Fire Bell in the Night for the Ayatollah

Fire Bell in the Night for the Ayatollah

By Patrick J. Buchanan

As tens of thousands marched in the streets of Tehran on Wednesday in support of the regime, the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps assured Iranians the “sedition” had been defeated.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari is whistling past the graveyard.

The protests that broke out a week ago and spread and became riots are a fire bell in the night for the Islamic Republic.

The protesters denounced President Hassan Rouhani, re-elected last year with 57 percent of the vote, for failing to curb inflation or deliver the benefits he promised when Iran signed the nuclear deal.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, commander in chief and head of state, in power three decades, was also denounced, as were Iran’s interventions in wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen.

In 2009, the uprising of millions in Tehran was driven by middle-class rage over an election stolen by the populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This past week’s protests began in the working class, in what might be called Iran’s “fly-over country.”

The protesters were Red State and Tea Party types, demanding their own version of “Come Home, Iran” and “Iran First!”

The charge against Rouhani is that he has failed to deliver the good times promised. Against the ayatollah and the mullahs, the charge is that what they have delivered — power and wealth to the clerics, social repression, foreign wars — are not what the Iranian people want.

Have something to say about this column?
Visit Pat's FaceBook page and post your comments….

The greater long-term threat of the protests is to the Islamic regime.

For if the protests are about people being denied the freedom and material goods the young enjoy in the West, the protesters are demanding what theocracies do not deliver. How could the ayatollah and the mullahs, who restrict freedom by divine law, accept democratic freedoms without imperiling their own theological dictatorship?

How could the Republican Guard surrender its slice of the Iranian economy and end its foreign interventions without imperiling its reason for being — to protect and promote the Iranian Islamic revolution?

Half of Iran’s population is 31 or younger. This new generation was not even born until a decade after the Revolution that overthrew the Shah.

How does a clerical regime speak to a people, 40 million of whom have smartphones connecting them to an outside world where they can see the freedom and prosperity they seek, but their government cannot or will not deliver?

The protesters are also telling Rouhani’s “reformers,” in power now for five years, that they, too, have failed.

Rouhani’s dilemma? To grow Iran’s economy and improve the quality of life, he needs more foreign investment and more consumer goods. Yet any surge in material prosperity Rouhani delivers is certain to undermine the religious faith undergirding the theocratic regime.

And as any transfer of power to the elected regime has to come at the expense of the clerics and the Guard, Rouhani is not likely to get that power.

Thus, he and his government are likely to continue to fail.

Bottom line: The Islamic Republic of Iran was not established to create a materially prosperous and socially free society, because, in the ayatollah’s theology, such societies, like the USA, are of the devil and corruptive of the people.

Social freedom is irreconcilable with Iranian theocracy.

And Iranian hard-liners, clerical and military, are not going to permit protests demanding Western freedom and material goods, to cause them to commit what they believe would be ideological suicide.

Yet the U.S. and President Trump also face a dilemma.

If as Trump says, we wish the Iranian people well, how do we justify scraping the nuclear deal in which Iranians have placed so much hope, and reimposing the sanctions that will restore the hardships of yesterday?

How does America proclaim herself a friend of the Iranian people, if we are trying to persuade Europeans to abrogate the nuclear accord and reimpose the sanctions that impoverish the Iranian people?

Will we urge the Iranians to rise up and overthrow their regime, as we did the Hungarians in 1956, which resulted in their massacre by Soviet tanks sent into Budapest? Ike’s response: He sent Vice President Nixon to greet the surviving Hungarian patriots fleeing across the Andau Bridge into Austria.

After Desert Storm in 1991, George H.W. Bush urged Iraqis to rise up against Saddam Hussein. When the Shiites did rise up, they, too, were massacred, as our Army from Desert Storm stood by in Kuwait.

If there is an Iranian uprising and it results in a Tiananmen Square slaughter in Tehran, do we really want the U.S., which would not likely intervene to save the patriots, held morally accountable?

The Iranian protests suggest that the Islamic Revolution, after 40 years, is failing the rising generation. It is hard to see how this is not ominous news for the Iranian regime.

As it was not on the side of the Soviets, time is not on the side of the ayatollahs either.

We need not go to war with them. Time will take care of them, too.

Do You Appreciate Reading Our
Emails and Website?
Let us know how we are doing –
Send us a Thank You Via Paypal!

Is the Pope Toying with Heresy?

Is the Pope Toying with Heresy?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Are Catholic truths immutable? Or can they change with the changing times?

This is the deeper question behind the issues that convulsed the three-week synod on the family of the 250 Catholic bishops in Rome that ended Saturday.

A year ago, German Cardinal Walter Kasper called on the church to change — to welcome homosexual couples, and to permit cohabiting and divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

Retorted traditionalists: This is heresy.

Had the pope followed his friend Cardinal Kasper and ordered Catholic teaching and diocesan practice changed, he could have provoked a schism inside the Church.

Such a change in doctrine would have called into question papal infallibility. Defined at the Vatican Council of 1869-70, that doctrine declares that when the pope teaches ex cathedra, on matters of faith and morals, he is protected from error by the Holy Ghost. Doctrinal truths, taught by popes in communion with the bishops, down through the ages, cannot change.

But if Catholic truths about the indissolubility of marriage and intrinsic immorality of homosexual unions can be changed, then, either the Church has been in grave error in the past, or the Church is toying with heresy today.

Saturday, The Washington Post described the synod as a “brawl over Francis’ vision of inclusion.”

Reporter Anthony Faiola compared the synod deliberations to a Tea Party rebellion in John Boehner’s House caucus, and the pope to a change agent like Barack Obama who finds himself blocked and frustrated by conservatives.

Saturday’s document from the synod ignored the call for a new Church stance toward homosexual unions. And it did not approve of giving Communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, whom the Church considers to be living in adultery.

Yet, in Sunday’s sermon the pope seemed angered by both the defiance of the resisting bishops and the conclusions the synod reached. To Pope Francis, the traditionalists appear to be placing the strictures of moral law above the Gospel command of mercy.

“None of the disciples stopped, as Jesus did” said Francis of the blind man. “If Bartimaeus was blind, they were deaf. His problem was not their problem.

“This can be a danger to us. … A faith that does not know how to grow roots into the lives of people remains arid and, rather than oases, creates other deserts.”

The pope seems to be saying that the dissenting bishops, no matter their command of moral law, are lacking in charity, the greatest of the three theological virtues.

Where does the bishops’ synod on the family leave the Church?

In confusion, and at risk of going the way of the Protestant churches that continue to hemorrhage congregants.


With its acceptance of birth control at the Lambeth conference of 1930, the Church of England started down this road, as did its sister, the Episcopal Church. The process led to the decline of both.

From birth control, to divorce and remarriage, women priests, gay clergy, homosexual bishops, same-sex marriage, the Episcopal Church first broke apart, and now appears to be going gentle into that good night.

Indeed the Church of England began in schism, when Henry VIII broke with Rome after Pope Clement VII refused to approve his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his marriage to Anne Boleyn. According to Cardinal Kasper, Clement should have cut Henry some slack.

In this battle between traditionalists in the synod and the bishops who favor acceptance of some or all of Kasper’s recommendations, the pope seems to stand squarely on the side of the reformers.

Yet, it was the Protestant Reformation that destroyed the unity of Catholicism, five centuries ago, as it divided nations and led to conflicts of religion and nationalism, such as the Thirty Years War.

How the Catholic Church can avoid greater confusion among the faithful — after the pope’s virtual blessing of the Kasper recommendations, and the synod’s rejection of them — escapes me.

What does the pope do now?

If he ignores the synod’s dissent and moves the Church toward the Kasper position, he could cause a traditionalist break, a schism. Third World bishops might well refuse to change.

If he does nothing, he will disappoint Western bishops, priests and secularists who have seen in his papacy hope for an historic change in Catholic teaching and practice.

If he permits the bishops to follow their consciences in their dioceses, he will advance the disintegration of the Church.

The inevitable result of any of these courses that the pope chooses will be, it seems, to deepen the confusion of the faithful.

As for Pope Francis himself, he, too, must choose.

He can emulate Cardinal Wolsey — or Thomas More.

Pat Buchanan: Hillary Would Beat Romney in 2016

Pat Buchanan: Hillary Would Beat Romney in 2016

By Jerome Corsi – WND

But she must please progressive base while distancing from Obama

NEW YORK – Amid rumblings of another Mitt Romney run for the White House, author and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan is advising the GOP to avoid nominating the first two-time loser since Democratic presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson lost to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 and again in 1956.

In a wide-ranging interview on his new book, “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority,” Buchanan expressed doubt that Romney could make the kind of historic comeback Nixon accomplished in 1968.

Buchanan, a WND columnist, believes Romney would beat Barack Obama if the presidential election of 2012 were held today. But he contends Romney would lose in 2016 to Hillary Clinton, the Democrats most likely choice.

Buchanan bases his analysis on his nearly 50 years of top-level election experience. In December 1965, he left his job writing editorials for the St. Louis Globe Democrat and was hired by the Nixon, Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, Alexander, and Mitchell law firm in New York City. A year later, Nixon’s campaign hired him as its first adviser.

Order Pat Buchanan’s new book now: “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority”

Buchanan believes, however, that Clinton will need to work skillfully to distance herself sufficiently from Barack Obama while reassuring Democrats she still advocates the progressive values of the party’s base.

“In 1968, the GOP was seen as an acceptable alternative to the Democratic Party,” Buchanan said.

“Today, while the country is ready to reject Obama, it is not ready to accept the Republican Party as an alternative. Among the reasons are the huge demographic changes in an electorate that is now approaching 30 percent from Third World countries that vote 70 to 90 percent for Democrats. These figures are not moving in the GOP’s direction, they are moving in the other way.”

Hillary running against Obama

Hillary’s problem right now, Buchanan stressed, is that she is running against the growing perception of being part of the Obama administration.

“The American people now are wondering if they want four years of Hillary after the two years of Obama since 2012,” he said.

The Greatest ComebackBuchanan said it’s much like the problem President Lyndon Johnson had in 1968 after winning in a landslide four years earlier.

“By 1968, the American people were saying, ‘We’re not sure we want any more of this guy,’” he said.

“This is the problem the Democrats are having today and the reason Hillary is receding from her high point of something like 70 percent approval when she left her job as secretary of state.”

Buchanan made clear that despite Hillary’s recent decline in popularity, she remains the front-runner.

“It’s very hard to see if Hillary runs who will beat her,” he stressed. “I don’t see Elizabeth Warren beating her. I tell people that if I were a 45-year-old Democratic senator, I would run, and I would challenge Hillary on issues, so if I lost I would have gained the opportunity to introduce myself to the American people and hope lightening strikes.”

Mindful of Bill Clinton’s support of Hillary’s candidacy, he added, “But I doubt any Democrat wants to take the risk of running against Hillary, since it means going after the king, and failing to get the job done might just have disastrous consequences.”

Comparing Romney’s comeback probabilities to Nixon’s, Buchanan said there’s nobody in the GOP like Nixon.

“Before I was 10 years old, Nixon was a world figure that had taken down Alger Hiss and was a famous American congressman who had wiped out Helen Gahagan Douglas by the largest majority in California history (for a U.S. Senate seat),” he said. “Then he was the second youngest vice president. He was a huge figure in the GOP, and there is nobody in the GOP with that stature today.”

Buchanan conceded the nation has changed since Nixon was on the political landscape.

“I can see back in 1965 how the GOP could be stitched together, and you might have trouble holding the liberals,” he said. “But if you commanded the center and the right, you see how we could trade our liberals, the Rockefeller Republicans, to pull away from the Democrats’ huge segments of FDR’s socially conservative supporters, including the ethnics who voted Democratic, southern Protestants and Catholics, in a trade where the GOP came out on top.”

Where are the conservative Democrats?

Buchanan believes the GOP is in a much more difficult position today to turn such a trade into a winning presidential coalition.

“It’s hard to see today where the GOP can find enough conservative Democrats to pull away,” he said. “It used to be there were a lot of conservative Democrats. Today, there aren’t that many.”

Buchanan pointed out the Democrats begin presidential campaigns with a large electoral vote advantage.

“In the last six elections, the Democrats have won the same 18 states plus the District of Columbia all six times, and among those states are California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York – four of the big seven. Two of the other big seven are now swing states – Ohio and Florida. Texas is the only reliable state of the big seven that the Republicans have left. So if the GOP loses those 18 states plus the District of Columbia, adding up to about 242 electoral votes, the Democrats need to pick one or two tricks and it’s over.”

Buchanan said he found it difficult to believe any GOP contender could break the Democratic Party hold on the presidential electorate.

“It’s hard for me to see what Republican cracks that base that is increasingly solid Democratic – first because of demography and second because of the welfare state that now embraces scores of millions of people who look upon anyone wanting to cut government as somebody who’s going to take my food stamps away, or cut my education, or my health care, or my housing subsidy, or my income subsidy.”

Buchanan pointed out that in 1968, Nixon’s only real contender for the GOP presidential nomination was Michigan Gov. George Romney, father of Mitt Romney, but before the New Hampshire primary, Nixon was ahead among GOP voters by a margin of 4 to 1.

“The real problem for me in 1968 would have been had then-governor of California Ronald Reagan stepped in and torn the conservative vote away from Nixon. As it was, Nixon basically scared any other GOP contender off from going strong into the primaries.”

Hard to see a clear GOP winner

But this year, Buchanan sees no GOP candidate who can command the kind of lead Nixon had in 1968 ahead of the primaries.

“Going into the GOP presidential primaries next year, it is hard to see a clear winner,” he said.

“Rand Paul will have a following, especially among young voters, and Ted Cruz ignites enough voters to have a strong following,” he said.

Among establishment GOP candidates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie “is having a hard time recovering the support he lost and he’s now running behind Hillary even in New Jersey.”

“I would be surprised if Jeb Bush ran,” Buchanan said. “Florida Senator Marco Rubio damaged himself early on with the immigration issue.”

GOP can’t win without tea party

Buchanan advised that if Romney wants to run again in 2016, he should be out on the campaign trail supporting GOP candidates, much as Nixon did in 1966.

“Romney should today be working this fall not only for establishment GOP candidates but for tea party folks,” he said.

“The GOP cannot win without the tea party’s energy and enthusiasm. You need those folks, just like in 1968 Richard Nixon needed the Goldwater supporters and the Reagan supporters to win.”

Buchanan argued the voter coalition Nixon put together in 1968 was the greatest of the 20th century, with the possible exception of the FDR New Deal coalition that led to four presidential election victories in a row.

“People forget that after LBJ’s landslide victory in 1964, the GOP was half the size of the Democratic Party at the time,” he said.

Buchanan doubted Romney has the ability to pull together the type of historic voter coalition needed to beat the Democrats in 2016.

“Because Obama is so unpopular now and is likely to be increasingly unpopular in the next two years, and his foreign policy is going to antagonize the interventionist wing of the Democratic Party, Hillary will continue to take a harder line than Obama takes on foreign policy,” Buchanan said.

“Hillary will increasingly distance herself from Obama’s record so she is not seen by 2016 as the successor to Barack Obama, but as someone different, much more realistic and tough-minded, especially in foreign policy – more of a Bill Clinton than a Barack Obama,” he said.

“Where she is right now, she is winning the nomination. But the liberal wing of the Democratic Party will assert itself in 2016, and Hillary wants to make sure Democratic voters know she continues to hold the basic beliefs of the Democratic Party, especially on domestic issues.”

He concluded by emphasizing that Obama could not be elected president again, even if it were constitutionally possible for him to run for a third term.

“By the time of the 2016 presidential election, Hillary will be positioned as a non-Obama, because Obama could not win again. If Obama were to top the ticket as of right now, Republicans could break the 18-state hold the Democrats have on the presidential electorate.”

Buchanan summarized his assessment: “In a contest Romney vs. Obama next week, Romney wins. In a contest Romney vs. Hillary in 2016, Hillary wins, despite Hillary having to spend the remainder of this year and the next two years making her way through choppy waters.”

Read more at WND

Pat Buchanan Reveals the GOP ‘Comeback’ in Nixon

The Greatest Comeback by Pat Buchanan

By Christopher Ruddy at

The Greatest Comeback should be required reading for RNC staff and everyone across the country trying to help the GOP win the Senate… Buchanan’s “Comeback” is a fun read not only for the opportunity to see Nixon in such a personal, behind-the-scenes way, but also for the lessons it offers us today.,,,

I just finished reading Pat Buchanan’s new book about Richard Nixon and his surprise 1968 “comeback” win for president. If you are looking for a great summer read that might help give insight in to how the GOP can start winning again, this is the book.

Indeed, “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority” should be required reading for RNC staff and everyone across the country trying to help the GOP win the Senate.

One surprise for me was to discover how amazingly close Buchanan was to Nixon.

The former vice president plucked Buchanan from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, where he was an editorial writer, and made him one of his earliest staff members in 1966, when Nixon was still a lawyer in New York but was quietly preparing a presidential campaign.

Next to Nixon’s longtime secretary Rose Mary Woods, young Buchanan became Nixon’s campaign staff of one, developing a closeness few ever had with the former vice president — not to mention offering a perch historians could only dream of having.

When Buchanan joined his staff, Nixon was considered a political outcast. As Buchanan recounts, Eisenhower had been reluctant to retain him as vice president during his second term in the White House.

The Greatest ComebackAnd, during Nixon’s tough 1960 presidential campaign against John F. Kennedy, then-President Dwight Eisenhower was asked to give “an example of a major idea of [Nixon] that you had adopted.” Eisenhower tartly replied, “Give me a week; I might think of one.”

Nixon, not surprisingly, suffered a narrow but bitter loss to John F. Kennedy that year, losing by 120,000 votes — just 0.2 percent of the popular vote.

Two years later, he suffered another crushing defeat, losing to Democrat Pat Brown in the California gubernatorial election. That’s when Nixon famously told the press during his concession speech that “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”

But Nixon quietly rebuilt himself. Buchanan points to Nixon’s ability to recognize his shortcomings and his attempts to fix them. For example, in the prelude to his 1968 win, Nixon hired future Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes away from “The Mike Douglas Show,” and made him his executive producer for television in preparation for his next presidential effort.

Nixon did not excel in one-on-one debates, as his 1960 debacle with Kennedy proved. So Ailes helped Nixon communicate and worked to make him more likeable and more accessible to voters by having him speak at town hall-style meetings, taking questions and answers from the public rather than a hostile press.

In Buchanan’s book, I can see some parallels between the 1968 campaign and the political scene today.

While the tea party exerts pressure on the GOP from the right, Nixon faced his “tea party” in the person of third-party candidate George Wallace, who centered his campaign not strictly around segregation, but also on states’ rights and law and order.

On the left, Nixon faced the incumbent vice president, Hubert Humphrey, who was as liberal as any Democratic presidential candidate today.

Within his own party, neither conservative Barry Goldwater nor liberal Republican Nelson Rockefeller embraced Nixon’s campaign early on.

Nixon had an uphill battle inside and outside the party. As Buchanan points out, registered Republicans were in the minority then as now.

Today, according to a Pew study, just 25 percent of voters identified themselves as Republican in 2014. In 1968, Republicans were outnumbered to the extent that the Democrats controlled the House and Senate, with the GOP controlling only 16 of the nation’s state legislatures.

It took a delicate balancing act for Nixon to win. He did so by moving to the middle and widening his appeal among the “silent majority,” a term coined by Buchanan.

In contrast, in 2012, Mitt Romney ran to the right base of the party, not the middle, in his presidential bid. He focused on deporting illegal immigrants, repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, and cutting the deficit.

After winning the primary, he should have followed Nixon’s example, charting a more centrist course by focusing on job creation, a replacement plan for Obamacare, helping students carrying large loans and other issues of concern to large numbers of “middle” voters.

Buchanan’s “Comeback” is a fun read not only for the opportunity to see Nixon in such a personal, behind-the-scenes way, but also for the lessons it offers us today. It had me wanting for the sequel, and why the mastermind of ’68 could end losing the presidency over a third-rate burglary.

Read more at:

Blaze Books In-depth Interview With Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan on the Radio

Senior advisor to president’s Nixon, Ford and Reagan, three-time presidential candidate and syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan sits down with Ben Weingarten of TheBlaze Books to discuss why Tea Partiers should read a book about Nixon, the controversial “Southern Strategy,” President Obama’s Cloward-Piven foreign policy, whether there is any chance Republicans will not cave on immigration reform, how the Establishment/Conservative 2016 GOP presidential race might shake out, the Middle East and Israel and much more.

Listen at Blaze Books…

Buchanan to Salon: A Populist Conservative Candidate Could Beat Hillary

Pat Buchanan

By Scott Porch at Salon.Com

A populist conservative might beat Hillary, he tells Salon — while taking on MSNBC, McCain, the Tea Party and more

After losing the presidential election in 1960 and the California governor’s race in 1962, Nixon famously told reporters: “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.” Soon after, he set up a law practice in New York, where he largely stayed out of the spotlight.

A few years later, Patrick J. Buchanan, a young editorial writer in St. Louis, told Nixon at a local Republican gathering that he wanted to work on what he felt certain would be Nixon’s 1968 presidential campaign. When Buchanan joined Richard Nixon in early 1966, he wasn’t so much joining Nixon’s staff as he was Nixon’s staff.

Nixon’s improbable rise from the has-been heap to the White House is the subject of Buchanan’s new memoir, “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.” Buchanan talked to Salon about the Republican Party’s turnaround in the late 1960s, Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects in 2016, and what Eric Cantor’s recent primary loss means for immigration policy.

When you started working for Nixon in 1966, you were not as lined up with him ideologically as you might have been. Were you conscious of that, or were you looking more for a winner than an ideological match?

I was a very strong conservative in journalism school and at the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and a very strong Goldwater supporter [in 1964]. I was glad he won the nomination. I was elated when he won the California primary over Rockefeller. My feeling at that time was that Goldwater was our candidate. Nixon had lost twice and I liked Nixon — always had, I had caddied for him. But I just thought that was over, so I was for Goldwater.

When Goldwater lost, I looked at the field and said I’d like to get involved in politics. There were only two credible candidates: I didn’t think Rockefeller could get nominated, and the most credible candidate and the one who had been out there strongest fighting for Goldwater and the one who I agreed with most on foreign policy was Richard Nixon.

Were we in 100 percent agreement? No, not at all. I was known as the conservative in the Nixon camp.

Was Barry Goldwater too conservative to get elected president in 1964, or do you think there were other reasons why he lost that election?

I think there are several. First, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the rise of Lyndon Johnson. Johnson was not like Kennedy and was sort of an ideal opponent for Barry Goldwater. I don’t think Barry Goldwater, incidentally, would have beaten John F. Kennedy, but I don’t think it would have been that tremendous loss that occurred. With Kennedy’s assassination, the country didn’t really want to change presidents three times in one year. Second, Johnson was bombing North Vietnam in 1964, taking a very hard line, and taking a very hard line on law and order. Goldwater was not as dramatic a contrast. Third, the senator made a lot of mistakes. Fourth, the Republican Party was split and torn apart in that ’64 convention at the Cow Palace [in San Francisco].

I think all of those reasons contributed, and I do agree with this: The country was not ready for Barry Goldwater conservatism in 1964.

Did you think a winning Republican in ’68 would either have to be less conservative or a conservative wolf in sheep’s clothing?

[Laughs.] What I felt was we couldn’t nominate and elect a man as visibly conservative as Barry Goldwater, and we had to go with the next best thing, which was Richard Nixon. I thought Nixon undeniably was more experienced and able and competent a campaigner and executive than Sen. Goldwater, and I thought looking at 1968, if you looked at the entire field, Richard Nixon was far and away the most conservative of the candidates.

I never really thought about 1968 as a less conservative field than ’64.

In 1968, Ronald Reagan was enormously attractive. He was attractive even before he was elected because of that 1964 speech [at the Republican Convention]. And then he won California [as governor in 1966] by a million votes, and a lot of conservatives I knew would have moved to him. I was far more fearful of a Reagan challenge than the Romney-Rockefeller wing of the party.

When you joined Nixon in 1966, did you think he would probably run for president?

When I went and talked to him, I said, “If you’re going to run for president in ’68, I would like to get aboard early.” That’s in December of 1965. And he said, “Before any decisions are made about ’68, we’re going to have to rebuild the base of this party in 1966 or the nomination isn’t going to be worth anything.” He only hired me for one year to work on his columns, handle his mail in his office, and the duties — as you find out in the book — expanded dramatically.

He had a tremendously successful year in 1966, and I think he was primarily responsible, if any individual was, for the tremendous showing of the Republican Party, and he put everything out there on the line. It’s one thing I admired about Nixon. Whatever you say about him, he was a fighter and he was a loyalist and he went out for every Republican running in 1966 except for members of the John Birch Society.

Your book has a bibliography, and you quote a number of great books. I feel like we don’t see this approach enough in political memoir.

I talked to Jules Witcover the other night. He wrote “The Resurrection of Richard Nixon.” I had contributed to that in interviews with him over the ’66 to ’69 period and afterwards. I got a lot out of his book and other books, and I figure you ought to credit the people who have refreshed your memory.

Have you heard or read much of the most recent batch of Nixon tapes?

If you know the history of it, you know that I recommended that Nixon destroy the tapes. After [Alexander] Butterfield testified that there were tapes, I wrote a memo to Nixon saying you have to maintain the tapes that [John] Dean described and you have to maintain the foreign policy tapes that are critical, but as for the rest, I would destroy them.

Historian Douglas Brinkley has said that the main reason Nixon made the tapes was for his foreign policy legacy. Do you see it that way?

I think that’s one thing. But let me tell you one other that has not been reported very much or hardly at all. When we started the administration, [William] Safire, [Ray] Price and Buchanan — the senior speechwriters — were assigned to various meetings to come in as a reporter would. Mine was congressional leadership. What we were instructed to do was write down anecdotes and stories and decisions just as a reporter would. We would write all those down; some of mine were 10 pages single-spaced. I just smoked through the typewriter, had them retyped, and then I’d edit them. And I would send them across to [H.R.] Haldeman for the files.

My assumption was that they were for two purposes: one, if there was a dispute over what somebody said, they could go to those files, and two, that [Nixon] would have the record when it came time to write his memoirs. At some point, we were called and told to stop covering the meetings.

Because they were then being taped?

That is my conclusion, that at that point the tapes were put in, and they were voice-activated so everything said was being recorded.

Former presidents typically go through several seasons of historical assessment — memoirs by White House aides, then National Archives records, then seeing how their policies turn out. What do you think the arc of the history of the Nixon administration has been? Obviously, it started at a low point.

That’s a very interesting question. When I was very young, my father was interested in politics. He was hard-line anti-FDR and anti-Truman, and I remember when Truman departed, he was below Nixon in approval. His presidency was considered a disaster, he had lost both houses of Congress in ’52 and the presidency to Eisenhower. He was considered in his second term very much a failed president.

Truman has been resurrected to where many historians say he’s in the top 10 and a near-great president. Ronald Reagan because of what followed with the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the economy had been booming under Reagan, so he has really risen to the point where — of course, conservatives put him among the greats, but even liberals are not objecting to near-great.

What about Nixon?

With Nixon, there’s only two things people think about: China and Watergate. My period working with him was almost nine years, and Watergate did not occur until almost the seventh year of that. I think there’s going to be a dramatic reassessment of Nixon. In his first term, I think it’s fair to call him a near-great president.

There was the historic opening to China, the greatest arms control agreement since the Washington Naval Agreement of 1921-22 with the Russians, the first president to go behind the Iron Curtain to countries there. In October ’73, he saved Israel in the Yom Kippur War, and he brought Egypt out of the Soviet orbit and into the Western orbit. He ended the War in Vietnam, as he promised to do, with all provincial capitals in Saigon’s hands. He brought the POWs home. He ended the draft. He enacted the 18-year-old vote. He created the EPA, which when it started was a good agency with conservatives agreeing with much of what it was doing. He created the Cancer Institute. He created OSHA. He was the president who was there when we put men on the moon.

I saw in a review of my book by the Economist magazine, which said that if Nixon had not run for a second term, he would be a hugely successful president. I remember Hugh Sidey wrote in 1972, which was before Watergate broke, that Nixon had presided over the cooling of America after the horrendous decade since Kennedy was assassinated and the riots and the disorder and assassinations, and the social/cultural/moral revolution, the upheaval on campuses, and a violent, divisive war. And I think that was right. But then came Watergate, and I think that blots out in the public mind — because of the focus on it — almost everything that happened in the first term but China.

Are you planning to write a second book about the Nixon years?

I sat down to write and started going through my files. There were all these interesting things that had happened and that nobody knew about and nobody has written about. And I thought this was a book in and of itself: how Nixon came back and what he accomplished after his own crushing defeats in ’60 and ’62 and the [Republican] Party’s crushing defeat in ’64. When everybody is talking about the Republican Party going off the cliff and being dead for a generation, and he pulled it all back together.

He pulled the Rockefeller-Scranton-Romney wing back in under the tent, brought in the Goldwater wing and the Reagan wing, put it all together and sought to split off the Southern Protestants and Northern Catholics [from the Democrats]. While he succeed with that in ’68, he did succeed by ’72. It’s an incredible achievement.

You could be accused of cherry-picking the good part of the Nixon story, but I don’t hear you saying that’s why you stopped where you did.

It’s the 40th anniversary [of Nixon’s resignation]. People have asked me to go on TV to talk about the pardon and other things. I did it as sort of a natural breakpoint. It is a separate, unique story after two crushing defeats and giving up politics and moving to New York and then the crushing defeat of the Republican Party [in 1964] to the point where the Republicans were outnumbered more than 2-to-1 in the House, more than 2-to-1 in the Senate, more than 2-to-1 among the governorships, and 2-to-1 in the state legislatures. Nixon pulled the pieces together to bring himself to the presidency of the United States in that turbulent decade. That is a story itself.

MSNBC ended a long relationship with you in 2012. Have you been invited on MSNBC to talk about the book?

I have not been invited by MNSBC yet, but we have some things scheduled on CNN and Fox and Fox Business.

Do you feel like you’re getting a rough treatment?

I don’t know. I’m sure that our people will be talking to them, and there are some shows that I think might be interested, although they have a different point of view clearly than Fox and others, especially about Nixon.

If you were building a Republican challenger from scratch to take on Hillary Clinton in 2016, what would that person look like?

I thought she ran a great campaign [in 2008]. I don’t think her record as secretary of state or the Obama record is something she can run on. I think she’s had a very bad book tour; it’s not a scintillating book, it’s not done her much good, and all the comments about the money and how poor they were have approached the ridiculous and been damaging.

However, I think as of today she would probably win the nomination, and as of today I think she would win the presidential election. Do I see a single candidate who has many of the things I would like to see in a Republican presidential candidate who could really rally the country and win the election? No, I don’t.

What kind of GOP candidate could beat her?

I would say a populist conservative who is going to bring jobs back home to the United States, who is going to seal and secure the border, who is not going to grant amnesty, and who is going to get the United States out of all these wars and all these commitments to protect everybody on earth against any and all attacks. It would be a very dramatic break of the policies of both national parties.

I believe a lot of the ideas I ran on [for president] in the ’90s like nonintervention in foreign wars that are none of our business, securing the borders, which I argued for 25 years ago, and stopping the export of U.S. manufacturing jobs to China and Asia. All these things are now current and much stronger than they were then. I think you need a fighting, populist, conservative campaign aimed at the working and middle class where you tell some of the Fortune 500 folks that you guys are going to have to spend a little time in the back row.

By most accounts, Hillary Clinton was an aggressive proponent of military intervention as secretary of state.

Look, if she wants to go fight wars around the world I would say, “No, we’re not going to do that anymore.” We did it under Bush and look what happened.

Does Rand Paul look as much like an ideal challenger as anyone?

I think his reluctance to send troops to intervene in places like Syria and Ukraine and Georgia and where else the John McCain-Lindsey Graham coalition wants to send them — I think he’s right on the mark there.

Eric Cantor’s loss in light of some data points in the weeks since appears to be a fluke. Is that your assessment?

No, I don’t think so. My assessment is that Eric Cantor got hurt badly by the perception that he was for amnesty on the immigration issue. The Tea Party may have lost in Mississippi [in the Senate race], but the impact of these races is on policy in the House; immigration is off the table. I think that’s [David] Brat’s success.

“Amnesty” is a loaded word. Shouldn’t we have an immigration policy that deals with the people who are here in a way that reflects the fact that they are here?

The first thing you do is secure the border. You enforce e-verify with businesses who are breaking the law as much as any illegal immigrant is breaking the law. When that is done, then you take a look at these other matters. Until that is done, I would have no amnesty. People say they are living in the shadows. They broke into the country; they’re living outside the law. That’s what they chose to do.

You haven’t slowed down. Are you happy to continue working and writing and doing what you’re doing for the indefinite future?

[Laughs heartily.] I don’t know how long the indefinite future is going to be! I enjoy writing. I enjoy communicating in interviews and on TV. I’m not seeking a permanent TV slot where I have to go in every day. Doing what I’m doing right now, doing this book tour — I enjoy these things. I always have.

Scott Porch is an attorney and contributor to The Daily Beast, Kirkus Reviews, and Salon. He writes about American history, politics, and culture and is writing a book about social upheaval in the 1960s and ’70s.

Read more at: Salon.Com

Impeachment, a Bridge Too Far


By Patrick J. Buchanan

Increasingly, across this city, the “I” word is being heard.

Impeachment is being brought up by Republicans outraged over Barack Obama’s usurpations of power and unilateral rewriting of laws. And Obama is taunting John Boehner and the GOP: “So sue me.”

Democrats are talking impeachment to rally a lethargic base to come out and vote this fall to prevent Republicans from taking control of the Senate, and with it the power to convict an impeached president.

Still, Republicans should drop the talk of impeachment.

For the GOP would gain nothing and risk everything if the people began to take seriously their threats to do to Barack Obama what Newt Gingrich’s House did to Bill Clinton.

The charges for which a president can be impeached and removed from office, are “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

With Bill Clinton, the impeachers had a solid case of perjury.

With Richard Nixon, they had a preponderance of evidence that, at least for a time, he had sought to obstruct justice in the investigation of the Watergate break-in.

Article II of the impeachment of Richard Nixon was for misuse of the IRS in what turned out to be futile and failed attempts to have the agency harass political enemies by having them audited.

As yet there is no evidence Obama knew of the IRS plot to delay and deny tax exemptions to Tea Party groups, which would be an abuse of power and a trampling upon the constitutional rights of Tea Partiers, who were denied the equal protection of the laws.

The GOP response to the lost emails of Lois Lerner and crashed computers that went missing should be a drumbeat of demands for the appointment of an independent counsel, not an impeachment committee in the House.

Obama claims he did not learn of the IRS abuse until years after it began, and weeks after his White House staff learned of it.

In the absence of those emails, the claim cannot be refuted.

In the Benghazi scandal, the president’s defense is the same.

He had no idea what was going on. And cluelessness appears here to be a credible defense. Two weeks after the Benghazi atrocity, Obama was at the U.N. still parroting the Susan Rice line about an anti-Muslim video having been the cause of it all.

Has the president unilaterally rewritten the Obamacare law, while ignoring the Congress that wrote it? Indeed, he has.

But would a Republican Party that failed and folded when it tried to use its legitimate power of the purse to defund Obamacare really stand firm in an Antietam battle to impeach a president of the United States?

Or is this just “beer talk”?

Impeachment is in the last analysis a political act.

The impeachment of Nixon was a coup d’etat by liberal enemies who, though repudiated and routed by the electorate in 1972, still retained the institutional power to break him and destroy his presidency.

And, undeniably, he gave them the tools.

In the case of Nixon, political enemies controlled both houses of the Congress. Washington was a hostile city. Though he had swept 49 states, Nixon lost D.C. 3-to-1. The bureaucracy built up in the New Deal and Great Society was deep-dyed Democratic.

Most crucially, the Big Media whose liberal bias had been exposed by Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew were hell-bent on revenge.

All three power centers — the bureaucracy, Congress, the Big Media — worked in harness to bring Nixon down.

No such powerful and hostile coalition exists today with Obama.

In 2008, Obama carried D.C. 24-to-1 over John McCain. The White House Correspondents Association has at times behaved like an Obama super PAC. Liberal Democrats dominate the bureaucracy and control the Senate.

Any Republican attempt at impeachment would go up against a stacked deck. And the GOP would be throwing away a winning hand for a losing one.

For while the American people have shown no interest in impeaching Obama, they are coming to believe they elected an incompetent executive and compulsive speechmaker who does not know what the presidency requires and who equates talk with action.

With the economy shrinking 3 percent in the first quarter, with Obama sinking in public approval, and with the IRS, NSA and VA scandals bubbling, why would Republicans change the subject to impeachment?

The effect would be to enrage and energize the Democratic base, bring out the African-American vote in force and cause the major media to charge the GOP with a racist scheme to discredit and destroy our first black president.

Does the GOP really want a fight on that turf, when they currently hold the high ground? If you are winning an argument, why change the subject?

If the nation is led to believe Republicans seek to gain the Senate so they can remove Barack Obama from office after a GOP-led impeachment, then Republicans are not likely to win the Senate.

Maybe that is why the Democrats are wailing about impeachment.

Republicans should take away the football.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.