Pressed by moderator Chris Wallace as to whether he would accept defeat should Hillary Clinton win the election, Donald Trump replied, “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
“That’s horrifying,” said Clinton, setting off a chain reaction on the post-debate panels with talking heads falling all over one another in purple-faced anger, outrage, and disbelief.
“Disqualifying!” was the cry on Clinton cable.
“Trump Won’t Say If He Will Accept Election Results,” wailed the New York Times. “Trump Won’t Vow to Honor Results,” ran the banner in the Washington Post.
But what do these chattering classes and establishment bulletin boards think the Donald is going to do if he falls short of 270 electoral votes?
Lead a Coxey’s Army on Washington and burn it down as British Gen. Robert Ross did in August 1814, while “Little Jemmy” Madison fled on horseback out the Brookeville Road?
What explains the hysteria of the establishment?
In a word, fear.
The establishment is horrified at the Donald’s defiance because, deep within its soul, it fears that the people for whom Trump speaks no longer accept its political legitimacy or moral authority.
It may rule and run the country, and may rig the system through mass immigration and a mammoth welfare state so that Middle America is never again able to elect one of its own. But that establishment, disconnected from the people it rules, senses, rightly, that it is unloved and even detested.
Having fixed the future, the establishment finds half of the country looking upon it with the same sullen contempt that our Founding Fathers came to look upon the overlords Parliament sent to rule them.
Establishment panic is traceable to another fear: its ideology, its political religion, is seen by growing millions as a golden calf, a 20th-century god that has failed.
Trump is “talking down our democracy,” said a shocked Clinton.
After having expunged Christianity from our public life and public square, our establishment installed “democracy” as the new deity, at whose altars we should all worship. And so our schools began to teach.
Half a millennia ago, missionaries and explorers set sail from Spain, England, and France to bring Christianity to the New World.
Today, Clintons, Obamas, and Bushes send soldiers and secularist tutors to “establish democracy” among the “lesser breeds without the Law.”
Unfortunately, the natives, once democratized, return to their roots and vote for Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood, using democratic processes and procedures to reestablish their true God.
And Allah is no democrat.
By suggesting he might not accept the results of a “rigged election,” Trump is committing an unpardonable sin. But this new cult, this devotion to a new holy trinity of diversity, democracy, and equality, is of recent vintage and has shallow roots.
For none of the three—diversity, equality, democracy—is to be found in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers, or the Pledge of Allegiance. In the pledge, we are a republic.
When Ben Franklin, emerging from the Philadelphia convention, was asked by a woman what kind of government they had created, he answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Among many in the silent majority, Clintonian democracy is not an improvement upon the old republic; it is the corruption of it.
Consider: six months ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton bundler, announced that by executive action he would convert 200,000 convicted felons into eligible voters by November.
If that is democracy, many will say, to hell with it.
And if felons decide the electoral votes of Virginia, and Virginia decides who is our next U.S. president, are we obligated to honor that election?
In 1824, Gen. Andrew Jackson ran first in popular and electoral votes. But, short of a majority, the matter went to the House.
There, Speaker Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams delivered the presidency to Adams—and Adams made Clay secretary of state, putting him on the path to the presidency that had been taken by Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Adams himself.
Were Jackson’s people wrong to regard as a “corrupt bargain” the deal that robbed the general of the presidency?
The establishment also recoiled in horror from Milwaukee Sheriff Dave Clarke’s declaration that it is now “torches and pitchforks time.”
Yet, some of us recall another time, when Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote in “Points of Rebellion”: “We must realize that today’s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.”
Baby-boomer radicals loved it, raising their fists in defiance of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
But now that it is the populist-nationalist right that is moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy to save the America that they love, elitist enthusiasm for “revolution” seems more constrained.
What goes around comes around.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
“Remember, it’s a rigged system. It’s a rigged election,” said Donald Trump in New Hampshire on Saturday.
The stunned recoil in this city suggests this bunker buster went right down the chimney. As the French put it, “Il n’y a que la verite qui blesse.” It is only the truth that hurts.
In what sense is the system rigged?
Consider Big Media—the elite columnists and commentators, the dominant national press, and the national and cable networks, save FOX. Not in this writer’s lifetime has there been such blanket hatred and hostility of a presidential candidate of a major party.
“So what?” They reply. “We have a free press!”
But in this election, Big Media have burst out of the closet as an adjunct of the regime and the attack arm of the Clinton campaign, aiming to bring Trump down.
Half a century ago, Theodore White wrote of the power and bias of the “adversary press” that sought to bring down Richard Nixon.
“The power of the press in America,” wrote Teddy, “is a primordial one. It sets the agenda of public discussion; and this sweeping power is unrestrained by any law. It determines what people will talk about and think about—an authority that in other nations is reserved for tyrants, priests, parties and mandarins.”
On ABC’s “This Week,” Newt Gingrich volunteered on Sunday that, “without the unending one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating Hillary by 15 points.”
On this one, Newt is right.
With all due respect, as adversaries, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are not terribly formidable. Big Media is the power that sustains the forces of globalism against those of Americanism.
Is the system rigged? Ask yourself.
For half a century, the U.S. Supreme Court has systematically de-Christianized and paganized American society and declared abortion and homosexual marriage constitutional rights.
Where did these unelected jurists get the right to impose their views and values upon us, and remake America in their own secularist image? Was that really the Court’s role in the Constitution?
How did we wind up with an all-powerful judicial tyranny in a nation the Founding Fathers created as a democratic republic?
There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants here, with millions more coming. Yet the government consistently refuses to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.
Why should those Americans whose ancestors created, fought, bled and died to preserve America not believe they and their children are being dispossessed of a country that was their patrimony—and without their consent?
When did the country vote to convert the America we grew up in into the Third World country our descendants will inherit in 2042?
In the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a Congressional majority voted to end discrimination against black folks.
When did we vote to institute pervasive discrimination against white folks, especially white males, with affirmative action, quotas and racial set-asides? Even in blue states like California, affirmative action is routinely rejected in statewide ballots.
Yet it remains regime policy, embedded in the bureaucracy.
In 2015, in the Democratic primaries, the big enthusiastic crowds were all for 75-year-old Socialist senator Bernie Sanders.
We now know, thanks to leaked emails, that not only the superdelegates and the Obama White House but a collaborationist press and the DNC were colluding to deny Sanders any chance at the nomination.
The fix was in. Ask Sanders if he thinks the system is rigged.
If there is an issue upon which Americans agree, it is that they want secure borders and an end to trade policies that have shipped abroad the jobs, and arrested the wages, of working Americans.
Yet in a private speech that netted her $225,000 from Brazilian bankers, Hillary Clinton confided that she dreams of a “common market, with open trade and open borders” from Nome, Alaska, to Patagonia.
That would mean the end of the USA as a unique, sovereign and independent nation. But the American press, whose survival depends upon the big ad dollars of transnational corporations, is more interested in old tapes of the Donald on The Howard Stern Show.
As present, it appears that in 2017, we may get a government headed by Hillary Clinton, and an opposition headed by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.
Is that what the people were hoping for, working for, voting for in the primaries of 2016? Or is this what they were voting against?
Big money and the media power of the establishment elites and the transnationals may well prevail.
And if they do, Middle America—those who cling to their bibles, bigotries and guns in Barack Obama’s depiction, those “deplorables” who are “racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic,” who are “not America” and are “irredeemable” in Hillary Clinton’s depiction—will have to accept the new regime.
But that does not mean they must love it, like it or respect it.
Because, in the last analysis, yes, Virginia, the system is rigged.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
Will Hillary Clinton clean out the nest of anti-Catholic bigots in her inner circle? Or is anti-Catholicism acceptable in her crowd?
In a 2011 email on which Clinton campaign chief John Podesta was copied, John Halpin, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, which Podesta founded, trashed Rupert Murdoch for raising his kids in a misogynist religion.
The most “powerful elements” in the conservative movement are Catholic, railed Halpin: “It’s an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backward gender relations.”
Clinton spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri agreed: “I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn’t understand if they become evangelical.”
“Excellent point,” replied Halpin. “They can throw around ‘Thomistic’ thought and ‘subsidiarity’ and sound sophisticated because no one knows what the hell they are talking about.”
What the pair is mocking here are both the faith decisions of the Murdoch family and traditional Catholic beliefs and social teaching.
This is a pristine example of the anti-Catholicism that historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr. called “the deepest-held bias in the history of the American people.”
In another email in this latest document dump from WikiLeaks, writes Ben Wolfgang of the Washington Times, Podesta and Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, mocked the Miss America pageant, because so many finalists are Southern girls and young women.
Said Podesta, “Do you think it’s weird that of the 15 finalists in the Miss America, 10 came from the 11 states of the CSA?”
The CSA would be the Confederate States of America.
“Not at all,” says Tanden, “I would imagine the only people who watch it are from the confederacy and by now they know that so they’ve rigged the thing in their honor.”
In another email, Podesta himself uses the sort of language liberals once said disqualified Nixon from staying on as president—regarding former Gov. Bill Richardson. Podesta refers to him and other Hispanics whom he is trying to court for Clinton as “needy Latinos.”
What these emails reveal is the sneering contempt of liberal elites for Catholics, Evangelical Christians, Southerners, and even Hispanics loyal to them. And the contents of these emails correlate with the revealed bigotries of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
In September, Clinton told a gathering of rich contributors at a gay rights fundraiser in New York City: “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic—you name it.”
Responding to the cheers and laughter, Clinton went on, “Now, some of those folks—they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
What Clinton said to the LGBT partisans echoed what Obama told rich contributors in San Francisco in 2008, who wondered why he was not doing better in Pennsylvania.
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and … the jobs have been gone now for 25 years. … And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Obama was saying that when small-town Pennsylvanians fall behind, they blame others and revert to their bibles, bigotries, and guns.
Yet Obama has never explained what caused him to sit content for 20 years—and be married and have his daughters baptized—in the church of a ranting racist like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who, at the time of 9/11, roared from his pulpit, “God damn America!”
What so attracted Barack Obama to the Reverend Wright’s bigotry?
These latest emails confirm what we already knew.
Our elites, who are forever charging others with “racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia,” are steeped in their own bigotries—toward Southerners, conservatives, Middle Americans, Evangelical Christians, and traditionalist Catholics—the “irredeemables.”
Though the election is still a month off, the campaign of 2016 has already done irreparable damage to the American establishment.
Its roots in the nation it purports to lead have been attenuated if not severed. It has shown the world a portrait of American democracy at its apex that approaches the repellent.
Through the savagery of its attacks on those who have risen up against it, the establishment has stripped itself of all claim to be the moral leader of American society. Its moral authority is gone.
Even if Clinton wins, it can no longer credibly speak for America.
As for the national press corps—the Fourth Estate—it has been compromised, its credibility crippled, as some of the greatest of the press institutions have nakedly shilled for the regime candidate, while others have been exposed as propagandists or corrupt collaborators posturing as objective reporters.
What institution in America today, besides the military, enjoys national respect? And if people do not respect the regime, if they believe it acts in its own cold interest rather than the nation’s, why should they respect or follow its leadership?
We have entered uncharted waters.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
Donald Trump turned in perhaps the most effective performance in the history of presidential debates on Sunday night.
As the day began, he had been denounced by his wife, Mike Pence, and his own staff for a tape of crude and lewd remarks in a decade-old “locker room” conversation on a bus with Billy Bush of Access Hollywood.
Tasting blood, the media were in a feeding frenzy. Trump is dropping out! Pence is bolting the ticket! Republican elites are about to disown and abandon the Republican nominee!
Sometime this weekend, Trump made a decision: If he is going down to defeat, he will go out as Trump, not some sniveling penitent begging forgiveness from hypocrites who fear and loathe him.
His first move was to host a press availability, before the debate, where a small sampling of Bill Clinton’s alleged victims—Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick—made brief statements endorsing Trump and denouncing the misogyny of the Clintons.
“Mr. Trump may have said some bad words, but Bill Clinton raped me,” said Broaddrick, “and Hillary Clinton threatened me.”
The press had to cover it. Then the women marched into the auditorium at Washington University to watch Hillary Clinton defend her behavior toward them after their encounters with Bill.
As the moderators and Hillary Clinton scrambled to refocus on Trump’s comments of a decade ago, Trump brought it back to Bill’s criminal misconduct against women, his lying about it, and Hillary’s aiding and abetting of the First Predator.
It was like a tawdry courtroom drama in an X-rated movie, a new low in presidential debates. But what it revealed is that if Trump is going down, his enemies will carry away their own permanent scars.
As Caesar said of Cassius, “Such men are dangerous.”
Hillary Clinton has never been hammered as she was Sunday night, and it showed. Knocked off her game, she was no longer the prim and poised debater of Hofstra University.
There were other signs that, win or lose, Trump intends to finish the campaign as he began, as a populist-nationalist and unapologetic adversary of open borders, globalization, and neo-imperialism.
When moderators Martha Raddatz and Anderson Cooper revealed their bias by asking Trump tougher questions and more follow-ups, and interrupting him more rudely and often, he called them out.
“It’s one on three!” said Trump. And it sure looked like it.
How could the moderators have ignored that other leak of last week, of Clinton’s speech to Brazilian bankers where she confessed she “dreams” of a “hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders”?
If the quote is accurate, and Clinton has not denied it, she was saying she dreams of a future when the United States ceases to exist as a separate, sovereign, and independent nation.
She envisions not just a North American Union evolving out of NAFTA but a merger of all the nations of North, South, and Central America, with all borders erased and people moving freely from one place to another within a hemispheric super-state.
If this quote is accurate, Clinton is working toward an end to the independence for which our Founding Fathers fought the American Revolution.
After all, Thomas Jefferson did not write some declaration of diversity in 1776, but a Declaration of Independence for a new, unique, and separate people.
Clinton dreams of doing away with what American patriots cherish most.
When the issue of Syria arose, Clinton said she favors a “no-fly zone.” Unanswered, indeed unasked by the moderators, was whether she would order the shooting down of Syrian or Russian planes that violate the zone.
Yet, what she is suggesting are acts of war against Syria, and Russia if necessary, though Congress has never authorized a war on Syria, and Syria has not attacked us.
Trump did not hesitate to overrule the suggestion of Mike Pence that we follow Clinton’s formula. He believes ISIS is our enemy, and if Syria, Russia, and Iran are attacking ISIS, we ought not to be fighting them.
As of sunrise Sunday, the media were writing Trump off as dead.
By Sunday night, they were as shocked and stunned as Hillary and Bill.
What did Trump accomplish in 18 hours?
He rattled Hillary Clinton, firmed up and rallied his base, halted the stampede of the cut-and-run Republicans, and exposed the hypocrisy of liberal and secular celebrants of the ’60s “sexual revolution,” who have suddenly gotten religion where Trump is involved.
Trump exposed the fraudulence of the Clintons’ clucking concern for sexually abused women, brought Pence back into camp, turned the tables, and changed the subject from the Trump tapes to the Trump triumph at Washington University.
Upshot: the Donald is alive.
While his path to 270 electoral votes still looks more than problematic, there is a month to go before the election, and anything can happen.
Indeed, it already has—many times.
Denouncing Russian air strikes on Aleppo as “barbaric,” Mike Pence declared in Tuesday’s debate:
“The provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength. … The United States of America should be prepared to use military force, to strike military targets of Bashar Assad regime.”
John McCain went further:
“The U.S. … must issue an ultimatum to Mr. Assad — stop flying or lose your aircraft … If Russia continues its indiscriminate bombing, we should make clear that we will take steps to hold its aircraft at greater risk.”
Yet one gets the impression this is bluster and bluff.
Pence has walked his warnings back. And there are few echoes of McCain’s hawkishness. Even Hillary Clinton’s call for a “no-fly zone” has been muted.
The American people have no stomach for a new war in Syria.
Nor does it make sense to expand our enemies list in that bleeding and broken country — from ISIS and the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front — to Syria’s armed forces, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.
These last three have been battling to save Assad’s regime, because they see vital interests imperiled should it fall.
We have not plunged into Syria, because we have no vital interest at risk in Syria. We have lived with the Assads since Richard Nixon went to Damascus.
President Obama, who has four months left in office, is not going to intervene. And Congress, which has the sole power to declare war, has never authorized a war on Syria.
Obama would be committing an impeachable act if he started shooting down Russian or Syrian planes over Syrian territory. He might also be putting us on the escalator to World War III.
For Russia has moved its S-400 anti-aircraft system into Syria to its air base near Latakia, and its S-300 system to its naval base at Tartus.
As the rebels have no air force, that message is for us.
Russia is also moving its aircraft carrier, Admiral Kuznetsov, into the Med. Vladimir Putin is doubling down in Syria.
Last weekend, the Russian Foreign Ministry warned that U.S. attacks in Syria “will lead to terrible tectonic consequences not only on the territory of this country but also in the region on the whole.”
Translation: Attack Syria’s air force, and the war you Americans start could encompass the entire Middle East.
Last week, too, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, warned that creating a “no-fly zone” in Syria could mean war — with Russia. Dunford’s crisp retort to Sen. Roger Wicker:
“Right now, senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria it would require us to go to war, against Syria and Russia. That’s a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make.”
And neither, thankfully, will Barack Obama.
So, where are we, and how did we get here?
Five years ago, Obama declared that Assad must step down. Ignoring him, Assad went all out to crush the rebels, both those we backed and the Islamist terrorists.
Obama then drew a “red line,” declaring that Assad’s use of chemical weapons would lead to U.S. strikes. But when Obama readied military action in 2013, Americans rose up and roared, “No!”
Reading the country right, Congress refused to authorize U.S. military action. Egg all over his face, Obama again backed down.
When Assad began losing the war, Putin stepped in to save his lone Arab ally, and swiftly reversed Assad’s fortunes.
Now, with 10,000 troops — Syrian, Iraqi Shiite militia, Hezbollah, Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Afghan mercenaries — poised to attack Aleppo, backed by Russian air power, Assad may be on the cusp of victory in the bloodiest and most decisive battle of the war.
Assad and his allies intend to end this war — by winning it.
For the U.S. to reverse his gains now, and effect his removal, would require the introduction of massive U.S. air power and U.S. troops, and congressional authorization for war in Syria.
The time has come to recognize and accept reality.
While the U.S. and its Turkish, Kurdish and Sunni allies, working with the Assad coalition of Russia, Hezbollah and the Iranians, can crush ISIS and al-Qaida in Syria, we cannot defeat the Assad coalition — not without risking a world war.
And Congress would never authorize such a war, nor would the American people sustain it.
As of today, there is no possibility that the rebels we back could defeat ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, let alone bring down Bashar Assad and run the Russians, Hezbollah, Iran and the Iraqi Shiite militias out of Syria.
Time to stop the killing, stop the carnage, stop the war and get the best terms for peace we can get. For continuing this war, when the prospects of victory are nil, raises its own question of morality.
In taking that $915 million loss in 1995, and carrying it forward to shelter future income, Donald Trump did nothing wrong. By both his family and his business, he did everything right.
In a famous 1947 dissent, Judge Learned Hand wrote:
[T]here is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. … Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.
This writer’s father spent his career as a tax accountant who studied tax codes and utilized every permissible deduction to keep his clients’ tax bills as low as legally possible.
That was his business, as it is the business of every accountant, including those who prepare the returns of the politicians and journalists piling on Trump as some sort of scofflaw tax cheat who has evaded his moral obligations to the state.
One needs a machete to cut through this hypocrisy.
Hillary Clinton benefited from a $700,000 loss on her 2015 income taxes. In the days of poverty in Arkansas, she took a $2 deduction for a contribution to charity of Bill’s old underpants.
Five weeks before Election Day, Trump’s taxes have displaced the former Miss Universe as the critical issue, as determined by the anti-Trump media.
Their motivation is not difficult to discern. Their goals are two. First, make Trump unacceptable as an agent of change. Second, keep the people distracted from their determination to rid America of the incompetent and corrupt ruling class that controls this capital city.
Consider but a few of the disasters that the establishment does not want discussed or debated, or the American people thinking about when they head for the polls in November.
There is the great betrayal of the American working class, the deindustrialization of the country, and the loss of economic independence it took America a century to achieve.
This disaster was produced by the trade deals enacted by Beltway politicians for the corporate contributors of their campaigns whose highest loyalty is to the bottom line of a balance sheet.
On behalf of these specials interests, U.S. politicians made the People’s Republic of China the greatest manufacturing power on earth and halted the traditional annual rise in wages of our working men and women.
Beijing is now using the wealth compiled to build up their air, naval, and missile forces to push us out of Asia and back across the Pacific.
Then there is the illegal invasion of America and Europe by the impoverished masses of the south, who have never before been fully assimilated into any Western nation.
Unrivaled since the last days of the Roman Empire, this invasion has Americans pleading for a security wall on their border, has propelled Britain’s exit from the EU, and could yet cause a breakup of Europe.
What is at stake here? Ultimately, Western civilization.
We have wars going with no end in sight in Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen. We have Beltway hawks howling for a “no-fly zone” and the shooting down of Syrian planes, through the chairman of the Joint Chiefs warns this could mean war with Russia.
The War Party does not want Americans heading to the polls thinking of the thousands of dead and wounded and trillions of dollars lost in their misbegotten adventures in the Middle and Near East.
Trump is new to national politics. Yet, with all the mistakes he has made, and all the savagery of the media attacks upon him, he is still, remarkably, very much in the race for president of the United States.
That his crowds remain huge and his following loyal, and that he remains competitive, testifies to the depth of the detestation of our cultural, political, and media elites out there in Middle America.
But what happens if Hillary Clinton’s media acolytes keep the country’s focus on trivial pursuits, and she prevails?
What happens to America, if the uprisings and rebellions in the two parties—Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the GOP, the Bernie Sanders revolt in the Democratic Party—are turned back, and we get in 2017 the same old people and same old policies we repudiated in 2015 and 2016?
What happens if the election, in which America demanded change in both parties, results in change in neither party?
One wonders: do America’s reigning elites believe the Trump movement is but a passing phase? Do they believe that the rise of populist and nationalist parties across Europe is but a seasonal epidemic of the flu that will die out, after which we can all get back to building the New World Order of Bush I and Barack Obama?
Will history look back upon 2016 as a system failure?
Is America still a serious nation?
Consider. While U.S. elites were denouncing Donald Trump as unfit to serve for having compared Miss Universe 1996 to Miss Piggy of the Muppets, the World Trade Organization was validating the principal plank of his platform.
America’s allies are cheating and robbing her blind on trade.
According to the WTO, Britain, France, Spain, Germany, and the EU pumped $22 billion in illegal subsidies into Airbus to swindle Boeing out of the sale of 375 commercial jets.
Subsidies to the A320 caused lost sales of 271 Boeing 737s, writes journalist Alan Boyle. Subsidies for planes in the twin-aisle market cost the sale of 50 Boeing 767s, 777s, and 787s. And subsidies to the A380 cost Boeing the sale of 54 747s. These represent crippling losses for Boeing, a crown jewel of U.S. manufacturing and a critical component of our national defense.
Earlier, writes Boyle, the WTO ruled that “without the subsidies, Airbus would not have existed … and there would be no Airbus aircraft on the market.”
In The Great Betrayal in 1998, I noted that in its first 25 years the socialist cartel called Airbus Industrie “sold 770 planes to 102 airlines but did not make a penny of profit.”
Richard Evans of British Aerospace explained: “Airbus is going to attack the Americans, including Boeing, until they bleed and scream.” And another executive said, “If Airbus has to give away planes, we will do it.”
When Europe’s taxpayers objected to the $26 billion in subsidies Airbus had gotten by 1990, German aerospace coordinator Erich Riedl was dismissive: “We don’t care about criticism from small-minded pencil-pushers.”
This is the voice of economic nationalism. Where is ours?
After this latest WTO ruling validating Boeing’s claims against Airbus, the Financial Times is babbling of the need for “free and fair” trade, warning against a trade war.
But is “trade war” not a fair description of what our NATO allies have been doing to us by subsidizing the cartel that helped bring down Lockheed and McDonnell-Douglas and now seeks to bring down Boeing?
Our companies built the planes that saved Europe in World War II and sheltered her in the Cold War. And Europe has been trying to kill those American companies.
Yet even as Europeans collude and cheat to capture America’s markets in passenger jets, Boeing itself, wrote Eamonn Fingleton in 2014, has been “consciously cooperating in its own demise.”
By Boeing’s own figures, writes Fingleton, in the building of its 787 Dreamliner, the world’s most advanced commercial jet, the “Japanese account for a stunning 35 percent of the 787’s overall manufacture, and that may be an underestimate.”
“Much of the rest of the plane is also made abroad … in Italy, Germany, South Korea, France, and the United Kingdom.”
The Dreamliner “flies on Mitsubishi wings. These are no ordinary wings: they constitute the first extensive use of carbon fiber in the wings of a full-size passenger plane. In the view of many experts, by outsourcing the wings Boeing has crossed a red line.”
Mitsubishi, recall, built the Zero, the premier fighter plane in the Pacific in the early years of World War II.
In a related matter, the U.S. merchandise trade deficit in July and August approached $60 billion each month, heading for a trade deficit in goods in 2016 of another $700 billion.
For an advanced economy like the United States, such deficits are milestones of national decline. We have been running them now for 40 years. But in the era of U.S. economic supremacy from 1870 to 1970, we always ran an annual trade surplus, selling far more abroad than Americans bought from abroad.
In the U.S. trade picture, even in the darkest of times, the brightest of categories has been commercial aircraft.
But to watch how we allow NATO allies we defend and protect to get away with decades of colluding and cheating, and then to watch Boeing transfer technology and outsource critical manufacturing to rivals like Japan, one must conclude that not only is the industrial decline of the United States inevitable, but America’s elites do not care.
As for our corporate chieftains, they seem accepting of what is coming when they are gone, so long as the salary increases, stock prices and options, severance packages, and profits remain high.
By increasingly relying upon foreign nations for our national needs, and by outsourcing production, we are outsourcing America’s future.
After Munich in 1938, Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax visited Italy to wean Mussolini away from Hitler. The Italian dictator observed his guests closely and remarked to his foreign minister:
“These men are not made of the same stuff as the Francis Drakes and the other magnificent adventurers who created the empire. These, after all, are the tired sons of a long line of rich men, and they will lose their empire.”
If the present regime is not replaced, something like that will be said of this generation of Americans.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
Celebrating the racial diversity of the Charlotte protesters last week, William Barber II, chairman of the North Carolina NAACP, proudly proclaimed, “This is what democracy looks like.”
Well, if Barber is right, so, too, was John Adams, who warned us that “democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
Consider what the protesters, who, exults Barber, “show us a way forward to peace and justice,” accomplished.
In the first two nights of rioting, the mob injured a dozen cops, beat white people, smashed and looted stores, blocked traffic, shut down interstate highways, got one person shot and killed, and forced the call-up of state troopers and National Guard to rescue an embattled Charlotte police force.
This was mobocracy, a criminal takeover of Charlotte’s downtown by misfits hurling racist and obscene insults and epithets not only at the cops but also at bystanders and reporters sent to cover their antics.
We have seen Charlotte before. It was a rerun of Ferguson, Baltimore, and Manhattan, after mobs in those cities concluded that innocent black men had been deliberately killed by “racist white cops.”
Yet, one week later, what do we know of the precipitating event in Charlotte?
Keith Scott, 43-year-old African-American father of seven, was shot and killed not by a white cop, but by a black cop who shouted to him, along with others, almost 10 times—”Drop the gun!”
An ex-con whose convictions included assault with a deadly weapon, Scott was wearing an ankle holster and carrying a handgun.
Charlotte Police Chief Kerr Putney, also black, after viewing video from a dash-cam and a body-cam of the officers involved, recommended against filing any charges.
The chief concedes that he cannot, from the video footage, see a gun in Scott’s hands at the time he was shot.
But how is the legitimate investigation of the death of Keith Scott advanced by a mob? And if mass civil disobedience is what “democracy looks like” in 2016, why are we surprised that other nations look less and less to American democracy as their model?
Moreover, if these repeated reversions of the enraged to street action become the new normal, what do they portend for the country?
Blanket cable-news coverage of the Ferguson riots split us along racial lines. But what purpose did they serve? Even Eric Holder’s Justice Department concluded that officer Darren Wilson should not be charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown, who tried to grab his gun.
A year ago, Baltimore divided the nation.
Six Baltimore cops, three of them black, were charged in an alleged “rough ride” in a police van that killed 25-year-old Freddie Gray.
This year, a black judge acquitted three of the cops in three trials, and all charges against the rest were dropped.
No evidence was produced that the cops had intended to injure Gray.
In New York, the five cops who piled on Eric Garner to subdue him never intended to injure him, said a grand jury. Well over 300 pounds, Garner suffered from obesity, diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, and died, not of a police chokehold, but of a heart attack.
Yes, there have been incidents when cops made mistakes and cases where cops acted criminally. In Tulsa last week, after a white cop shot and killed an unarmed black man who appeared to offer no threat, she was charged with first-degree manslaughter. Is not this, rather than marching mobs, the way to handle such incidents?
Inevitably, given the violent crime in our cities—540 murders this year in Chicago and 3,000 shootings—white and black cops are going to be confronting white and black suspects. Inevitably, some of these collisions are going to result in police shootings and black deaths.
While most of those police decisions to shoot are going to be seen in retrospect as justified, some will not be unjustified, and some will be malicious.
The latter will be rare, but they are going to happen.
But in a nation of 320 million, if every collision between white cops and black men resulting in the death of a suspect is to be seen as legitimate grounds for mob action like Charlotte, we will never know racial peace.
Like moths to a flame, TV cameras are attracted to conflict, especially racial conflict. Networks and TV stations reward with airtime the most incendiary of racial charges. Thus, the news going out to homes and bars will continue to polarize us along racial lines.
And when the rage of one side and the disgust of the other dissipate, some new incident between white cops and black men will occur, and will be recorded and rushed onto the air.
The street action in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Charlotte may be what “democracy looks like” to Barber’s NAACP. But to most Americans, it looks like a formula for endless racial conflict—and a touch of fascism in the night.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
On one of my first trips to New Hampshire in 1991, to challenge President George H.W. Bush, I ran into Sen. Eugene McCarthy.
He was returning to the scene of his ’68 triumph, when he had inflicted the first crippling wound on Lyndon Johnson.
“Pat, you don’t have to win up here, you know,” he assured me. “All you have to do is beat the point spread.”
“Beat the point spread” is a good description of what Donald Trump has to do in Monday night’s debate.
With only a year in national politics, he does not have to show a mastery of foreign and domestic policy details. Rather, he has to do what John F. Kennedy did in 1960, and what Ronald Reagan did in 1980.
He has to meet and exceed expectations, which are not terribly high. He has to convince a plurality of voters, who seem prepared to vote for him, that he’s not a terrible risk, and that he will be a president of whom they can be proud.
He has to show the country a Trump that contradicts the caricature created by those who dominate our politics, culture, and press.
The Trump on stage at Hofstra University will have 90 minutes to show that the malicious cartoon of Donald Trump is a libelous lie.
He can do it, for he did it at the Mexico City press conference with President Pena Nieto where he surprised his allies and stunned his adversaries.
Recall. Kennedy and Reagan, too, came into their debates with a crucial slice of the electorate undecided but ready to vote for them if each could relieve the voters’ anxieties about his being within reach of the button to launch a nuclear war.
Kennedy won the first debate, not because he offered more convincing arguments or more details on the issues, but because he appeared more lucid, likable, and charismatic, more mature than folks had thought. And he seemed to point to a brighter, more challenging future for which the country was prepared after Ike.
After that first debate, Americans could see JFK sitting in the Oval Office.
Reagan won his debate with Carter because his sunny disposition and demeanor and his “There you go again!” airy dismissal of Carter’s nit-picking contradicted the malevolent media-created caricatures of the Gipper as a dangerous primitive or an amiable dunce.
Even George W. Bush, who, according to most judges, did not win a single debate against Al Gore or John Kerry, came off as a levelheaded fellow who was more relatable than the inventor of the internet or the windsurfer of Cape Cod.
The winner of presidential debates is not the one who compiles the most debating points. It is the one whom the audience decides they like, and can be comfortable taking a chance on.
Trump has the same imperative and same opportunity as JFK and Reagan. For the anticipated audience, of Super Bowl size, will be there to see him, not her. He is the challenger who fills up the sports arenas with the tens and scores of thousands, not Hillary Clinton.
If she were debating John Kasich or Jeb Bush, neither the viewing audience nor the title-fight excitement of Monday night would be there. Specifically, what does Trump need to do? He needs to show that he can be presidential. He needs to speak with confidence, but not cockiness, and to deal with Clinton’s attacks directly, but with dignity and not disrespect. And humor always helps.
Clinton has a more difficult assignment.
America knows she knows the issues. But two-thirds of the country does not believe her to be honest or trustworthy. As her small crowds show, she sets no one on fire. Blacks, Hispanics, and millennials who invested high hopes in Barack Obama seem to have no great hopes for her. She has no bold agenda, no New Deal or New Frontier.
“Why aren’t I 50 points ahead?” wailed Hillary Clinton this week.
The answer is simple. America has seen enough of her and has no great desire to see any more; and she cannot change an impression hardened over 25 years—in 90 minutes.
But the country will accept her, if the only alternative is the Trump of the mainstream media’s portrayal. Hence, the strategy of the Democratic Party for the next seven weeks is obvious:
Trash Trump, take him down, make him intolerable, and we win.
No matter how she performs, though, Donald Trump can win the debate, for he is the one over whom the question marks hang. But he is also the one who can dissipate and destroy them with a presidential performance.
In that sense, this debate and this election are Trump’s to win.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.
Alerting the press that he would deal with the birther issue at the opening of his new hotel, the Donald, after treating them to an hour of tributes to himself from Medal of Honor recipients, delivered.
“Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it. … President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Period.”
The press went orbital.
“Trump Gives Up a Lie But Refuses to Repent” howled the headline over the lead story in the New York Times.
Its editorial called Donald Trump a “reckless, cynical bully” spreading political poison in an “absurdist presidential campaign,” adding that Trump is the “ultimate mountebank” using a “Big Lie” that “made him the darling of the wing nuts and racists” and “nativist hallucinators.”
You get the drift.
While Trump’s depiction of the birther controversy was … inexact … there was truth in it. Obama’s campaign did charge the Clinton campaign with drawing press attention to that photo of Obama in traditional Somali garb. Apparently, Sid Blumenthal did push a McClatchy bureau chief to search for Obama’s birth records in Kenya.
Tim Kaine was wailing on Sunday about how “painful” Trump’s birtherism has been to African-Americans. And Democrats and the media are pledging not to let it go, but to exploit Trump’s attempt to “delegitimize” Obama’s presidency.
These are crocodile tears. Obama gave the game away Saturday night. At the Black Caucus’s annual gala, says the Washington Post, a “beaming” Obama “gleefully” had the attendees rolling in “laughter” over Trump’s concession. “With just 124 days to go,” mocked Obama, “we got that thing resolved.”
Many news organizations will go along with the game. For many appear to be all in on Clinton’s depiction of half of Trump’s supporters as a “basket of deplorables” who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic … haters.”
Yet one wonders. Do the major media understand that in their determination, bordering on desperation, to kill Trump, they are killing their credibility? And as they are losing credibility they are losing the country.
According to a new Gallup poll, distrust of the press has hit an all-time high. Half the nation’s Democrats still trust the media, but only one in three independents and one in seven Republicans, 14 percent, believe the media are truthful, honest, and fair.
When, early in his presidency, Obama jokingly referred to the White House Correspondents Association dinner as his political base, Americans now believe he was not exaggerating the case.
And the more the media vent their detestation of Trump, the more Trump’s supporters revel in their discomfort. “We love him most of all for the enemies he has made,” said backers of Grover Cleveland in 1884. Trump’s folks feel that way about the national press.
America’s media seem utterly lacking in introspection. Do they understand why so many people hate them so? Do they care? Are they so smugly self-righteous and self-regarding they cannot see?
Take the birther issue again. According to a January HuffPost/YouGov poll, an astonishing 53 percent of all Republicans, 30 percent of all independents, and even 10 percent of Democrats still believe Barack Obama was born outside the USA.
What does this say about the persuasiveness of the press?
Indeed, what does it say about the idea that universal suffrage is the best way to determine the leadership of a republic?
In 2016, America faces serious issues—a rising deficit and escalating debt, the explosion of entitlements, the resurgence of Russian power, Chinese military expansionism in the South and East China seas, North Korea’s development of nuclear missiles, and Afghanistan.
Now consider the issues that have transfixed the media this election season:
The birther issue, David Duke, the KKK, a Mexican-American judge, Black Lives Matter, white cops, the “Muslim ban,” the Battle Flag, the “alt-right,” the national anthem, Trump’s refusals to recant his blasphemies against the dogmas of political correctness, or to “apologize.”
What does the continual elevation of such issues, and the acrimony attendant to them, tell us?
America is bitterly and irreparably divided over race, ideology, faith, history, and culture, and Trump’s half of the nation rejects the modernist gospel that America’s diversity and multiculturalism are her greatest treasures.
To the contrary, Trump’s half wants secure borders, “extreme vetting” of immigrants, especially from the Mideast, and foreign and trade policies marked by an “Americanism” that seems to be an antonym for globalism.
They want America to be “great again,” and they believe she was once, and is not now.
No matter who wins in November, America is going to face a divide unseen in decades. If Donald Trump wins, he will confront a resident media more hateful than that which confronted Richard Nixon in 1968.
If Hillary Clinton wins, she will come to office distrusted and disbelieved by most of her countrymen, half of whom she has maligned either as “deplorables” or pitiful souls in need of empathy.
Not for half a century has the idea of “one nation under God, indivisible,” seemed so distant.
Since Donald Trump said that if Vladimir Putin praised him, he would return the compliment, Republican outrage has not abated.
Arriving on Capitol Hill to repair ties between Trump and party elites, Gov. Mike Pence was taken straight to the woodshed.
John McCain told Pence that Putin was a “thug and a butcher,” and Trump’s embrace of him intolerable.
Said Lindsey Graham: “Vladimir Putin is a thug, a dictator … who has his opposition killed in the streets,” and Trump’s views bring to mind Munich.
Putin is an “authoritarian thug,” added “Little Marco” Rubio.
What causes the Republican Party to lose it whenever the name of Vladimir Putin is raised?
Putin is no Stalin, whom FDR and Harry Truman called “Good old Joe” and “Uncle Joe.” Unlike Nikita Khrushchev, he never drowned a Hungarian Revolution in blood. He did crush the Chechen secession. But what did he do there that General Sherman did not do to Atlanta when Georgia seceded from Mr. Lincoln’s Union?
Putin supported the U.S. in Afghanistan, backed our nuclear deal with Iran, and signed on to John Kerry’s plan have us ensure a cease fire in Syria and go hunting together for ISIS and al-Qaida terrorists.
Still, Putin committed “aggression” in Ukraine, we are told.
But was that really aggression, or reflexive strategic reaction?
We helped dump over a pro-Putin democratically elected regime in Kiev, and Putin acted to secure his Black Sea naval base by re-annexing Crimea, a peninsula that has belonged to Russia from Catherine the Great to Khrushchev. Great powers do such things.
When the Castros pulled Cuba out of America’s orbit, did we not decide to keep Guantanamo, and dismiss Havana’s protests?
Moscow did indeed support secessionist pro-Russia rebels in East Ukraine.
But did not the U.S. launch a 78-day bombing campaign on tiny Serbia to effect a secession of its cradle province of Kosovo?
What is the great moral distinction here?
The relationship between Russia and Ukraine goes back to 500 years before Columbus. It includes an ancient common faith, a complex history, terrible suffering, and horrendous injustices—like Stalin’s starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the early 1930s.
Yet, before Bush II and Obama, no president thought Moscow-Kiev quarrels were any of our business. When did they become so?
Russia is reportedly hacking into our political institutions. If so, it ought to stop. But have not our own CIA, National Endowment for Democracy, and NGOs meddled in Russia’s internal affairs for years?
Putin is a nationalist who looks out for Russia first. He also heads a nation twice the size of ours with an arsenal equal to our own, and no peace in Eurasia can be made without him.
We have to deal with him. How does it help to call him names?
And what is Putin doing in terms of repression to outmatch our NATO ally, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and our Arab ally, Egypt’s General el-Sissi?
Is Putin’s Russia more repressive than Xi Jinping’s China?
Yet, Republicans rarely use “thug” when speaking about Xi.
During the Cold War, we partnered with such autocrats as the Shah of Iran and General Pinochet of Chile, Ferdinand Marcos in Manila, and Park Chung-Hee of South Korea. Cold War necessity required it.
Scores of the world’s 190-odd nations are today ruled by autocrats. How does it advance our interests or diplomacy to have congressional leaders yapping “thug” at the ruler of a nation with hundreds of nuclear warheads?
Where is the realism, the recognition of the realities of the world in which we live, that guided the policies of presidents from Ike to Reagan?
We have been told by senators like Tom Cotton that there must be “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.
Fine. How does Israel regard Putin “the thug” and Putin “the butcher”?
According to foreign-policy scholar Stephen Sniegoski, when Putin first visited Israel in 2005, President Moshe Katsav hailed him as a “friend of Israel” and Ariel Sharon said he was “among brothers.”
In the last year alone, Bibi Netanyahu has gone to Moscow three times and Putin has visited Israel. The two get along wonderfully well.
On the U.N. resolution that affirmed the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine, Israel abstained. And Israel refused to join in sanctions against a friendly Russia. Russian-Israeli trade is booming.
Perhaps Bibi, who just got a windfall of $38 billion in U.S. foreign aid over the next 10 years from a Barack Obama whom he does not even like, can show the GOP how to get along better with Vlad.
Lindsey Graham says that the $38 billion for Israel is probably not enough, that Bibi will need more, and that he will be there to provide it.
Remarkable. Bibi, a buddy of Vlad, gets $38 billion from the same Republican senators who, when Donald Trump says he will repay personal compliments from Vladimir Putin, gets the McCain-Graham wet mitten across the face.
Speaking to 1,000 of the overprivileged at an LGBT fundraiser, where the chairs ponied up $250,000 each and Barbra Streisand sang, Hillary Clinton gave New York’s social liberals what they came to hear.
“You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” smirked Clinton to cheers and laughter. “The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.” They are “irredeemable,” but they are “not America.”
This was no verbal slip. Clinton had invited the press in to cover the LGBT gala at Cipriani Wall Street where the cheap seats went for $1,200. And she had tried out her new lines earlier on Israeli TV:
“You can take Trump supporters and put them in two baskets.” First there are “the deplorables, the racists, and the haters, and the people who … think somehow he’s going to restore an America that no longer exists. So, just eliminate them from your thinking.”
And who might be in the other basket backing Donald Trump?
They are people, said Clinton, “who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them. … These are people we have to understand and empathize with.”
In short, Trump’s support consists of one-half xenophobes, bigots, and racists, and one-half losers we should pity.
And she is running on the slogan “Stronger Together.”
Her remarks echo those of Barack Obama in 2008 to San Francisco fat cats puzzled about those strange Pennsylvanians.
They are “bitter,” said Obama, they “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustration.”
In short, Pennsylvania is a backwater of alienated Bible-banging gun nuts and bigots suspicious of outsiders and foreigners.
But who really are these folks our new class detests, sneers at, and pities? As African-Americans are 90 percent behind Clinton, it is not black folks. Nor is it Hispanics, who are solidly in the Clinton camp.
Nor would Clinton tolerate such slurs directed at Third World immigrants who are making America better by making us more diverse than that old “America that no longer exists.”
No, the folks Obama and Clinton detest, disparage, and pity are the white working- and middle-class folks Richard Nixon celebrated as Middle Americans and the Silent Majority.
They are the folks who brought America through the Depression, won World War II, and carried us through the Cold War from Truman in 1945 to victory with Ronald Reagan in 1989.
These are the Trump supporters. They reside mostly in red states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Middle Pennsylvania, and southern, plains, and mountain states that have provided a disproportionate share of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who fought and died to guarantee the freedom of plutocratic LGBT lovers to laugh at and mock them at $2,400-a-plate dinners.
Yet, there is truth in what Clinton said about eliminating “from your thinking” people who believe Trump can “restore an America that no longer exists.”
For the last chance to restore America, as Trump himself told Christian Broadcasting’s “Brody File” on Friday, September 9, is slipping away:
“I think this will be the last election if I don’t win … because you’re going to have people flowing across the border, you’re going to have illegal immigrants coming in and they’re going to be legalized and they’re going to be able to vote, and once that all happens, you can forget it.”
Politically and demographically, America is at a tipping point.
Minorities are now 40 percent of the population and will be 30 percent of the electorate in November. If past trends hold, 4 of 5 will vote for Clinton.
Meanwhile, white folks, who normally vote 60 percent Republican, will fall to 70 percent of the electorate, the lowest ever, and will decline in every subsequent presidential year.
The passing of the greatest generation and silent generation, and, soon, the baby-boom generation, is turning former red states like Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada purple, and putting crucial states like Florida and Ohio in peril.
What has happened to America is astonishing. A country 90 percent Christian after World War II has been secularized by a dictatorial Supreme Court with only feeble protest and resistance.
A nation, 90 percent of whose population traced their roots to Europe, will have been changed by mass immigration and an invasion across its Southern border into a predominantly Third World country by 2042.
What will then be left of the old America to conserve?
No wonder Clinton was so giddy at the LGBT bash. They are taking America away from the “haters,” as they look down in moral supremacy on the pitiable Middle Americans who are passing away.
But a question arises for 2017.
Why should Middle America, given what she thinks of us, render a President Hillary Clinton and her regime any more allegiance or loyalty than Colin Kaepernick renders to the America he so abhors?
Were the election held today, Hillary Clinton would probably win a clear majority of the Electoral College.
Her problem: the election is two months off.
Sixty days out, one senses she has lost momentum—the “Big Mo” of which George H.W. Bush boasted following his Iowa triumph in 1980—and her campaign is in a rut, furiously spinning its wheels.
The commander in chief forum Wednesday night should have been a showcase for the ex-secretary of state’s superior knowledge and experience.
Instead, Clinton looked like a witness before a grand jury, forced to explain her past mistakes and mishandling of classified emails at State.
“Of the two candidates,” the New York Times reported, “Mrs. Clinton faced by far the tougher and most probing questions from the moderator, Matt Lauer of NBC, and from an audience of military veterans about her use of private email, her vote authorizing the Iraq war, her hawkish foreign policy views …”
On defense most of the time, Clinton scored few points.
And with a blistering attack on Lauer, the Times all but threw in the towel and conceded that the Donald won the night.
“Moderator of Clinton-Trump Forum Fields A Storm of Criticism” was the headline as analyst Michael Grynbaum piled on:
“Mr. Lauer found himself besieged on Wednesday evening by critics of all political stripes, who accused the anchor of unfairness, sloppiness and even sexism in his handling of the event.”
When your allies are ripping the refs, you’ve probably lost the game.
Indeed, in this dress rehearsal for the debates, Donald Trump played Trump, while Clinton was cast in the role of Mexican President Pena Nieto, who just fired the finance minister who told him to invite the Donald to Mexico City for a talk.
There are other indices suggesting the tide is turning against Clinton.
Consider the near hysteria of a media that has taken to airing charges, in echo of “Tail Gunner Joe” McCarthy, that Donald Trump is somehow the conscious agent of a Kremlin conspiracy.
Why? Because Trump accepts the compliments of Vladimir Putin and refuses to call the Russian ruler a “thug,” which is now apparently the mark of a statesman.
Moreover, when it comes to her strongest suit, foreign policy, before Clinton can elaborate on her vision, she is forced to answer for her blunders.
Why did she vote for the war in Iraq? Why did she push for the war in Libya that produced this hellish mess? Does she still defend her handling of the Benghazi massacre? What happened to her “reset” with Russia?
Most critically, when facing the press, which she has begun to do after eight months of stonewalling, she is invariably dragged into the morass of the private server, the lost-and-found emails, her inability to understand or abide by State Department rules on classified and secret documents, and FBI accusations of extreme carelessness and duplicity.
Then there are the steady stream of revelations about the Clinton Foundation raking in hundreds of millions from dictators and despots who did business with Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Bill Clinton now describes himself as a “Robin Hood” of Sherwood Forest who took from the rich to give to the poor, with Hillary Clinton presumably cast in the role of Maid Marian of Goldman Sachs.
It is all too much to absorb.
To get her “message” out, Clinton has to punch it though a media filter. But many in this ferociously competitive and diverse media market today know that the way to the front page or top of the website is to find a new angle on the plethora of scandals, minor and major, surrounding Hillary and Bill.
And with thousands of emails still out there, the contents of which are known to her adversaries, she will likely have IEDs going off beneath her campaign all the way to November.
Consider the coughing fits, a repeated distraction from her message. Should they go away, no problem. But if they recur, people will rightly demand to know from a physician what is the cause.
Because of her own blunders, Clinton’s adversaries have achieved a large measure of control over how her campaign is reported.
In a sense this is like Watergate, where, no matter that Richard Nixon might be managing well a Yom Kippur War or a strategic summit in Moscow, the press and prosecutors cared only about the tapes.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s message has begun to come through—loud, clear, and consistent.
He will secure the border. He will renegotiate the trade deals that have been killing U.S. manufacturing and costing American jobs. He will be a law-and-order president who will put America first. He will keep us out of wars like Iraq. He will talk to Vladimir Putin, smash ISIS, back the cops and the vets, and rebuild the military.
Other than being the first woman president, what is the great change that Hillary Clinton offers America?
The Clinton campaign has a big, big problem.
In 1964, Phyllis Schlafly of Alton, Ill., mother of six, wrote and published a slim volume entitled A Choice Not an Echo.
Backing the candidacy of Sen. Barry Goldwater, the book was a polemic against the stranglehold the eastern liberal establishment had held on the Republican nomination for decades.
A Choice sold 3 million copies.
Schlafly went on to lead the campaign to derail the Equal Rights Amendment, which, with 35 states having ratified, was just three states short of being added to our Constitution.
Pro-ERA forces never added another state. Phyllis, who at 20 was testing weapons at a munitions plant in World War II, shot it dead.
At 92, Schlafly, the founder of Eagle Forum, has a new book out, published by Regnery. The Conservative Case for Trump, co-authored by Ed Martin of Eagle Forum and Brett Decker, argues that the Donald is an authentic conservative around whom every conservative should rally.
Yet, in making their cogent case, Schlafly and her coauthors raise questions that today bedevil the movement.
What does conservatism mean in 2016? Upon what ideas and issues, principles and policies, do conservatives still agree?
“In my father’s house there are many mansions,” the Bible tells us. So it is in the house divided that is the American Right.
Each of the chapters in The Conservative Case for Trump is devoted to Donald Trump’s stand on a major issue of the campaign. And on most of the issues selected, almost all conservatives agree.
Trump believes Antonin Scalia is the gold standard for Supreme Court justices and federal judges, and that among the indispensable cures for decrepit and failing public schools is competition from private, religious, and charter schools.
A businessman and builder, Trump has confronted the onus of federal overregulation that stifles enterprise and kills jobs. With most conservatives, he believes in a U.S. military second to none.
Some Republicans, however, part with Trump on his contempt for political correctness, his refusal to observe strictures on debate laid down by our ruling elites, and his rejection of their claims to moral authority with his airy dismissals of their demands for apologies.
Part of Trump’s populist appeal is that, by his rebellious stand, he appears to challenge the very legitimacy of the regime. Thus those most disgusted with the establishment cheer him loudest.
On immigration, Trump shares the alarm of a Middle America that sees its country being irretrievably altered by an invasion from across our border. He has no hesitancy in urging tough methods to secure the borders and send back those who disrespect our laws.
This offends the sensibilities of many Republicans. And, indeed, it contradicts a core dogma of the “conservatism” preached at the Wall Street Journal.
Years ago, when some of us first took up the border crisis, the Journal, under editorial-page editor Robert Bartley, called for a new five-word constitutional amendment—”There shall be open borders.”
The Journal anticipated John Kerry, who just told the graduating class at Northeastern University, “You are about to graduate into … a borderless world.” Is John Kerry a Wall Street Journal conservative?
Chapter two of Schafly’s book deals with Trump’s stance on the trade deals of recent decades—NAFTA, MFN for China, the South Korea deal, and the daddy of them all, the TPP.
Chapter title: “Rotten Trade Deals.” Yet, all of these trade deals had the support of the Party of Bush I and Bush II.
Trump has spoken out against crusades for democracy, nation-building abroad, and unnecessary wars—especially Iraq in 2003.
And what was the official “conservative” stand on Iraq in 2003?
William F. Buckley’s National Review attacked the libertarian and traditionalist right that opposed invading Iraq on such flimsy pretexts as “unpatriotic conservatives” who “hate their country.”
“This is a binary election,” John Bolton is quoted in Phyllis’s book. “[N]ot voting” for Trump is “functionally … a vote for Hillary.”
Yet that is where some conservative and neocon columnists, and scores of foreign-policy veterans of the GOP, and ex-Presidents Bush I and II, and 2012 GOP candidate Mitt Romney are heading.
Three of Trump’s rivals for the nomination—Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich—who held up their hand and pledged to support the nominee, appear about to dishonor their pledge.
But what is conservative about rendering aid and comfort to the presidential ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton?
As for the issues on where the right is split, interventionism is born of Wilson and FDR; noninterventionism is of Taft, Ike, and Reagan.
Free trade as dogma comes out of the Party of Wilson and FDR, not the Party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
Ike sent a general to secure the border and send illegal immigrants home. Yet self-described conservatives like the Bushes and McCains join hands with the Clintons and Obamas to call for amnesty.
The Conservative Case for Trump is a splendid little book by the first lady of American Conservatism.
The Hillarycons now owe it to us to make their case.
Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. This column was written before Mrs. Schlafly’s death on Monday, Sept. 5.
In accepting the invitation of President Enrique Pena Nieto to fly to Mexico City, the Donald was taking a major risk.
Yet it was a bold and decisive move, and it paid off in what was the best day of Donald Trump’s campaign.
Standing beside Nieto, graciously complimenting him and speaking warmly of Mexico and its people, Trump looked like a president. And the Mexican president treated him like one, even as Trump restated the basic elements of his immigration policy, including the border wall.
The gnashing of teeth up at the New York Times testifies to Trump’s triumph:
“Mr. Trump has spent his entire campaign painting Mexico as a nation of rapists, drug smugglers, and trade hustlers. … But instead of chastising Mr. Trump, Mr. Pena Nieto treated him like a visiting head of state … with side-by-side lecterns and words of deferential mush.”
As I wrote in August, Trump “must convince the nation … he is an acceptable, indeed, a preferable alternative” to Hillary Clinton, whom the nation does not want.
In Mexico City, Trump did that. He reassured voters who are leaning toward him that he can be president. As for those who are apprehensive about his temperament, they saw reassurance.
For validation, one need not rely on supporters of Trump. Even Mexicans who loathe Trump are conceding his diplomatic coup.
“Trump achieved his purpose,” said journalism professor Carlos Bravo Regidor. “He looked serene, firm, presidential.” Our “humiliation is now complete,” tweeted an anchorman at Televisa.
President Nieto’s invitation to Trump “was the biggest stupidity in the history of the Mexican presidency,” said academic Jesus Silva-Herzog.
Not since Gen. Winfield Scott arrived for a visit in 1847 have Mexican elites been this upset with an American.
Jorge Ramos of Univision almost required sedation.
When Trump got back to the States, he affirmed that Mexico will be paying for the wall, even if “they don’t know it yet.”
Indeed, back on American soil, in Phoenix, the Donald doubled down. Deportations will accelerate when he takes office, beginning with felons. Sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants will face U.S. sanctions. There will be no amnesty, no legalization, no path to citizenship for those who have broken into our country. All laws will be enforced.
Trump’s stance in Mexico City and Phoenix reveals that there is no turning back. The die is cast. He is betting the election on his belief that the American people prefer his stands to Clinton’s call for amnesty.
A core principle enunciated by Trump in Phoenix appears to be a guiding light behind his immigration policy.
“Anyone who tells you that the core issue is the needs of those living here illegally has simply spent too much time Washington. … There is only one core issue in the immigration debate, and that issue is the well-being of the American people. … Nothing even comes a close second.”
The “well-being of the American people” may be the yardstick by which U.S. policies will be measured in a Trump presidency. This is also applicable to Trump’s stand on trade and foreign policy.
Do NAFTA, the WTO, MFN for China, the South Korea deal, and TPP advance the “well-being of the American people”? Or do they serve more the interests of foreign regimes and corporate elites?
Some $12 trillion in trade deficits since George H.W. Bush gives you the answer.
Which of the military interventions and foreign wars from Serbia to Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Yemen to Syria served the “well-being of the American people”?
Are the American people well-served by commitments in perpetuity to 60- and 65-year-old treaties to wage war on Russia and China on behalf of scores of nations across Eurasia, most of which have been free riders on U.S. defense for decades?
Trump’s “core issue” might be called Americanism.
Whatever the outcome of this election, these concerns are not going away. For they have arisen out of a deeply dissatisfied and angry electorate that is alienated from the elites both parties.
Indeed, alienation explains the endurance of Trump, despite his recent difficulties. Americans want change, and he alone offers it.
In the last two weeks, Trump has seen a slow rise in the polls, matched by a perceptible decline in support for Clinton. The latest Rasmussen poll now has Trump at 40, with Clinton slipping to 39.
This race is now Trump’s to win or lose. For he alone brings a fresh perspective to policies that have stood stagnant under both parties.
And Hillary Clinton? Whatever her attributes, she is uncharismatic, unexciting, greedy, wonkish, scripted, and devious, an individual you can neither fully believe nor fully trust.
Which is why the country seems to be looking, again, to Trump, to show them that they will not be making a big mistake if they elect him.
If Donald Trump can continue to show America what he did in Mexico City, that he can be presidential, he may just become president.
The debacle that is U.S. Syria policy is today on naked display.
NATO ally Turkey and U.S.-backed Arab rebels this weekend attacked our most effective allies against ISIS, the Syrian Kurds.
Earlier in August, U.S. planes threatened to shoot down Syrian planes over Hasakeh, and our Iraq-Syria war commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, issued a warning to Syria and Russia against any further air strikes around the city.
Who authorized Gen. Townsend to threaten to shoot down Syrian or Russian planes — in Syria?
When did Congress authorize an American war in Syria? Is the Constitution now inoperative?
That we are sinking into a civil war where we sometimes seem to be fighting both sides is a tribute to the fecklessness of the Barack Obama-John Kerry foreign policy and the abdication of a Congress that refuses to either name our real enemy or authorize our deepening involvement.
Our Congress appears again to have abdicated its war powers.
Consider the forces that have turned Syria into a charnel house with 400,000 dead and millions injured, maimed, and uprooted.
On the one side there is the regime of Bashar Assad and its allies — Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. Damascus buys its weapons from Moscow and has granted Russia its sole naval base in the Mediterranean. And Vladimir Putin protects his interests and stands by his friends.
To Iran, the Alawite regime of Assad is a strategic link in the Shia crescent that runs from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to South Beirut and Lebanon’s border with Israel.
If Syria falls to Sunni rebels, Islamist or democratic, that would mean a strategic loss for Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, which is why all have invested so much time, blood and treasure in this war.
If they are going to lose Syria, Assad, Iran, Hezbollah and the Russians are probably going to go down fighting. And should we decide to fight a war to take them down, we would find ourselves with such de facto allies as ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qaida.
Have the hawks who want us to target Assad considered this?
The American people would never sustain such a war in the company of such allies, with its risks of escalation, to remove Assad, who, whatever we think of him, never terrorized Americans or threatened U.S. vital interests.
Years ago, Assad dismissed Obama’s demand that he surrender power, then defied Obama’s “red line” against the use of chemical weapons. He is not going to depart because some U.S. president tells him he must go.
As for the Syrian Kurds, the YPG, they have sealed much of the border with Turkey and fought their way ever closer to Raqqa, the capital of the ISIS caliphate. But what has elated the Americans has alarmed the Turks.
For the YPG not only drove ISIS out of the border towns all the way to the Euphrates; this summer, with U.S. backing, they crossed the river and seized Manbij.
Turkey’s fear is that the Syrian Kurds will link their cantons east of the Euphrates with their canton west of the river and create a statelet that could give Turkey’s Kurds a privileged sanctuary from which to pursue their 30-year struggle for independence.
If, when the war ends in Syria, the YPG is occupying all the borderlands, Ankara faces a long-term existential threat of dismemberment.
After recent terrorist attacks on his country, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recognizes that ISIS is a monster with which he cannot live. Thus, this weekend, he sent tanks and Arab troops to drive ISIS out of the Syrian border town of Jarablus.
Now Turkish troops and their Arab allies are moving further south into Syria to expel the Kurds from Manbij. Joe Biden, visiting Turkey, told the Kurds to get out of Manbij and back across the river.
How does the U.S. protect its interests while avoiding a deeper involvement in this war?
First, recognize that ISIS and the al-Nusra Front are our primary enemies in Syria, not Assad or Russia. Geostrategists may be appalled, but the Donald may have gotten it right. If the Russians are willing to fight to crush ISIS, to save Assad, be our guest.
Second, oppose any removal of Assad unless and until we are certain he will not be replaced by an Islamist regime.
Third, we should assure the Turks we will keep the Kurds east of the Euphrates and not support any Kurdish nation-state that involves any secession from Turkey.
America’s best and wisest course is to stop this slaughter that is killing a thousand Syrians a week, use our forces in concert with any and all allies to annihilate the Nusra Front and ISIS, keep the Kurds and Turks apart, effect a truce if we can, and then get out. It’s not our war.
Prediction: If Hillary Clinton wins, within a year of her inauguration, she will be under investigation by a special prosecutor on charges of political corruption, thereby continuing a family tradition.
For consider what the Associated Press reported this week:
The surest way for a person with private interests to get a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton, or a phone call returned by her, it seems, was to dump a bundle of cash into the Clinton Foundation.
Of 154 outsiders whom Clinton phoned or met with in her first two years at State, 85 had made contributions to the Clinton Foundation, and their contributions, taken together, totaled $156 million.
Conclusion: access to Secretary of State Clinton could be bought, but it was not cheap. Forty of the 85 donors gave $100,000 or more. Twenty of those whom Clinton met with or phoned dumped in $1 million or more.
To get to the seventh floor of the Clinton State Department for a hearing for one’s plea, the cover charge was high.
Among those who got face time with Hillary Clinton were a Ukrainian oligarch and steel magnate who shipped oil pipe to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions and a Bangladeshi economist who was under investigation by his government and was eventually pressured to leave his own bank.
The stench is familiar, and all too Clintonian in character.
Recall. On his last day in office, January 20, 2001, Bill Clinton issued a presidential pardon to financier-crook and fugitive from justice Marc Rich, whose wife, Denise, had contributed $450,000 to the Clinton Library.
The Clintons appear belatedly to have recognized their political peril.
Bill has promised that, if Hillary is elected, he will end his big-dog days at the foundation and stop taking checks from foreign regimes and entities, and corporate donors. Cash contributions from wealthy Americans will still be gratefully accepted.
One wonders: will Bill be writing thank-you notes for the millions that will roll in to the family foundation—on White House stationery?
By his actions, Bill is all but conceding that there is a serious conflict of interest between his foundation raking in millions that enhance the family’s prestige and sustain its travel and lifestyle, and providing its big donors with privileged access to the secretary of state.
Yet if Hillary Clinton becomes president, the scheme is unsustainable. Even the Obama-Clinton media might not be able to stomach this.
And even Clinton seems to be conceding the game is up. “I know there’s a lot of smoke, and there’s no fire,” she said in self-defense this week.
She is certainly right about the smoke.
And if, as Democratic apparatchik Steve McMahon assures us, there is “no smoking gun,” no quid pro quo, no open-and-shut case of Secretary Clinton taking official action in gratitude to a donor of the family foundation, how can we predict a special prosecutor?
Answer: we are not at the end of this scandal. We are at what Churchill called the “end of the beginning.”
Missing emails are being unearthed at State, through Freedom of Information Act requests, that are filling out the picture Clinton thought had been blotted out when her 33,000 “private” emails were erased by her lawyers.
Someone out there, Julian Assange, Russia, or the rogue websites doing all this hacking, is believed to have many more explosive emails they are preparing to drop before Election Day.
And why is Clinton is keeping her State Department calendar secret from the AP, if it does not contain meetings or calls she does not want to defend? She has defied requests, and the AP had to sue to get the schedule of her first two years at State.
Moreover, the AP story on the State Department-Clinton Foundation links was so stunning it is sure to trigger follow-up by investigative journalists who can smell a Pulitzer.
Then there are the contacts between Huma Abedin, her closest aide at State, and Doug Band at the Clinton Foundation, the go-betweens for the donor-Clinton meetings, which has opened a new avenue for investigators.
These were unearthed by Judicial Watch, which is not going away.
The number of persons of interest involved in this suppurating scandal, which has gone from an illicit server, to a panoply of Clinton lies to the public that disgusted the FBI director, to erased emails, to “pay for play,” and now deep into the Clinton Foundation continues to grow.
All that is needed now, to bring us to an independent counsel, is calls for the FBI to reopen and broaden its investigation in light of all that has been revealed since Director Comey said there was not evidence enough to recommend an indictment.
If Clinton controls the Justice Department, calls for a special prosecutor will be resisted, but only until public demand becomes too great.
For there were independent counsels called in Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the scandals that led to the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Hillary Clinton says there is no fire. But something is causing all that smoke.
To understand John McLaughlin, it was helpful to have been a 13-year-old entering an all-boys Jesuit school in the 1950s.
For when John yelled “Wronnng” at me from his center chair of The McLaughlin Group, it hit with the same familiar finality I had heard, many times, from Jesuits at the front of the class at Gonzaga.
In that era, John was himself a Jesuit teacher at Fairfield Prep, where the black cape he wore and his authoritarian aspect had earned him from his students the nickname—Father God.
In 1970, Father John heard another calling, and, declaring himself a liberal Republican, challenged Sen. John Pastore in his home state of Rhode Island. An unamused Senator Pastore obliterated John by two-to-one.
It was right after this election, while I was vacationing in the Bahamas, that, one morning, I encountered Father John in his Bermuda shorts at a hotel newsstand on Paradise Island.
John was soon, at poolside, explaining to me why I, as a Catholic and a beneficiary of eight years of Jesuit education, had a moral obligation, a moral duty, to get him a job as a speechwriter in the Nixon White House.
Over some resistance, we succeeded, and John was soon the oracle of the shop, known to younger speechwriters as “The Rev.”
When Watergate broke, Nixon’s aide Dick Moore urged John to get out and use his speaking talents to defend the president. John was soon out on the front lawn of the White House preaching to large assemblies of writing press and TV cameras.
Dick Moore told me, “Pat, I think we’ve created a monster.”
But John was a portrait in loyalty to the embattled president.
When transcripts of the Oval Office tapes were released, containing the phrase “expletive deleted” hundreds of times, and Dr. Billy Graham was publicly scandalized, John was unfazed.
He stepped out on the White House lawn and immortalized himself by calling Richard Nixon, and I quote, “the greatest moral leader in the last third of this century.” Now that is loyalty.
When President Ford came in, John, despite his resistance, was the first man out of the White House. To raise his profile, he asked me to contact William F. Buckley Jr. and get him on as a guest on Firing Line.
I wrote Buckley, and got back a letter that read in its entirety, “Dear Patrick: Intending no disrespect, who is the Rev. John J. McLaughlin, S. J.? Cordially, Bill.”
As it would have crushed John, I did not show him the letter, until he became famous. As he soon did.
John achieved a niche in the pantheon of television journalism when, in 1982, he launched The McLaughlin Group. As one of the initial panelists, I was joined by Bob Novak of the perpetual scowl, known to colleagues as “The Prince of Darkness,” Jack Germond, and Mort Kondracke.
Soon Eleanor Clift was aboard, and far from being discriminated against as a woman, she was treated every bit as badly as the rest of us.
The McLaughlin Group was a media controversy and a sensation from the first of its 34 years. President Reagan was a regular viewer.
It was balanced between left and right. Panelists were told to bring opinions as well as facts. John welcomed disagreement. And rather than confine the issues to the political, he introduced ideological, cultural, social, and even moral issues.
John selected the topics and the tape to be used, edited his own copy, and ran the show like a ringmaster at a circus—to which the Group was sometimes compared.
And he introduced new features. Predictions at the end of each show. Annual awards shows. I loved it. It was great, great fun.
Some journalists sniffed in disparagement, but others, like Fred Barnes, Clarence Page, Michael Barone, Tony Blankley, Mort Zuckerman, and Tom Rogan became regulars.
And John was loyal. When I took a leave of absence to go into the Reagan White House, then requested three more leaves to pursue private endeavors in the 1990s, which did not pan out, John, after leaving me in the penalty box for a while, always brought me back to the beadle’s chair.
At the end, we could see how badly John was failing. But, unlike Maritza, who took wonderful care of him, we did not know how much he was suffering, or the nature of the illness that was taking his life. That he soldiered on in the job he loved for so long is a testament to the courage and character of the man. He persevered.
John and I loved to banter about our favorites poets like T.S. Eliot and recite to each other Latin passages we had learned in school and the Old Church. And in writing this eulogy the words of the poet Catullus, to his brother, came to mind:
Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale.
And forever, brother, hail and farewell.
This eulogy was delivered Saturday, August 20, in the Basilica at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
“I did it my way,” crooned Sinatra.
Donald Trump is echoing Ol’ Blue Eyes with the latest additions to his staff. Should he lose, he prefers to go down to defeat as Donald Trump, and not as some synthetic creation of campaign consultants.
“I am who I am,” Trump told a Wisconsin TV station, “It’s me. I don’t want to change. … I don’t want to pivot. … If you start pivoting, you are not being honest with people.”
The remarks recall the San Francisco Cow Palace where an astonished Republican, on hearing the candidate speak out in favor of “extremism in the defense of liberty,” blurted out, “My God, he’s going to run as Barry Goldwater!”
And so he did. And Goldwater is remembered and revered by many who have long forgotten all the trimmers of both parties who tailored their convictions to suit the times, and lost.
Trump believes populism and nationalism are the future of America, and wants to keep saying so. Nor is this stance inconsistent with recapturing the ground lost in the weeks since he was running even with Hillary Clinton.
The twin imperatives for the Trump campaign are simple ones.
They must recreate in the public mind that Hillary Clinton who 56 percent of the nation thought should have been indicted for lying in the server scandal, and who two-thirds of the nation said was dishonest or untrustworthy.
Second, Trump must convince the country, as he had almost done by Cleveland, that he is an acceptable, indeed a preferable, alternative.
While the assignment is simple, as Ronald Reagan reminded us, there may be simple answers, but there are no easy ones.
What is the case against Clinton his campaign must make?
She is a political opportunist who voted for a war in Iraq, in which she did not believe, that proved ruinous for her country. As secretary of state, she pushed for the overthrow and celebrated the assassination of a Libyan dictator, resulting in a North African haven for al-Qaida and ISIS.
Her reset with Russia was a diplomatic joke.
Her incompetence led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three brave Americans in Benghazi, and she subsequently lied to the families of the dead heroes about why they had died.
Her statements about her server and emails were so perjurious they almost caused FBI Director James Comey to throw up in public.
She speaks of Bill, Chelsea, and herself as leaving the White House in 2001 in roughly the same conditions of immiseration that the Joads left Dust Bowl Oklahoma in The Grapes of Wrath.
But on leaving State, Hillary Clinton was pulling down $225,000 a pop for 20-minute speeches to Goldman Sachs. It’s a long way, baby, from her Children’s Defense Fund days, the recalling of which almost caused Bill Clinton to lose it and break down sobbing at the Philly convention.
What America has in Hillary Clinton is a potential president with the charisma but not the competence of Angela Merkel, and the ethics of Dilma Rousseff.
However, here is the problem for the Trump campaign.
While exposing the Clinton character and record is essential, among the primary rules of presidential politics is that you do not use your candidate to do the wet work.
Eisenhower had Vice President Nixon do it for him. President Nixon had Vice President Agnew, who was good at it, and enjoyed it.
Yet, still, on the mega-issue, America’s desire for change, and on specific issues, Trump holds something close to a full house.
The country wants the border secured and immigration vetting toughened to keep out the kind of terrorists who committed the atrocity in San Bernardino.
The country wants an end to the trade deficits with China and the endless export of U.S. factories and manufacturing jobs.
On Americanism versus globalism, the country is with Trump. On an America First foreign policy that keeps us out of trillion-dollar, no-win Middle East wars, the country is with Trump.
On Teddy Roosevelt’s “Speak softly, and carry a big stick,” Ike’s “Peace through strength,” and JFK’s “Let us never fear to negotiate,” the country is with Trump.
Americans may not love Vladimir Putin, but they do not wish to go to war with Russia, which we avoided in half a century of Cold War.
Americans do not want to go nation-building abroad, but to start the nation-building at home. On coming down with both feet on rioters, looters, arsonists, and Black Lives Matter haters who call cops “pigs,” America is all in with Donald Trump.
As for going after Clinton, the media hysteria surrounding the Donald’s new hire, Steve Bannon of Breitbart News, suggests that this may be a fellow who is not without redeeming social value.
Moreover, outside events could conspire against Clinton.
The coming economic news—we had 1 percent growth in the first half of 2016—could cause a second look at Trumponomics. And whoever is out there strategically dropping Democratic emails may be readying an October surprise for Hillary Clinton, a massive document dump that buries her.
As Yogi Berra reminded us, the game “ain’t over, till it’s over.”
On September 30, the end of fiscal year 2016, the national debt is projected to reach $19.3 trillion.
With spending on the four biggest budget items—Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense—rising, and GDP growing at 1 percent, future deficits will exceed this year’s projected $600 billion.
National bankruptcy, then, is among the existential threats to the republic, the prospect that we will find ourselves in the not-too-distant future in the same boat with Greece, Puerto Rico, and Illinois.
Yet, we drift toward the falls, with the issue not debated.
Ernest Hemingway reminded us of how nations escape quagmires of debt: “The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.”
“Debauching the currency,” Lenin’s depiction, is the way we will probably destroy the debt monster.
Hemingway’s second option, war, appears to be the preferred option of the war chiefs of the Beltway’s think-tank archipelago, who see in any Putin move in the Baltic or Black Sea casus belli.
What our Cold War leaders kept ever in mind, and our War Party scribblers never learned, is the lesson British historian A.J.P. Taylor discovered from studying the Thirty Years War of 1914–1945:
“Though the object of being a Great Power is to be able to fight a Great War, the only way of remaining a Great Power is not to fight one.”
Another existential threat, if Western man still sees himself as the custodian of the world’s greatest civilization, and one yet worth preserving, is the Third-Worldization of the West.
The threat emanates from two factors: The demographic death of the native-born of all Western nations by century’s end, given their fertility rates, and the seemingly endless invasion of the West from Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Concerning the demographic decline and displacement of Western man by peoples of other creeds, cultures, countries, continents, and civilizations, there is an ideological clash within the West.
Some among our elites are rhapsodic at the change. Worshiping at the altars of diversity and equality, they see acquiescing in the invasion of their own countries as a mark of moral superiority.
Angela Merkel speaks for them, or did, up to a while ago.
To those who believe diversity—racial, ethnic, religious, cultural—is to be cherished and embraced, resistance to demographic change in the West is seen as a mark of moral retardation.
Opponents of immigration are hence subjects of abuse—labeled “racists,” “xenophobes,” “fascists,” “Nazis,” and other terms of odium in the rich vocabulary of Progressive hatred.
Yet, opposition to the invasion from across the Med and the Rio Grande is not only propelling the Trump movement but generating rightist parties and movements across the Old Continent.
It is hard to see how this crisis resolves itself peacefully.
For the hundreds of millions living in Third World tyranny and misery are growing, as is their willingness to risk their lives to reach Europe. And national resistance is not going to dissipate as the illegal immigrants and refugees come in growing numbers.
What the resisters see as imperiled is what they treasure most, their countries, cultures, way of life and the future they wish to leave their children. These are things for which men have always fought.
And, in America, is diversity leading to greater unity, or to greater rancor, separatism, and disintegration? Did anyone imagine that, 50 years after the civil-rights laws, we would still be having long hot summers in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Milwaukee?
The crisis that South Carolina statesman John C. Calhoun had posthumously predicted in his “Disquisition on Government” has also come to pass.
The country would divide into two parties, Calhoun said. One would be the party of those who pay the taxes to government, the other the party of those who consume the benefits of government.
The taxpayers’ party would engage in constant clashes with the party of the tax-consumers.
In 2013, the top 1 percent of Americans in income paid 38 percent of all income taxes. The bottom 50 percent of income-earners, half the nation, paid only 3 percent of all income taxes.
A question logically follows: If one belongs to that third of the nation that pays no income taxes but receives copious benefits, why would you vote for a party that will cut taxes you don’t pay, but take away benefits you do receive?
Traditional Republican platforms ask half the country to vote against its economic interests. As a long-term political strategy, that is not too promising.
During the New Deal, FDR’s aide Harold Ickes declared in what became party dogma, “We shall tax and tax, spend and spend, and elect and elect.”
And so they did, and so they do. But this is a game that cannot go on forever.
For, as John Adams reminded us, “There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”