|Bush fired by Trump?|
It is also an embarrassing repudiation of conservative orthodoxy that has dominated Republican politics for decades. It suggests that the party's intellectual leaders, who organized the base around the National Review/Weekly Standard consensus -- small government, free trade, pro-Israel, deregulation, low taxes, social conservatism and an aggressive foreign policy -- have been generals of a phantom army.
The troops, instead, are marching with Trump, who bested his rivals in South Carolina by campaigning against nearly everything the Bush family, the Republican Party and neoconservatives who supported military interventions advocated for.
Among his many breaks with the elite consensus, Trump declared that former President George W. Bush had lied about weapons of mass destruction to march the country to war; blamed Bush for the 9/11 attacks, arguing that he ignored intelligence community warnings; defended Planned Parenthood; boasted that he was the only Republican who would not cut Social Security or Medicare; said he approved of the individual mandate in Obamacare; and promised to slap onerous tariffs on companies who outsource jobs.
And where Washington and New York-based GOP leaders pledge outreach to immigrants, moderate Muslims and other minorities, the reality TV star plays more overt racial politics than any national candidate since George Wallace. Trump's brand of nativist, nationalist isolationism marked the path to victory. Rival candidate Jeb Bush is a dead man.
Conventional wisdom said that Trump was going to have a difficult time in the Palmetto State. After all, the brash real estate mogul failed to sway evangelicals in Iowa, a key group that is similarly prevalent across South Carolina. The thinking further went that Trump would also face an uphill climb with many veterans in the state, who are drawn to a candidate ready to assume the sober responsibilities of commander-in-chief.
More than anything, however, Trump was expected to hit a wall named George W. Bush. The former president remains overwhelmingly popular among the state’s Republican voters, but not even he could convince enough South Carolinians to support his forlorn brother.
In the weeks leading up to the primary, Trump incessantly mocked Jeb Bush for relying on the aid of his famous family -- first his mother, Barbara, and later his brother. He gleefully tweeted that Bush “desperately needed mommy to help him. Jeb --- mom can't help you with ISIS, the Chinese or with Putin.” Bush campaign officials spun the jabs as a personal affront against the former first lady in hopes of winning votes, but Trump kept rising in the polls anyway.
During last week’s presidential debate in Greenville, South Carolina, Trump unloaded on George W. Bush’s presidency in a tirade that earned him plaudits from anti-war groups like Code Pink. He insisted that the former president “lied” to America about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to start a war there and claimed that he lost “hundreds” of friends during the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
"How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center came down?" Trump asked, referring to the GOP refrain that “Bush kept us safe” in the aftermath of the attacks, a line that helped him win re-election in 2004. He further stirred the pot after the former president re-emerged on the campaign trail on behalf of his brother, posing the question, “is he fair game for questions about World Trade Center, Iraq War and eco[nomic] collapse? Careful!"
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"He knows nothing. That’s why we’ve been in there for 15 years," added Trump about Graham, in reference to the nation's involvement in the Middle East. The attacks were especially jarring because they didn’t come from a Democrat or anti-war liberal still sore about George W. Bush’s presidency -- but from someone leading the race for the GOP nomination.
Beltway pundits confidently projected that Trump’s performance at the debate would cost him votes of South Carolina Republicans still loyal to the presidential family. But once again, his poll numbers held steady, offering up yet another stinging rebuke to the Bush legacy. In the end, Trump capitalized on a structural weakness of Jeb Bush’s campaign that no amount of money could fix -- his last name. It turns out far more Americans are divided on issues like the Iraq War and whether George W. Bush truly “kept us safe” than Republican leaders believed.
Trump violated another core Republican Party standard on the eve of the primary when he vowed to stay “neutral” in conflicts between Israel and Palestine, with hopes of negotiating a deal between the two sides during his presidency. “You understand a lot of people have gone down in flames trying to make that deal," he said in an interview on MSNBC this week. "So I don’t want to say whose fault it is -- I don’t think that helps.” That statement was at odds with the rest of the Republican presidential field, and the GOP more broadly, which offers largely knee-jerk pro-Israel rhetoric to appeal to evangelicals across the American South.
The businessman followed up on Thursday during a CNN town hall by suggesting that he would preserve a health insurance mandate -- such as the one that's part of the Affordable Care Act -- and then reversing himself on the matter a day later.
Added to his promises not to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, and his populist rhetoric against trade and Wall Street, it's a wonder GOP elites and their wealthy donors haven't done more to stop Trump's rise -- especially now this caucus victory gives him the chance to run the table in coming primaries across the South on his way toward the nomination. In the end, Republican elites found that in South Carolina, they couldn't beat something with nothing.
Trump’s Rise Is Rejection of Quarter Century of Bush Republicanism
In an exclusive statement to Breitbart News, Pat Buchanan declared that Trump’s rise represents a rejection of 25 years of Bush Republicanism— an ideology which Buchanan says has destroyed America’s once-great manufacturing core, flooded the country with low-skilled workers, and drained the treasury with ill-advised foreign adventures in the Middle East.
“In the GOP nomination race, the chickens of a quarter century of Bush Republicanism have come home to roost,” Buchanan told Breitbart. “Trump’s triumphs to date are due to his recognition of, and identification with, the Middle American revolt against Bush family ideology and policy, and what it has produced.”
“America’s establishment has failed America,” Buchanan said, “The single clearest message in the presidential campaign of 2015-2016 is that the American people would like to cleanse our capital city of its ruling class.”
Buchanan, former speechwriter and White House adviser to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, is legendary amongst conservatives for his insurgent Republican presidential campaigns during the 1990s, which laid the intellectual groundwork for the conservative nation-state movement.
Buchanan has been credited with presaging the revolt which has manifested itself in the 2016 election and for correctly predicting the consequences of mass migration, ideological free trade, and military adventurism — predictions which were largely dismissed at the time he made them.
This week, Trump seemed to scandalize the collective consciousness of professional Republicans with his Saturday debate performance in which he launched a full-throated assault on Bush Republicanism. Trump repudiated all three pillars of Republican globalism: namely, military adventurism, immigration multiculturalism, and trade globalism.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who shares Bush’s goals for more global trade, more immigration, and more foreign adventurism, was quick to defend Bush’s enduring legacy during the debate. “He kept us safe, and I am forever grateful to what he did for this country,” Rubio said earnestly as he was met with uproarious applause from the GOP donor-stacked audience.
Immediately following the debate, professional Republicans, including writers at the National Review, pounced on the opportunity to once again— now more emphatically— proclaim Trump ineligible of being the Party’s nominee
Many even sought to portray Trump as a radical “truther”— a claim which seems particularly bizarre considering that Trump is the only GOP candidate to propose a pause on Muslim migration— repeatedly citing, as his reasoning for doing so, his desire to prevent future terror attacks carried out by Muslim migrants, such as 9/11.
Reports described Trump’s assault on Bush as “heretical” to Republicans. However, contrary to what the writings of professional Republicans may suggest, Buchanan explains that the Republican electorate — and the American people in general — have resoundingly rejected the Bush legacy and, more broadly, have rejected Republican globalism.
“America is rejecting the Bush immigration policy that refused to secure our border, allowed 12 million illegals to enter, then proffered amnesty because it said the United States is helpless to do anything about their presence here,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan has warned of the Balkanization that will ensue as a result of the immigration agenda of Bush Republicanism– writing in 2008 that Bush’s immigration policies “may turn this republic into a Tower of Babel.”
According to a 2009 Wall Street Journal report, under George W. Bush’s presidency, the U.S. created three million new jobs. Yet at the same time, under Bush’s presidency, 10.5 million new immigrants (legal and illegal) settled in the United States — meaning that Bush brought in three immigrants for every one job he created.
During that time, the number of working-age, native-born Americans not working exploded. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current population survey, the number of working-age Americans without a job increased by 10.6 million between the fourth quarter of 2000, right before Bush took office, compared to the fourth quarter of 2008, right before he left office.
Pew polling data shows that 92% of the Republican electorate — and 83% of the American electorate as a whole (Republicans and Democrats) — would like to see America’s immigration level frozen or slashed.
While many GOP candidates have argued that it is not possible to round up and deport 12 million people residing unlawfully in the country, Trump has distinguished himself from the field with his nation-state-focused worldview: “We either have a country or we don’t.”
Buchanan, who has not made any endorsement in the race, explained that the American people are rejecting the trade globalism of Bush Republicans that “carted off what was once the greatest manufacturing base the world had ever seen”:
Trump’s success is a repudiation of a Bush ‘free-trade’ policy that allowed China to run up $4 trillion in trade surpluses against us since George H. W. Bush took office, and to cart off what was once the greatest manufacturing base the world had ever seen. Compare Detroit and Shanghai today — to see the fruits of ‘free trade’.
Bush trade policy brought down the curtain on America’s economic independence. We now depend on foreign and sometimes hostile nations for the necessities of our national life. Indeed, the number of American manufacturing jobs decreased by 3.4 million under George W. Bush’s presidency as he continued to push for more global trade agreements and opposed efforts to crack down on illicit trading practices.
As Bush said at the time, “I believe that the entry of China… into the WTO will strengthen the global trading system and expand world economic growth.” Under President Bush, the trade deficit nearly doubled, the trade deficit with China tripled, and the national debt of the United States also nearly doubled.
Trump has distinguished himself from Bush Republicanism with his vociferous opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a pact which both Cruz and Rubio cast a vote to fast-track and have previously praised. Rubio has not retracted his prior support of TPP, whereas Cruz has straddled the line by saying he opposes “in its current form” the pact he once described as “historic” and said would “mean greater access to a billion customers for American manufacturers, farmers and ranchers.”
Buchanan continues: “Trump’s success also represents a repudiation of a reflexively interventionist foreign policy that produced the longest wars in our history, cost us 6,000 dead, 40,000 wounded, and trillions of dollars. And the price tag rises monthly. We are now mired down in five wars — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen — for what?”
“Contrast where we were when Ronald Reagan went home, with where we are, and it is easy to understand the revolutions raging in both parties, Buchanan concludes. “America’s establishment has failed America. The single clearest message in the presidential campaign of 2015-2016 is that the American people would like to cleanse our capital city of its ruling class.”
Interestingly, while Buchanan has been described as remarkably prescient, particular statements from George W. Bush may strike some as reflecting a fundamental misunderstanding of the views of the American electorate. Bush has articulated positions which seem antithetical to the “Trump phenomenon.”
For instance, in 2008 Bush said, “I’m troubled by isolationism and protectionism … (and) another ‘ism,’ and that’s nativism.” Bush doubled down on this sentiment in 2011, declaring, “If you study history, is that there are some ‘isms’ that occasionally pop up — pop up. One is isolationism and its evil twin protectionism and its evil triplet nativism.”
Ironically, these issues are arguably the central focus of the 2016 election. Trump has surged in the polls with his campaign platform that rejects the Bush “isms” of military adventurism, trade globalism, and migration multiculturalism — the latter, most emphatically, by rejecting the donor class assumption that Muslim migration is a civil right.
In perhaps just one remarkable display of Buchanan’s foresight, in 2008 the conservative thinker penned a column responding to Bush’s so-called “evil” -isms, which have now come to define the 2016 election.