Patrick J. Buchanan

How Democracy is Losing the World

If Donald Trump told Michael Cohen to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels about a one-night stand a decade ago, that, says Jerome Nadler, incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, would be an “impeachable offense.”

This tells you what social media, cable TV, and the great herd of talking heads will be consumed with for the next two years—the peccadillos and misdeeds of Trump, almost all of which occurred before he was chosen to be president of the United States.

“Everywhere President Trump looks,” writes The Washington Times‘ Rowan Scarborough, “there are Democrats targeting him from New York to Washington to Maryland…lawmakers, state attorneys general, opposition researchers, bureaucrats and activist defense lawyers.”

“They are aiming at Russia collusion, the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, a Trump hotel, Trump tax returns, Trump campaign finances and supposed money laundering,” Scarborough says.

The full-court press is on. Day and night we will be hearing debate on the great question: will the elites that loathe Trump succeed in bringing him down, driving him from office, and putting him in jail?

Says Adam Schiff, the incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee: “Donald Trump may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time.”

And what will a watching world be thinking when it sees the once-great republic preoccupied with breaking yet another president?

Will that world think: why can’t we be more like America?

Does the world still envy us our free press, which it sees tirelessly digging up dirt on political figures and flaying them with abandon?

Among the reasons democracy is in discredit and retreat worldwide is that its exemplar and champion, the USA, is beginning to resemble France’s Third Republic in its last days before World War II.

Also, democracy no longer has the field largely to itself as to how to create a prosperous and powerful nation-state.

This century, China has shown aspiring rulers how a single-party regime can create a world power, and how democracy is not a necessary precondition for extraordinary economic progress.

Vladimir Putin, an autocratic nationalist, has shown how a ruined nation can be restored to a great power in the eyes of its people and the world, commanding a new deference and respect.

Democracy is a bus you get off when it reaches your stop, says Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After the attempted coup in the summer of 2017, Erdogan purged his government and military of tens of thousands of enemies and jailed more journalists than any other nation.

Yet he is welcomed in the capitals of the world.

What does American democracy now offer the world as its foremost attribute, its claim to greatness?

“Our diversity is our strength!” proclaims this generation.

We have become a unique nation composed of peoples from every continent and country, every race, ethnicity, culture, and creed on earth.

But is not diversity what Europe is openly fleeing from?

Is there any country of the Old Continent clamoring for more migrants from the Maghreb, sub-Sahara, or Middle East?

Broadly, it seems more true to say that the world is turning away from transnationalism toward tribalism, and away from diversity and back to the ethno-nationalism whence nations came.

The diversity our democracy has on offer is not selling.

Ethnic, racial, and religious minorities, such as the Uighurs and Tibetans in China, the Rohingya in Myanmar, minority black tribes in sub-Sahara Africa, and white farmers in South Africa can testify that popular majority rule often means mandated restrictions or even an end to minority rights.

In the Middle East, free elections produced a Muslim Brotherhood president in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. After this, a disillusioned Bush 43 White House called off the democracy crusade.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, relates how one minority is treated in much of the Muslim world: “Christians face daily the threat of violence, murder, intimidation, prejudice and poverty,” he says.

“In the last few years, they have been slaughtered by so-called Islamic State,” Welby adds. “Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. Many have been killed, enslaved and persecuted or forcibly converted. Even those who remain ask the question, ‘Why stay?'”

“Christian communities that were the foundation of the universal Church now face the threat of imminent extinction.”

And while this horror is going on, Ronald Reagan’s treaty that banned all U.S. and Soviet nuclear missiles with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles faces collapse. And President Trump’s initiative to bring about a nuclear-free North Korea appears in peril.

Yet for the next two years, we will be preoccupied with whether paying hush money to Stormy Daniels justifies removing a president and exactly when Michael Cohen stopped talking to the Russians about his boss building a Trump Tower in Moscow.

We are an unserious nation engaged in trivial pursuits in a deadly serious world.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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Who Lost the World George H.W. Left Behind?

U.S. service members walk the casket of George H.W. Bush, towards the hearse, Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, Dec. 3, 2018. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kalie Frantz)

George H.W. Bush was America’s closer.

Called in to pitch the final innings of the Cold War, Bush 41 presided masterfully over the fall of the Berlin Wall, the unification of Germany, the liberation of 100 million Eastern Europeans and the dissolution of the Soviet Union into 15 independent nations.

History’s assignment complete, Bush 41 was retired.

And what happened to the world he left behind?

What became of that world where America was the lone superpower, which 41 believed should lead in creation of the New World Order?

The Russia that back then was led by Boris Yeltsin, a man desperate to be our friend and ally, is now ruled by an autocratic nationalist.

Was not Vladimir Putin an inevitable reaction to our treating Russia like an untrustworthy and dangerous recidivist, by our expansion of NATO into the Balkans, the eastern Baltic and the Black Sea — the entire front porch of Mother Russia?

Did the America that in her early decades declared the Monroe Doctrine believe a great nation like Russia would forever indulge the presence of a hostile alliance on her doorstep led by a distant superpower?

In this same quarter century that we treated Russia like a criminal suspect, we welcomed China as the prodigal son. We threw open our markets to Chinese goods, escorted her into the WTO, smiled approvingly as U.S. companies shifted production there.

Beijing reciprocated—by manipulating her currency, running up hundreds of billions of dollars in trade surpluses with us, and thieving our technology when she could not extort it from our industries in China. Beijing even sent student spies into American universities.

Now the mask has fallen. China is claiming all the waters around her, building island bases in the South China Sea and deploying weapons to counter U.S. aircraft carriers. Creating ports and bases in Asia and Africa, confronting Taiwan—China clearly sees America as a potentially hostile rival power and is reaching for hegemony in the Western Pacific and East Asia.

And who produced the policies that led to the “unipolar power” of 1992 being challenged by these two great powers now collaborating against us? Was it not the three presidents who sat so uncomfortably beside President Donald Trump at the state funeral of 41?

Late in the 20th century, Osama bin Laden declared war on us for our having planted military bases on the sacred soil of Mecca and Medina; and, on Sept. 11, 2001, he made good on his declaration.

America recoiled, invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban, and set out to build an Afghan regime on American principles. Bush 43, declaring that we were besieged by “an axis of evil,” attacked and occupied Iraq.

We then helped ignite a civil war in Syria that became, with hundreds of thousands dead and millions uprooted, the greatest humanitarian disaster of the century.

Then followed our attack on Libya and support for Saudi Arabia’s war to crush the Houthi rebels in Yemen, a war that many believe has surpassed Syria as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Where are the fruits of our forever war in the Middle East that justify the 7,000 U.S. dead, 60,000 wounded and untold trillions of dollars lost?

Since George H.W. Bush left the White House, the U.S. has incurred $12 trillion in trade deficits, lost scores of thousands of manufacturing plants and 5 million manufacturing jobs. Our economic independence is ancient history.

After 41 left, the Republican Party supported an immigration policy that brought tens of millions, mostly unskilled and poor, half of them illegal, into the country. Result: The Nixon-Reagan coalition that delivered two 49-state landslides in the ’70s and ’80s is history, and the Republican nominee has lost the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections.

From 1992 to 2016, the American establishment contemptuously dismissed as “isolationists” those who opposed their wars for democracy in the Middle East, and as “protectionists” those who warned that by running up these massive trade deficits we were exporting America’s future.

The establishment airily dismissed those who said that pushing NATO right up to Russia’s borders would enrage and permanently antagonize a mighty military power. They ridiculed skeptics of our embrace of the Chinese rulers who defended the Tiananmen massacre.

The establishment won the great political battles before 2016. But how did the democracy crusaders, globalists, open borders progressives and interventionists do by their country in these decades?

Did the former presidents who sat beside Trump at National Cathedral, and the establishment seated in the pews behind them, realize that it was their policies, their failures, that gave birth to the new America that rose up to throw them out, and put in Donald Trump?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Massive Riots in Paris Threaten Climate Accord

Demonstrators light a car on fire during a protest of the yellow vests in Paris on Dec. 1, 2018. Alexandros Mikhailidis/Shutterstock

Certainly, the communications strategy in the run-up was impressive.

In October came that apocalyptic U.N. report warning that the world is warming faster than we thought and the disasters coming sooner than we thought.

What disasters? More and worse hurricanes, uncontrollable fires, floods, the erosion of coastlines, typhoons, drought, tsunamis, the sinking of islands into the sea.

In November, a scientific report issued by 13 U.S. agencies warned that if greater measures are not taken to reduce global warming, the damage could knock 10 percent off the size of the U.S. economy by century’s end.

At the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, 19 of the attending nations recommitted to the Paris accord. Only President Trump’s America did not.

Yet, though confidence may abound in Katowice that the world will meet the goals set down in Paris in 2015, the global environmentalists seem to be losing momentum and losing ground.

Consider what happened this weekend in France.

Saturday, rage over a fuel tax President Emmanuel Macron has proposed to cut carbon emissions brought mobs into the heart of Paris, where they battled police, burned cars, looted, smashed show windows of elite stores such as Dior and Chanel, and desecrated the Arc de Triomphe.

In solidarity with the Paris rioters, protests in other French cities erupted.

Virulently anti-elite, the protesters say they cannot make ends meet with the present burdens on the working and middle class.

Specifically, what the rioters seem to be saying is this:

We cannot see the benefits you are promising to future generations from cutting carbon emissions. And we cannot survive the taxes you are imposing on us in the here and now.

What is happening in Paris carries a message for all Western countries.

Democracies, which rely on the sustained support of electorates, have to impose rising costs on those electorates, if they are to deeply cut carbon emissions.

But when the electorates cannot see the benefits of these painful price hikes, the greater the likelihood the people will rise up and repudiate those whom progressives regard as far-sighted leaders — such as Macron.

Paris shows that Western elites may be reaching the limits of their political capacity to impose major sacrifices upon their constituents, who are turning to populists of the left and right to dethrone those elites.

Trump has been using tariffs to cut the trade deficits America has been running in recent decades, to bring manufacturing back to the USA, and to restore America’s economic independence.

Excellent goals all. But the immediate impact of those tariffs is rising prices at the mall and retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports. Before the long-term benefits can be realized, the pain comes and the protests begin.

No one wins a trade war, we are told. But an America willing to endure lost access to British imports in the 19th century emerged in the 20th as the greatest manufacturing power history had ever seen, a nation independent of all others, and able to stay out of the great wars of that century.

Are the American people willing to make the sacrifices to restore that independence? Are the British people willing to pay the price that the restoration of their national independence, via Brexit, entails?

Authoritarians have it easier. Morally revolting and socially ruinous as its hellish policy was, China was able to impose, for decades, a one-couple, one-child mandate on the most populous nation on earth.

According to the Paris agreement, poorer nations were promised $100 billion a year, starting in 2020, to cut carbon emissions. Anyone think that the newly nationalistic peoples of the West will tolerate that kind of wealth transfer to the Third World indefinitely?

In the Paris climate accord, China and India were given a pass to produce carbon emissions, while reductions were mandated for the Western powers.

How long will the West go along with that, while paying ever-rising prices to cut their own carbon emissions?

China, according to The New York Times, “consumes half the world’s coal. More than 4.3 million Chinese are employed in the country’s coal mines. China has added 40 percent of the world’s coal capacity since 2002.”

Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is planning new coal-fired power plants and financing them across Asia.

What we are witnessing is an irrepressible conflict between democratic governments committed to cutting carbon emissions “to save the planet,” and their constituents who can refuse to bear those sacrifices by throwing out politicians like Macron.

Perhaps it says something about the future that the host city for this meeting of Paris climate accord signatories, Katowice, is in Silesia, a region that is home to some 90,000 coal workers — around half of all the coal workers in the EU.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Why is Ukraine’s Kerch Crisis Any of Our Business?

On the parade ground of the military unit of internal troops of the MIA of Russia, 2014. Credit:Free Wind 2014/shutterstock

Upon his departure for the G-20 gathering in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump canceled his planned weekend meeting with Vladimir Putin, citing as his reason the Russian military’s seizure and holding of three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.

But was Putin really the provocateur in Sunday’s naval clash outside Kerch Strait, the Black Sea gateway to the Sea of Azov?

Or was the provocateur Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko?

First, a bit of history.

In 2014, after the pro-Russian regime in Kiev was ousted in a coup, and a pro-NATO regime installed with U.S. backing, Putin detached and annexed Crimea, for centuries the homeport of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

With the return of Crimea, Russia now occupied both sides of Kerch Strait. And this year, Russia completed a 12-mile bridge over the strait and Putin drove the first truck across.

The Sea of Azov became a virtual Russian lake, access to which was controlled by Russia, just as access to the Black Sea is controlled by Turkey.

While the world refused to recognize the new reality, Russia began to impose rules for ships transiting the strait, including 48 hours notice to get permission.

Ukrainian vessels, including warships, would have to notify Russian authorities before passing beneath the Kerch Strait Bridge into the Sea of Azov to reach their major port of Mariupol.

Sunday, two Ukrainian artillery ships and a tug, which had sailed out of Odessa in western Ukraine, passed through what Russia now regards as its territorial waters off Crimea and the Kerch Peninsula. Destination: Mariupol.

The Ukrainian vessels refused to obey Russian directives to halt.

Russian warships fired at the Ukrainian vessels and rammed the tug. Three Ukrainian sailors were wounded, and 24 crew taken into custody.

Russia’s refusal to release the sailors was given by President Trump as the reason for canceling his Putin meeting.

Moscow contends that Ukraine deliberately violated the new rules of transit that Kiev had previously observed, to create an incident.

For his part, Putin has sought to play the matter down, calling it a “border incident, nothing more.”

“The incident in the Black Sea was a provocation organized by the authorities and maybe the president himself. …(Poroshenko’s) rating is falling…so he needed to do something.”

Maxim Eristavi, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, seems to concur: “Poroshenko wants to get a head start in his election campaign. He is playing the card of commander in chief, flying around in military uniform, trying to project that he is in control.”

Our U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, however, accused Russia of “outlaw actions” against the Ukrainian vessels and “an arrogant act the international community will never accept.”

Predictably, our interventionists decried Russian “aggression” and demanded we back up our Ukrainian “ally” and send military aid.

Why was Poroshenko’s ordering of gunboats into the Sea of Azov, while ignoring rules Russia set down for passage, provocative?

Because Poroshenko, whose warships had previously transited the strait, had to know the risk that he was taking and that Russia might resist.

Why would he provoke the Russians?

Because, with his poll numbers sinking badly, Poroshenko realizes that unless he does something dramatic, his party stands little chance in next March’s elections.

Immediately after the clash, Poroshenko imposed martial law in all provinces bordering Russia and the Black Sea, declared an invasion might be imminent, demanded new Western sanctions on Moscow, called on the U.S. to stand with him, and began visiting army units in battle fatigues.

Some Westerners want even more in the way of confronting Putin.

Adrian Karatnycky of the Atlantic Council urges us to build up U.S. naval forces in the Black Sea, send anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, ratchet up sanctions on Russia, threaten to expel her from the SWIFT system of international bank transactions, and pressure Europe to cancel the Russians’ Nord Stream 2 and South Stream oil pipelines into Europe.

But there is a larger issue here.

Why is control of the Kerch Strait any of our business?

Why is this our quarrel, to the point that U.S. strategists want us to confront Russia over a Crimean Peninsula that houses the Livadia Palace that was the last summer residence of Czar Nicholas II?

If Ukraine had a right to break free of Russia in 1991, why do not Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk have the right to break free of Kiev?

Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone’s quarrels—from who owns the islets in the South China Sea, to who owns the Senkaku and Southern Kurils; and from whether Transnistria had a right to secede from Moldova, to whether South Ossetia and Abkhazia had the right to break free of Georgia, when Georgia broke free of Russia?

Do the American people care a fig for these places? Are we really willing to risk war with Russia or China over who holds title to them?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Trump’s Crucial Test at San Ysidro

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Mass migration “lit the flame” of the right-wing populism that is burning up the Old Continent, she said. Europe must “get a handle on it.”

“Europe must send a very clear message — ‘we are not going to be able to continue to provide refuge and support.'” Should Europe fail to toughen up, illegal migration will never cease to “roil the body politic.”

And who is the lady who issued the dire warning and dispensed the tough-love advice to Europe? Marine Le Pen?

No. It is Hillary Clinton, spouse of the Great Triangulator.

Democrats may have piled on Clinton for selling out progressivism, but her political instincts here are dead on. She has grasped something her party willfully refuses to recognize—the growing salience of the issue of mass illegal migration into Western societies.

According to a new Gallup Poll, concern over immigration and illegal aliens soared from 13 to 21 percent of the public in November, as the Number 1 problem on the minds of the American people.

And this was before Sunday’s violent collision at San Ysidro where the Border Patrol fired rubber bullets and used tear gas to stop a mob of hundreds—out of the thousands of migrants housed in a stadium in Tijuana—from breaching our border and pouring into our country.

TV footage of the attempted breach, and photos and stories that major newspapers are putting on Page One, will sustain the national focus on what, since the election, has re-emerged as the nation’s primary concern.

With Mexico about to install a leftist government and new caravans forming in Central America to move through Mexico to the U.S. border, this issue is not going away before the 2020 election.

And with nearly 10,000 migrants being held in Tijuana for more than a week, in what the city’s mayor calls a humanitarian crisis, new and more desperate attempts to breach our border can be expected.

Rocks and bottles were hurled at the men and women of the Border Patrol Sunday, which brought the tear gas and temporary closing of the San Ysidro crossing. New, more serious, casualties cannot be ruled out.

Monday, Trump called on Mexico City to deal with the migrants seeking to breach our border, and threatened that if Mexico does not act, he could close one of the world’s busiest crossings, and for good:

“Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A.,” Trump tweeted, “We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!”

Trump thus laid down a marker for himself. Either he halts the caravans, or he will be seen as the failed enforcer of America’s border.

In that Gallup Poll there is other major news.

Among the problems facing America, in the eyes of her people in November, not one of the top 10 involved a foreign threat. In the following order, all involve the troubled state of our splintered nation: immigration/illegal aliens; dissatisfaction with government/poor leadership; health care; unifying the country; race relations/racism; lack of respect for each other; ethics/moral/religious/family decline; economy in general; unemployment/jobs; and education.

Immigration, race, culture, the economy and education appear to be the agenda Americans want addressed in 2020.

What does this portend?

While progressives may have piled on Clinton for her comments, and she may have “clarified” what she said, she has hit on something. Mass migration from the Third World has not only been the major progenitor and propellant of the right-wing populism that is raging across Europe, it also played an indispensable role in defeating her and electing Donald Trump.

And if the Democratic Party and its presidential candidates in 2020 are seen as abolish-ICE, pro-amnesty, open borders liberals, they will pull their party out of the mainstream of this nation on the most divisive issue of our time—the Third World invasion of the West.

For Trump, the die is cast. Not only are border security, the wall, and his pledge to halt the illegal invasion of his country what got him elected, they appear to be a primary argument for his re-election.

Washington’s think tank and media elites may be focused on other issues—Brexit, the Russia-Ukraine naval clash in the Kerch Strait, Kim Jong Un’s nukes, the South China Sea, Syria, Iran, the Saudi crown prince’s role in the grisly murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.

But according to Gallup, none of these issues is a top concern or problem for the American people.

Progressives fail to understand that what they describe as greater and ever more desirable diversity, millions of Americans see as the conquest of their country by an endless flood of uninvited strangers.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

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Will Democratic Rebels Dethrone Queen Nancy?

Credit: C-Span/YouTube Screenshot

After adding at least 37 seats and taking control of the House by running on change, congressional Democrats appear to be about to elect as their future leaders three of the oldest faces in their party.

Nancy Pelosi of California and Steny Hoyer of Maryland have led House Democrats for 16 years. For 12 years, they have been joined in the leadership triumvirate by Jim Clyburn of South Carolina.

If these three emerge as speaker, majority leader, and majority whip, all three Democratic leaders will be older than our oldest president, Ronald Reagan, was when he went home after two terms.

By 2020’s election, all three House leaders would be over 80.

Was this gerontocracy what America voted for when it awarded Democrats control of the House?

Hardly. Some Democrats won in 2018 by pledging not to vote for Pelosi as speaker, so unpopular is she in their districts. And if all who said they want new leadership were to vote for new leaders on the House floor January 3—when the speaker will be chosen—Pelosi would fall short. The race for speaker could then break wide open.

Some 16 Democrats vowed Monday to oppose Pelosi on the House floor, one shy of blocking her return to the speakership after eight years.

In a letter that went public, the 16 declared: “Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington. We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise.”

The likelihood of the rebellion succeeding, however, remains slim, for no credible challenger to Pelosi has yet announced.

What explains the timidity in the Democratic caucus?

Pelosi punishes enemies. Democrats calling for new leaders have already been branded as sexists with the hashtag “#FiveWhiteGuys.”

Yet evidence is mounting that a Pelosi speakership would prove an unhappy close to her remarkable career.

One week after the election, 150 protesters from the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats blocked Pelosi’s House office to demand action on climate change. They were joined by the youngest member of the incoming Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Pelosi declared herself “inspired” by the protesters, 51 of whom were arrested. She urged police to let them exercise their democratic rights and pledged to revive the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which Republicans abolished.

Dismissing the committee as “toothless,” the protesters demanded that Pelosi’s party commit to bringing an end to the use of all fossil fuels and to accepting no more campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry.

Not going to happen with Pelosi as speaker. For when it comes to the leftist agenda of liberal Democrats from safe districts—Medicare for all, abolish ICE, impeach Trump—Pelosi would pigeonhole such measures to avoid the party’s being dragged too far to the left for 2020.

And if the House were to pass radical measures, the bills would die in the Senate or be vetoed by the president.

Moreover, within the House Democrats, the various factions are going to be demanding a new distribution of powerful seats, of which there are only so many to go around.

Democratic women, who won more seats than ever, will want more, as will the Congressional Black Caucus and the Hispanics. It will most likely be white male Democrats, that shrinking cohort, who will be the principal losers in the new House.

That adage about Democrats being a collection of warring tribes gathered together in anticipation of common plunder has never seemed truer.

What, then, does the new year promise?

As it becomes apparent that there is little common ground for bipartisan legislation on Capitol Hill—except perhaps on infrastructure, and that would take a long time to enact—the cable news channels will look elsewhere for the type of action that causes ratings to soar. That action will inevitably come in the clashes between Trump and his enemies and the media that sustain them.

Out of the House—with Adam Schiff, Elijah Cummings, Maxine Waters, and Jerrold Nadler as new chairs—will come a blizzard of subpoenas and a series of confrontations with witnesses.

From special counsel Robert Mueller’s office will almost surely come new indictments, trials, and the long-anticipated report, which will go to the Justice Department, where Matthew Whitaker is acting attorney general.

Then there is the presidential race of 2020, where the Democratic Party has yet another gerontocracy problem.

By spring, there could be 20 Democrats who have announced for president. And five of the most prominent mentioned—Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, John Kerry, Joe Biden, and Mike Bloomberg—are also over 70, with Elizabeth Warren turning 70 in June.

While some candidates will be granted airtime because they are famous, the lesser known will follow the single sure path to the cable studios and the weekend TV shows—the trashing of Trump.

And trading barbs is not Nancy Pelosi’s kind of fight.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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Trump Raises the Stakes With CNN

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders addresses the WH press briefing room. Michael Candelori/Shutterstock   

Last week, the White House revoked the press pass of CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, and denied him access to the building.

CNN responded by filing suit in federal court against the president.

Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights had been violated, said CNN. The demand: Acosta’s press pass must be returned immediately and his White House press privileges restored.

“If left unchallenged,” CNN warned, “the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.” A dozen news organizations, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, are filing amicus briefs on CNN’s behalf.

On Thursday, the Trump administration raised the stakes.

Justice Department lawyer James Burnham declared in court: “If the president wants to exclude all reporters from the White House grounds, he clearly has the authority to do that.”

After all, whose house is it if not the “President’s House,” the home of Donald Trump as long as he serves in the office to which he was elected by the American people?

The West Wing contains the Oval Office and the offices of senior staff. As for the West Wing briefing room, it was built by President Richard Nixon in 1969, when White House passes were regarded as privileges.

When did they become press rights or press entitlements?

Is Trump obligated to provide access to whomever CNN chooses to represent the network in the West Wing, even if the individual assigned routinely baits the press secretary and bashes the president?

Whence comes this obligation on the president?

White House aides can be fired, forced to surrender their passes and be escorted out of the building.

Whence comes the immunity of White House correspondents?

The First Amendment guarantees CNN reporters and anchors the right to say what they wish about Trump. It does not entitle Acosta to a front-row seat in the White House briefing room or the right to grill the president at East Room press conferences.

Why was he expelled from the White House?

Says press secretary Sarah Sanders, “The First Amendment is not served when a single reporter, of more than 150 present, attempts to monopolize the floor.”

Acosta baits the president, argues, refuses to yield the floor, manifests a hostility to Trump and trashes him regularly on-air.

Such conduct has made him a champion to Trump haters. But to others, it makes him a biased witness to the Trump presidency who has no legal or constitutional claim to a chair in the West Wing briefing room.

When this writer entered the White House in January 1969, a reporter who had traveled in the 1968 campaign came by to explain that I had to understand that he was now part of “the adversary press.”

What we had done to be declared an adversary, I do not know. I had assumed that the opposition party would become the adversaries of a Nixon White House.

But if the press declares itself an adversary of the White House and if it acts as an adversary—as it has a First Amendment right to do—such members of the media are no more entitled to the run of the West Wing than would be a member of Congress who regularly attacks the president.

Theodore White wrote in “The Making of the President 1972” that the real enemies of Nixon’s White House were not Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield and House Speaker John McCormack but CBS News, The Washington Post and The New York Times.

This holds true for Trump. If the media are not “the enemy of the people,” the major media are certainly—and proudly — the enemy of Trump.

Trump’s most visible and persistent adversaries are not Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. And it is Trump’s attacks on CNN and “fake news” that bring his loyalists to their feet. With his use of Twitter, Trump has found a way around an overwhelmingly hostile media.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller gets a favorable press, as he is seen by the media as the instrument of their deliverance from Trump.

But should the special counsel bring in a report that says, “Donald Trump did not collude with Russia in the 2016 election, and we could find no obstruction of justice in how he dealt with our investigation,” Mueller’s indulgent press would turn on him overnight.

CNN says that if Trump succeeds in pulling Acosta’s press pass, it could have a “chilling” effect on other White House correspondents.

But if it has a chilling effect on journalists who relish confronting the president and reaping the cheers, publicity and benefits that go with being a leader of the adversary press, why is that a problem?

The White House should set down rules of conduct for reporters in the briefing room, and if reporters repeatedly violate them, that should cost them their chairs and, in cases like Acosta’s, their credentials.

This confrontation is healthy, and the republic will survive if the press loses this fight, which the press itself picked.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

 

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Macron Trash Talks “America First”

In a rebuke that bordered on a national insult Sunday, Emmanuel Macron sniped at Donald Trump’s calling himself a nationalist.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism; nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism,” Macron said.

As for Trump’s policy of “America first,” Macron trashed such atavistic thinking in this new age: “By saying we put ourselves first and the others don’t matter, we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what makes it great and what is essential: its moral values.”

Though he is being hailed as Europe’s new anti-Trump leader who will stand up for transnationalism and globalism, Macron revealed his ignorance of America.

Trump’s ideas are not ideological but rooted in our country’s history.

America was born between the end of the French and Indian War, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the ratification of the Constitution in 1788. Both the general who led us in the Revolution and the author of that declaration became president. Both put America first. And both counseled their countrymen to avoid “entangling” or “permanent” alliances with any other nation, as we did for 160 years.

Were George Washington and Thomas Jefferson lacking in patriotism?

When Woodrow Wilson, after being re-elected in 1916 on the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War,” took us into World War I, he did so as an “associate,” not as an Allied power. American troops fought under American command.

After that war, the U.S. Senate rejected an alliance with France. Under Franklin Roosevelt, Congress formally voted for neutrality in any future European war.

The U.S. emerged from World War II as the least bloodied and least damaged nation because we stayed out for more than two years after it had begun.

We did not invade France until four years after it was occupied, the British had been thrown off the Continent, and Josef Stalin’s Soviet Union had been fighting and dying for three years.

The leaders who kept us out of the two world wars as long as they did—did they not serve our nation well, given that America’s total losses were just over 500,000 dead, compared with the millions that other nations lost?

At the Armistice Day ceremony, Macron declared, “By saying we put ourselves first and the others don’t matter, we erase what a nation holds dearest…its moral values.”

But Trump did not say that other countries don’t matter. He only said we should put our own country first.

What country does Emmanuel Macron put first?

Does the president of France see himself as a citizen of the world with responsibility for all of Europe and all of mankind?

Charles de Gaulle was perhaps the greatest French patriot of the 20th century. Yet he spoke of a Europe of nation-states, built a national nuclear arsenal, ordered NATO out of France in 1966, and, in Montreal in 1967, declared, “Long live a free Quebec”—inciting French Canadians to rise up against “les Anglo-Saxons” and create their own nation.

Was de Gaulle lacking in patriotism?

By declaring American nationalists anti-patriotic, Macron has asserted a claim to the soon-to-be-vacant chair of Angela Merkel.

But is Macron really addressing the realities of the new Europe and world in which we now live? Or is he simply assuming a heroic liberal posture to win the applause of Western corporate and media elites?

The realities: in Britain, Scots are seeking secession, and the English have voted to get out of the European Union. Many Basques and Catalans wish to secede from Spain. Czechs and Slovaks have split the blanket and parted ways.

Anti-EU sentiment is rampant in populist-dominated Italy.

A nationalism their peoples regard as deeply patriotic has triumphed in Poland and Hungary and is making gains even in Germany.

The leaders of the world’s three greatest military powers—Trump in the U.S., Vladimir Putin in Russia, and Xi Jinping in China—are all nationalists.

Turkish nationalist Recep Tayyip Erdogan rules in Ankara; Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi is head of India. Jair Bolsonaro, a Trumpian nationalist, is the incoming president of Brazil. Is not Benjamin Netanyahu an Israeli nationalist?

In France, a poll of voters last week showed that Marine Le Pen’s renamed party, Rassemblement National, has moved ahead of Macron’s party for the May 2019 European Parliament elections.

If there is a valid criticism of Trump’s foreign policy, it is not that he has failed to recognize the new realities of the 21st century. It’s that he has not moved expeditiously to dissolve old alliances that put America at risk of war in faraway lands where no vital U.S. interests exist.

Why are we still committed to fight for a South Korea far richer and more populous than the nuclear-armed North? Why are U.S. planes and ships still bumping into Russian planes and ships in the Baltic and Black seas?

Why are we still involved in the half-dozen wars into which Bush II and Barack Obama got us in the Middle East?

Why do we not have the “America first” foreign policy we voted for?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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This Is a Fight to the Finish

The war in Washington will not end until the presidency of Donald Trump ends. Everyone seems to sense that now.

This is a fight to the finish.

A post-election truce that began with Trump congratulating House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—“I give her a great deal of credit for what she’s done and what she’s accomplished”— was ancient history by nightfall.

With the forced resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his replacement by his chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, the long-anticipated confrontation with Robert Mueller appears at hand.

Sessions had recused himself from the oversight role of the special counsel’s investigation into Russiagate. Whitaker has definitely not.

Before joining Justice, he said that the Mueller probe was overreaching, going places it had no authority to go, and that it could be leashed by a new attorney general and starved of funds until it passes away.

Whitaker was not chosen to be merely a placeholder until a new AG is confirmed. He was picked so he can get the job done.

And about time.

For two years, Trump has been under a cloud of unproven allegations and suspicion that he and top campaign officials colluded with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to thieve and publish the emails of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

It is past time for Mueller to prove these charges or concede he has a busted flush, wrap up his investigation and go home.

And now, in T.S. Eliot’s words, Trump appears to have found “the strength to force the moment to its crisis.”

His attitude toward Mueller’s probe is taking on the aspect of Andrew Jackson’s attitude toward Nicholas Biddle’s Second Bank of the United States: It’s “trying to kill me, but I will kill it.”

Trump has been warned by congressional Democrats that if he in any way impedes the work of Mueller’s office, he risks impeachment.

Well, let’s find out.

If the House Judiciary Committee of incoming chairman Jerrold Nadler wishes to impeach Trump for forcing Mueller to fish or cut bait, Trump’s allies should broaden the debate to the real motivation here of the defeated establishment: It detests the man the American people chose to lead their country and thus wants to use its political and cultural power to effect his removal.

Even before news of Sessions’ departure hit Wednesday, Trump was subjected to an antifa-style hassling by the White House press corps.

One reporter berated the president and refused to surrender the microphone. Others shouted support for his antics. A third demanded to know whether Trump’s admission that he’s a “nationalist” would give aid and comfort to “white nationalists.”

By picking up the credentials of CNN’s Jim Acosta and booting him out of the White House, Trump has set a good precedent.

Freedom of the press does not mean guaranteed immunity of the press from the same kind of abuse the press directs at the president.

John F. Kennedy was beloved by the media elite. Yet JFK canceled all White House subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune and called the publisher of The New York Times to get him to pull reporter David Halberstam out of Vietnam for undermining U.S. morale in a war in which Green Berets were dying.

Some journalists have become Trump haters with press passes. And Trump is right to speak truth to mainstream media power and to accord to the chronically hostile press the same access to the White House to which Robert De Niro is entitled. Since the days of John Adams, the White House has been the president’s house, not the press’s house.

Pelosi appears the favorite to return as speaker of the House. But she may find her coming days in the post she loves to be less-than-happy times.

Some of her incoming committee chairs—namely, Adam Schiff, Maxine Waters and Elijah Cummings—seem less interested in legislative compromises than in rummaging through White House files for documents to damage the president, starting with his tax returns.

To a world watching with fascination this death struggle convulsing our capital, one wonders how attractive American democracy appears.

And just how much division can this democracy stand?

We know what the left thinks of Trump’s “base.”

Hillary Clinton told us. Half his supporters, she said, are a “basket of deplorables” who are “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.” Lately, America’s populist right has been called fascist and neo-Nazi.

How can the left “unite” with people like that? Why should the left not try to drive such “racists” out of power by any means necessary?

This is the thinking that bred antifa.

As for those on the right—as they watch the left disparage the old heroes, tear down their monuments, purge Christianity from their public schools—they have come to conclude that their enemies are at root anti-Christian and anti-American.

How do we unify a nation where the opposing camps believe this?

What the Trump-establishment war is about is the soul of America, a war in which a compromise on principle can be seen as a betrayal.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of  Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.

 

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A Democratic Congress Could Be a Perfect Foil for Trump

White House/YouTube Screenshot

Did former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg just take a page out of the playbook of Senator Ed Muskie from half a century ago?

In his first off-year election in 1970, President Richard Nixon ran a tough attack campaign to hold the 52 House seats the GOP had added in ’66 and ’68, and to pick up a few more seats in the Senate.

The issue: law and order. The targets: the “radical liberals.”

In that campaign’s final hours, Muskie delivered a statesmanlike address from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, excoriating the “unprecedented volume” of “name-calling” and “deceptions” from the “highest offices in the land.”

Nixon picked up a pair of Senate seats, but Democrats gained a dozen House seats, and the press scored it as a victory for Muskie who was vaulted into the lead position for the 1972 Democratic nomination.

In the final days of this election, Bloomberg just invested $5 million to air, twice nationally, a two-minute ad for the Democratic Party that features Bloomberg himself denouncing the “fear-mongering,” and “shouting and hysterics” coming out of Washington.

“Americans are neither naive nor heartless,” says the mayor. “We can be a nation of immigrants while also securing our borders.”

That $5 million ad buy was only Bloomberg’s latest contribution to the Democratic Party during an election campaign into which he had already plunged $110 million of his own money.

Contributions of this magnitude support the idea that Bloomberg will seek the presidential nomination as a Democrat. With resources like this at his disposal, and a willingness to spend into the hundreds of millions, he could last in the primaries as long as he wants.

Yet Bloomberg is no Ed Muskie, who had been Hubert Humphrey’s running mate in 1968 and was widely regarded a top contender for 1972.

The mayor has been a Republican and independent as well as a Democrat. And as the Washington Post‘s Robert Costa relates, Bloomberg has drawbacks: “He speaks flatly with the faded Boston accent from his youth, devoid of partisan passion and with a technocratic emphasis.”

With the energy of the Democratic Party coming from militants, minorities, and Millennials, would these true believers rally to a 76-year-old Manhattan media magnate who wants to make their party more centrist and problem-solving and to start beavering away at cutting the deficit?

Yet Bloomberg’s opening move may force the pace of the politics of 2020. Should he announce and start spending on ads, he could force the hand of Vice President Joe Biden, who appears the Democrats’ strongest candidate to take back Pennsylvania and the states of the industrial Midwest from Trump.

On the left wing of the Democratic Party, which seems certain to have a finalist in the run for the 2020 nomination, the competition is stiff and the pressure to move early equally great.

If socialist Bernie Sanders is not to lock up this wing of the party as he did in 2016, Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts may have to move soon.

But even before attention can turn to the presidential race, the U.S. House of Representatives seems certain to witness a leadership battle.

Nancy Pelosi is determined to become speaker again if Democrats take the House on Tuesday, while the Congressional Black Caucus has entered a demand for one of the two top positions in the House.

Millennials also want new leadership. And to many centrist Democrats in swing districts, Pelosi as the visible voice and face of the national party remains a perpetual problem.

If the Democrats fail to recapture the House, the recriminations will be sweeping and the demand for new leadership overwhelming.

But even if they do capture the House, the rewards may be fleeting.

A Democratic House will be a natural foil for President Trump, an institution with responsibility but without real power.

And should the economy, which has been running splendidly under a Republican Congress and president, start to sputter under a divided Congress, there is no doubt that the Democratic House majority, with its anti-capitalist left and socialist ideology, would emerge as the primary suspect.

Also, if Democrats win the House, Maxine Waters could be the new chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, Adam Schiff the chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Jerrold Nadler of New York the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the repository for resolutions of impeachment. Does that look like a winning lineup?

2019 is thus shaping up to be a year of gridlock on Capitol Hill, with the Senate attempting to expeditiously move through Trump’s nominated judges and a Democratic House potentially hassling the White House and Trump administration with a snowstorm of subpoenas.

This could be the kind of battleground Donald Trump relishes.

A victorious Democratic Party on Tuesday could be set up to take the fall, both for gridlock and any major reversal in the progress of the economy.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

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