- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Is the Party Over for Bushism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bush II and Jeb are also free-trade zealots.

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

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

Economic nationalism is the future.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who represents the future of the GOP?

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

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

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

Do we put the world first, or America First?

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority [1].

10 Comments (Open | Close)

10 Comments To "Is the Party Over for Bushism?"

#1 Comment By David On July 19, 2016 @ 8:31 am

America can’t stick its head in the ground. We need to combat our foes with a simple presence. If we rebuild our military, China nor Russia will act aggressively towards our allies.

#2 Comment By LouisM On July 19, 2016 @ 9:05 am

Trump was inevitable. BushII was blamed for the 20year false Iraq war which makes Hillary and Obama’s sedition, incompetence and outright lying pale in comparison. BushII was further rebuked when McCain lost…and yet the GOP clings to Bushism and McCainism. We are seeing their desperate gasps.

The seeds for localism were sewn with NAFTA. Prior to that imports were seen as a way to balance the power of private sector unions and mitigate inflation from a labor shortage (which unions and liberals falsely create by licensing and certifications).

The seeds for localism expanded against false wars with Iraq and against globalism / banks / multi-national conglomerates with the economic collapse of 2007. This took all of these individual movements and coalesced them into Trumpism.

Hillary is now the party of Bush/McCainism (globally) ironically Hillary/Obama are also the party Black Lives Matters and police assassinations.

Trump may not be the best statesman for the GOP but most people aren’t voting for Trump as a statemen. they are voting for localism to which Trump is the figurehead.

#3 Comment By Brooklyn Blue Dog On July 19, 2016 @ 9:39 am

Outsourcing will eventually be rendered meaningless by automation and AI. We can bring back all the manufacturing jobs from China and Mexico and give them to the machines. Then what?

Will the GOP take a stand against automation and AI? That would be futile and pointless.

Will it come out in favor of a guaranteed minimum income — which Nixon backed? Probably not, because that would implicate a number of ideological sacred cows.

Then what? Where does the GOP and it’s dispossessed, disenchanted and alienated white working class voters go then?

#4 Comment By Fred Bowman On July 19, 2016 @ 10:12 am

Wish I could believe that Bushism is over, but unfortunately the Democrats under Hillary Clinton are more that willing to continue that awful philosophy and carry it forward. Unfortunately, many Republicans will be more than willing to follow them.

#5 Comment By Conserving What? On July 19, 2016 @ 10:23 am

Well said! Unfortunately, many in the GOP are too pure and too noble to support anyone who attacks their cherished beliefs. Trump attacks their cherished beliefs, so he is a bad man! But rather than admit that they despise him because he threatens to break their rice bowl–their access to power or to those with power–they attack Trump’s person: Trump (they say) is “no conservative”, he is a “buffoon”, he is a male chauvinist pig, he is a threat to the Republic”, blah blah blah. The problem for the pure and noble is that a lot of us are sinners, neither pure nor noble. We want to live indoors, eat three meals a day, and not have to worry about being shot or beheaded in the streets. We don’t want our country to be further impoverished by war and by globalism. So, we support Trump. Is he “crude”? Yep, but so what? We are too.

#6 Comment By bacon On July 19, 2016 @ 12:29 pm

I repeat a comment from a few months ago – if the price of peace is a buffoon in the White House, so be it.

#7 Comment By Johann On July 19, 2016 @ 2:48 pm

Brooklyn Blue Dog, we could let machines do most of the work and still almost all of our population could be very well off if the Federal Reserve would just let deflation happen. Productivity increases should create deflation, if they would just let it happen.

#8 Comment By jk On July 19, 2016 @ 4:24 pm

Our “allies” need to stop freeloading off of the US and start spending on their defense for once. Part of the deal of being in NATO is a minimum of 2% of GDP spent on defense.

Yet these rich European countries barely break the 1% barrier because they know the US and its powerful, hungry MIC will be there will US tax dollars. I fail to see the parallels with native Russians in the Crimea rising up in a predominantly pro-Russian territory of Ukraine with anything of the sort in the Baltics.

The Russians that live in the EU side of the Baltics are more than happy with their standard of life they have with the EU and will not rise up.

And what benefits would Putin get with attempting invade any part of the EU?

European countries take care of their people first, their infrastructure, and economy, while broke Uncle Sam does the heavy lifting for rich EU countries.

Vietnam, Philippines, Japan etc.. also scream bloody murder at these island/rock claims but are some of China’s biggest trade partners…any contradictions there?

#9 Comment By Ken Hoop On July 19, 2016 @ 6:15 pm

Do I have it wrong or didn’t Flynn sound very much like an ‘America is The Indispensable Nation’ interventionist?

#10 Comment By AZ Joe On July 20, 2016 @ 8:22 pm

Great article, Pat, but I’m not sure I share your optimism that the GOP will change any time soon. If platforms mean anything, it sounds like the same hawkish party we’ve known and not so loved.

David. Unfortunately, history teaches that when our military has a “simple presence” in countries or regions like Southeast Asia and the Middle East, complex, bad to catastrophic things tend to happen, as our Founding Fathers knew and we’ve forgotten.

Dwight Eisenhower said in 1960 that if NATO still existed in 20 years then its failed in its purpose. It would have been past time for European nations to assume their own defense. 56 years later we are trying to expand it to the Russian borders and claim they are the ones provoking potential conflict. This is Neocon and liberal interventionist nonsense. The only rebuilt military we need is the one designed to defend America and its vital interests. We could do this spending half as much as we do today. The Obama military is only hollowed-out if the goal is to create an empire.