mounted up and march to remake another Middle East country in America’s image?

Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom are history.

What the Trump campaign revealed, as Republicans and even Democrats moved toward him on trade, immigration and foreign policy, is that Bush Republicanism and neoconservatism not only suffered a decisive defeat, they had a sword run right through them.

They are as dead as emperor-worship in Japan.

Trump won the nomination, he won the argument, and he won the debate. The party is now with Trump — on the issues. For GOP elites, there can be no going back to what the grass roots rejected.

What does this suggest for Trump himself?

While he ought to keep an open door to those he defeated, the greatest mistake he could make would be to seek the support of the establishment he crushed by compromising on the issues that brought out his crowds and brought him his victories and nomination.

Given Trump’s negatives, the Beltway punditocracy is writing him off, warning that Trump either comes to terms with the establishment on the issues, or he is gone for good.

History teaches otherwise.

Hubert Humphrey closed a 15-point gap in the Gallup poll on Oct. 1 to reach a 43-43 photo finish with Richard Nixon in 1968.

President Gerald Ford was down 33 points to Jimmy Carter in mid-July 1976, but lost by only 2 points on Election Day.

In February 1980, Ronald Reagan was 29 points behind Jimmy Carter, whom he would crush 51-41 in a 44-state landslide.

Gov. Michael Dukakis left his Atlanta convention 17 points ahead of Vice President George H. W. Bush in 1988. Five weeks later, Labor Day, Bush had an eight-point lead he never lost, and swept 40 states.

What this suggests is extraordinary volatility of the electorate in the modern age. As this year has shown, that has not changed.

How then should Trump proceed?

Unify the party, to the degree he can, by keeping an open door to the defeated and offering a hand in friendship to all who wish to join his ranks, while refusing to compromise the issues that got him where he is. If the Bushes and neocons wish to depart, let them go.

Lest we forget, Congressman John Anderson, who lost to Reagan in the primaries, bolted the party and won 7 percent of the national vote.

Ted Cruz, who won more states and votes than all other Trump rivals put together, should be offered a prime-time speaking slot at Cleveland — in return for endorsing the Trump ticket.

As the vice presidential nominee remains the only drama left, Trump should hold off announcing his choice until closer to Cleveland.

For while that decision will leave one person elated, it will leave scores despondent.

And the longer Trump delays his announcement, the more that those who see themselves as a future vice president will be praising him, or at least holding off from attacking him.

Ultimately, the Great Unifier upon whom the Republican Party may reliably depend is the nominee of the Democratic Party — Director James Comey and his FBI consenting — Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Suicide of the GOP — or Rebirth?

Suicide of the GOP -- or Rebirth-?

By Patrick Buchanan

“If his poll numbers hold, Trump will be there six months from now when the Sweet 16 is cut to the Final Four, and he will likely be in the finals.”

My prediction, in July of 2015, looks pretty good right now.

Herewith, a second prediction. Republican wailing over his prospective nomination aside, Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton like a drum in November.

Indeed, only the fear that Trump can win explains the hysteria in this city.

Here is The Washington Post of March 18: “As a moral question it is straightforward. The mission of any responsible Republican should be to block a Trump nomination and election.”

The Orwellian headline over that editorial: “To defend our democracy, the GOP must aim for a brokered convention.”

Beautiful. Defending democracy requires Republicans to cancel the democratic decision of the largest voter turnout of any primaries in American history. And this is now a moral imperative for Republicans.

Like the Third World leaders it lectures, the Post celebrates democracy — so long as the voters get it right.

Whatever one may think of the Donald, he has exposed not only how far out of touch our political elites are, but how insular is the audience that listens to our media elite.

Understandably, Trump’s rivals were hesitant to take him on, seeing the number he did on “little Marco,” “low energy” Jeb and “Lyin’ Ted.”

But the Big Media — the Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times — have been relentless and ruthless.

Yet Trump’s strength with voters seemed to grow, pari passu, with the savagery of their attacks. As for National Review, The Weekly Standard and the accredited conservative columnists of the big op-ed pages, their hostility to Trump seems to rise, commensurate with Trump’s rising polls.

As the Wizard of Oz was exposed as a little man behind a curtain with a big megaphone, our media establishment is unlikely ever again to be seen as formidable as it once was.

And the GOP?

Those Republicans who assert that a Trump nomination would be a moral stain, a scarlet letter, the death of the party, they are most likely describing what a Trump nomination would mean to their own ideologies and interests.

Barry Goldwater lost 44 states in 1964, and the GOP fell to less than a third of Congress. “The Republican Party is dead,” wailed the Rockefeller wing. Actually, it wasn’t. Only the Rockefeller wing was dead.

After the great Yellowstone fire in the summer of ’88, the spring of ’89 produced astonishing green growth everywhere. 1964 was the Yellowstone fire of the GOP, burning up a million acres of dead wood, preparing the path for party renewal. Renewal often follows rebellion.

Republican strength today, on Capitol Hill and in state offices, is at levels unseen since Calvin Coolidge. Turnout in the GOP primaries has been running at levels unseen in American history, while turnout in the Democratic primaries is below what it was in the Obama-Clinton race of 2008.

This opportunity for Republicans should be a cause for rejoicing, not all this weeping and gnashing of teeth. If the party in Cleveland can bring together the Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich forces, the White House, Supreme Court and Congress are all within reach.

Consider. Clinton was beaten by Bernie Sanders in Michigan, and pressed in Ohio and Illinois, on her support for NAFTA and the trade deals of the Clinton-Bush-Obama era that eviscerated American manufacturing and led to the loss of millions of factory jobs and the stagnation of wages.

Sanders’ issues are Trump’s issues.

A Trump campaign across the industrial Midwest, Pennsylvania and New Jersey featuring attacks on Hillary Clinton’s support for NAFTA, the WTO, MFN for China — and her backing of amnesty and citizenship for illegal immigrants, and for the Iraq and Libyan debacles — is a winning hand.

Lately, 116 architects and subcontractors of the Bush I and II foreign policy took their own version of the Oxford Oath. They will not vote for, nor serve in a Trump administration.

Talking heads are bobbing up on cable TV to declare that if Trump is nominee, they will not vote for him and may vote for Clinton.

This is not unwelcome news. Let them go.

Their departure testifies that Trump is offering something new and different from the foreign policy failures this crowd did so much to produce.

The worst mistake Trump could make would be to tailor his winning positions on trade, immigration and intervention — to court such losers.

While Trump should reach out to the defeated establishment of the party, he cannot compromise the issues that brought him where he is, or embrace the failed policies that establishment produced. This would be throwing away his aces.

The Trump campaign is not a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. It is a rebellion of shareholders who are voting to throw out the corporate officers and board of directors that ran the company into the ground.

Only the company here is our country.

Winners & Losers: 2015

Winners and Losers 2015

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Each year, “The McLaughlin Group,” the longest-running panel show on national TV, which began in 1982, announces its awards for the winners and losers and the best and the worst of the year.

Rereading my list of 39 awardees suggests something about how our world is changing.

As “Person of the Year” and “Biggest Winner,” the choice was easy, Donald Trump. American Pharoah, Triple Crown winner of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, was my runner-up.

But three selections tell another side of the story of Trump’s triumph. My “Biggest Loser” was the Republican establishment. As “Most Overrated,” I chose Republican governors as presidential candidates. As “Worst Politician,” I chose Jeb Bush, son and brother of presidents, who began as the GOP front-runner with $100 million in the bank and is now hovering around 3 percent.

What happened to the GOP establishment? What has happened to the Republican elite? Why are they being treated with contempt?

In the run up to 2015, the GOP field was dominated by governors and ex-governors: Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, John Kasich. It was called “the strongest field since 1980,” when Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole competed.

And governors, with executive rather than legislative experience, were said to be the ideal choice for chief executive.

Yet, before year’s end, Walker, Perry, and George Pataki were gone and support for Bush, Kasich and Christie together did not come close to that of Trump. Trump’s main rival was Ted Cruz, the scourge of the Republican establishment in the Senate.

Why have Republicans and conservatives rallied to candidates who relish bashing the elites of their own party?

Establishment Republicans have lost what the Chinese used to call the mandate of heaven. Despite their blather, they never secured the border in 25 years. They talk populism at election time but haul water in Washington for corporate America by signing on to trade treaties, like NAFTA, GATT and TPP, that workers detest and that send U.S. jobs overseas and cause U.S. wages to sink.

And they have plunged us into unnecessary wars they knew not how to end or win. The Bush era in the Republican Party is over.

Americans could be at a watershed moment when Sen. Lindsey Graham, an articulate voice for deeper intervention in the Middle East, is forced to drop out with less than 1 percent in the polls.

A second issue that dominated the McLaughlin Group awards was, regrettably, the deepening racial divide.

“The Enough Already Award” I conferred on Black Lives Matter, a movement marked by confrontations, the invasion of stores, hassling of citizens, and blocking of streets to protest what BLM claims is rogue police misconduct against black people.

My “Worst Lie” was “Hands up, Don’t Shoot!”

That was said to be the plea for his life by Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Only it never happened. It was a lie, a concocted slander against Officer Darren Wilson who shot Brown only after a fight over Wilson’s gun and Brown had charged the cop when told to halt.

My choice for “Most Underreported Story” was “The Ferguson Effect.” This was most prominent in Baltimore, where cops, to avoid charges of racial harassment, stopped doing the preventive police work that produced a near-miraculous reduction in murders and violent crimes since the 1990s.

The “Most Underrated” for me was the revelation that, under Obama, guns sales have doubled to 18 million a year. For 2015, one estimate is 20 million guns sold, and 185,000 on Black Friday alone.

There are more guns now in the USA than there are people.

My choice for “Best Government Dollar Spent” was for first responders, especially the cops who risk their lives.

Taken together, these stories underscore the “Black vs. Blue” conflict in America, where some black folks believe the lives of their young are less valued, while other Americans look on cops as the first line of defense for their families in increasingly dangerous times.

The racial divide we thought had closed has returned to re-poison our politics. And with the crime rate not only higher in the African-American community, but rising, there are inevitably going to be more and more black vs. blue collisions on which Americans take sides.

My choice for “Most Defining Political Moment” — the Paris and San Bernardino massacres — and “Worst Political Theater” — the ISIS beheadings and executions — may also point to what is coming.

From Virginia Tech to Tucson, from Fort Hood to Sandy Hook, from Columbine to Aurora, and from the Washington Navy Yard to Charleston, we have seen the enormous coverage garnered by the premeditated atrocities of our homegrown mass murderers.

Others seeking that same publicity will almost surely follow their example. So, too, the international attention that Charlie Hebdo and San Bernardino reaped will likely prove to be irresistible magnets to new ISIS and al-Qaida suicide bombers and killers.

But, as ever, we shall persevere. Happy New Year!

Is Putin Our Ally in Syria?

Is Putin Our Ally in Syria?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Among the presidential candidates of the Republican Party and their foreign policy leaders on Capitol Hill the cry is almost universal:

Barack Obama has no strategy for winning the war on ISIS.

This criticism, however, sounds strange coming from a party that controls Congress but has yet to devise its own strategy, or even to authorize the use of U.S. military force in Syria.

Congress has punted. And compared to the cacophony from Republican ranks, Barack Obama sounds like Prince Bismarck.

The President’s strategy is to contain, degrade and defeat ISIS. While no one has provided the troops to defeat ISIS, the U.S. is using Kurdish and Yazidi forces, backed by U.S. air power, to degrade it.

And recent months have seen measured success.

The Kurds have run ISIS out of Kobani, captured much of the Turkish-Syrian border, and moved to within 30 miles of Raqqa, the ISIS capital. Yazidis and Kurds last week recaptured Sinjar in Iraq and cut the highway between Mosul and Raqqa.

The terrorist attacks in Paris, the downing of the Russian airliner in Sinai, the ISIS bomb that exploded in the Shiite sector of Beirut, are ISIS’s payback. But they could also be signs that the ISIS caliphate, imperiled in its base, is growing desperate and lashing out.

Yet consider the Republican strategies being advanced.

In Sunday’s Washington Post, Mitt Romney writes:

“We must wage the war to defeat the enemy. … [Obama] must call in the best military minds from the United States and NATO … and finally construct a comprehensive strategy that integrates our effort with the Kurds, Turks, Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians.”

The Kurds excepted, Gov. Romney ignored all the forces that are actually fighting ISIS: Russians, Hezbollah, Iran, Bashar Assad, the Syrian army.

Mitt urges instead an alliance of countries that have done next to nothing to defeat ISIS.

The Turks are instead hitting the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The Saudis are bombing the Houthis in Yemen, not ISIS in Raqqa. The Egyptians are preoccupied with their own homegrown terrorists.

“Now is the time, not merely to contain the Islamic State,” says Mitt, “but to eradicate it once and for all.” But why did he not mention Russia, Iran, Assad and Hezbollah, all of which also wish to eradicate ISIS?

We partnered with Stalin in WWII.

Is Vladimir Putin an untouchable?

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham want U.S. ground troops sent into Syria and Iraq. But as Turkey has an army of 500,000 next door and Assad’s army would happily help wipe out ISIS, why not let Arab and Turkish boys do the fighting this time?

“America must lead,” is Jeb Bush’s mantra, and he wants U.S. boots on the ground and a no-fly zone over Syria.

“We should declare war,” says Bush.

Why then does Bush not call up Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and dictate the war resolution he wants passed?

And whom does Jeb propose to fight? Why declare a no-fly zone when ISIS has no air force? Does Bush plan to shoot down Syrian planes flying over Syria and Russian planes flying in support of Assad?

Has Jeb, like his brother, not thought this through?

If we declare a no-fly zone over Syria, or establish a “safe zone,” we risk war not only with Syria, but Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.

None of these allies of Assad will meekly stand aside while we take military action to deny the Syrian regime and army the right to defend itself and survive in its war against ISIS, al-Nusra and other assorted jihadists and rebels.

Having invested blood and treasure in Assad’s survival, and securing their own interests in Syria, they are not likely to submit to U.S. dictation. Are we prepared for a war against both sides in Syria?

Who would fight Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Syria alongside us?

Yet New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is ready to rumble.

“Well, the first thing you do is you set up a no-fly zone in Syria, and you call Putin, and you say to him, ‘Listen, we’re enforcing a no-fly zone, and that means we’re enforcing it against everyone, and that includes you. So, don’t test me.'”

And if Russia violated his no-fly zone? “Then you take him down,” said Christie, meaning we shoot down Russian jets.

But what vital interest of ours has ever been so engaged in Syria as to justify a major war in the Middle East and a military clash with a Russia with a nuclear arsenal as large as our own?

In any war it is usually wise to enlarge the roster of one’s allies and reduce the roster of enemies. If ISIS is the implacable enemy and must be annihilated, we should welcome all volunteers.

As for those who decline to fight, but claim a veto over whom we may ally with, we should tell them to pound sand.

If Putin wants to enlist in the war against ISIS, sign him up.

IMAGE: Original image by Gage Skidmore via Wikipedia – Edited and remixed by Linda Muller @ Buchanan.org

The Republican War — Over War Policy

The Republican War -- Over War Policy

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Rand Paul had his best debate moment Tuesday when he challenged Marco Rubio on his plans to increase defense spending by $1 trillion.

“You cannot be a conservative if you’re going to keep promoting new programs you’re not going to pay for,” said Paul.

Marco’s retort triggered the loudest cheers of the night:

“There are radical jihadists in the Middle East beheading people and crucifying Christians. The Chinese are taking over the South China Sea. … the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest military power in the world.”

Having called for the U.S. Navy to confront Beijing in the South China Sea, and for establishing a no-fly zone over Syria that Russian pilots would enter at their peril, Rubio seems prepared for a confrontation with either or both of our great rival nuclear powers.

Dismissing Vladimir Putin as a “gangster,” Marco emerged as the toast of the neocons. Yet the leading GOP candidate seems closer to Rand.

Donald Trump would talk to Putin, welcomes Russian planes bombing ISIS in Syria, thinks our European allies should lead on Ukraine, and wants South Korea to do more to defend itself.

Uber-hawk Lindsey Graham did not even make the undercard debate. And though he and John McCain are the most bellicose voices in the party, they appear to be chiefs with no Indians.

Still, it is well that Republicans air their disagreements. For war and peace are what the presidency is about.

Historically, Republican presidents appear to line up on the side of Rand and Trump.

Since WWII, there have been five elected GOP presidents: Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Only Bush II could be called a compulsive interventionist.

Ike ended Truman’s war in Korea and kept us out of Indochina after the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. He ordered the Brits, French and Israelis out of Suez after they had attacked Egypt in 1956. He gave us 7 years of peace and prosperity.

Nixon pledged to end the U.S. war in Vietnam, and did. And as Ike invited the Butcher of Budapest, Khrushchev, to visit the United States, Nixon invited Brezhnev, who had crushed the Prague Spring.

Nixon became the first Cold War president to visit the USSR, and famously ended decades of hostility between the United States and the China of Chairman Mao.

Reagan used military force only three times.

He liberated the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada from Marxist thugs who had murdered the prime minister and threatened U.S. medical students.

He put Marines in Lebanon, a decision that, after the massacre at the Beirut barracks, Reagan regretted the rest of his life. He bombed Libya in retaliation for Moammar Gadhafi’s bombing of a Berlin discotheque full of U.S. troops.

Blowback for Reagan came with Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie in 1988.

Though they were the foremost anti-Communists of their era, Nixon and Reagan negotiated historic arms agreements with Moscow.

Reagan did send arms to aid anti-Communist rebels in Angola, Afghanistan and Nicaragua, but never confronted Moscow in Eastern Europe, even when Solidarity was crushed in Poland.

George H.W. Bush sent an army of 500,000 to expel Saddam Hussein from Kuwait, but ordered those U.S. troops not to enter Iraq itself.

When the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Empire collapsed and the USSR disintegrated, Bush I played the statesman, refusing to exult publicly in America’s epochal Cold War triumph.

It was George W. Bush who gave the neocons their hour of power.

After 9/11, came the invasion and remaking of Afghanistan in our image, the “axis of evil” address, the march to Baghdad, the expansion of NATO to Russia’s doorstep, and the global crusade for democracy “to end tyranny in our world.”

Result: The Republicans lost both houses of Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008 when John (“We are all Georgians Now!”) McCain was routed by a liberal Democrat who had opposed the war in Iraq.

With the exception of Rand and Trump, the GOP candidates appear to believe the road to the White House lies in resurrecting the attitude and policies of Bush II that cost them the White House.

From Marco and other voices on stage one hears: Tear up the Iran deal. Confront Putin. Establish a no-fly zone over Syria. Assad must go. Send offensive weapons to Kiev. More boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Send U.S. troops to the Baltic and warships to the Black Sea. Confront China in the Spratlys and South China Sea.

Responding to that audience in Milwaukee, most GOP candidates appear to have concluded that bellicosity and bravado are a winning hand in the post-Obama era.

Yet, those nationalist strongmen Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping do not seem to me to be autocrats who are likely to back down when told to do so by Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush or Carly Fiorina.