The folks at NR launched a similar effort to excommunicate conservatives in 2003, with a much-hyped cover story titled “Unpatriotic Conservatives.” Back then it was Pat Buchanan and the now-deceased Bob Novak who were the targets. Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, a dear friend, made the case that these men and others who stood against our invasion of Iraq, had “made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements.” In other words, these “disgruntled paleos,” weren’t truly conservative because they opposed the war in Iraq.
As it turned out, of course, that small band of thinkers knew more about what was in the national interest than anyone at National Review or myself, who was also a strong advocate for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“I never received an apology note,” Buchanan told me on my radio show. “They’re Davos conservatives,” he added, referencing the annual meeting of the world’s elites in Switzerland.
Whatever you think of Trump personally, his supporters are pushing for three big things:
- A return to traditional GOP law and order practices when it comes to illegal immigration.
- A return to a more traditional GOP foreign policy that would put the national interest ahead of globalism.
- A return to a more traditional GOP trade policy that would analyze trade deals from the perspective of the country as a whole and not blindly support any deal — even one negotiated by President Obama.
On each of these issues, Trump’s voters are calling for a return to policies that were GOP orthodoxy as recently as the late 1990s.
The matriarch of the conservative movement, Phyllis Schlafly, who likes but isn’t endorsing Trump, put it this way: “I’m not going to tell you that Donald Trump is perfect, or right on everything … but immigration is the top issue today, and he’s the one who made it a front-burner issue.”
By refusing to make room for these ideas within conservatism, NR risks creating the impression that the revolution brought about by George W. Bush — in particular, his belief in open borders, his effort to create a permanent U.S. military mission in the Middle East, and his notion that trade can never be regulated, no matter how unfair — is now a permanent part of conservatism that can never be questioned. They are also inviting those who disagree with Bush on those points to leave conservatism and start seeking their allies elsewhere.
This is an absolute disaster for conservatism. It is obvious by now that Bushism — however well-intentioned it may appear on paper — does not work for the average American. It is also clear that Bushism has almost no support within the rank and file of the GOP, much less within the country as a whole. Making the tenets of Bushism into an orthodoxy that conservatives cannot question will cripple conservatism for years to come.
National Review’s Manhattan-based editors brand Trump as a “menace to conservatism” and even ding him for his “outer-borough” accent. But who really is the menace — the rough-edged Queens native or the smooth-talking GOP Establishment that has brought us open borders; massive giveaway trade deals; monstrous debt; bank bailouts; and a sprawling government that never stops expanding? The failure to ruthlessly oppose and defeat such existential threats to the country — and the passivity in the face of such peril — is the real menace to the credibility of conservatism.
National Review Editor Rich Lowry and his people will be left preaching their narrow doctrine to a smaller and smaller audience.
If blue-collar Americans are told that their concerns on immigration, trade, and foreign policy cannot be addressed within the conservative movement, they will look elsewhere — just as they looked elsewhere in the late 1960s after they learned that their problems couldn’t be addressed within liberalism. National Review Editor Rich Lowry and his people will be left preaching their narrow doctrine to a smaller and smaller audience.
There is room for all voices in the GOP “big tent” — including relative newcomers like Trump, who has garnered such a following. That’s why I have an open door on my radio show to everyone from Marco Rubio to Ted Cruz. (We look forward to having Lowry on radio soon.)
Back in 2008, another populist was running for president, and ended up winning the Iowa caucuses. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who’s running again in 2016, sympathized with Trump in the NR dust-up. Recalling that the publication also took after him during his primary fight with Arizona Sen. John McCain, he said, “This is a fool-hearty effort … [by] the elitists who live in their own little bubble.”
NR is “completely out of touch … [and] represents big business, not the American people,” he added, noting NR’s support for the 5,500-page Trans-Pacific Partnership. “Out here in Iowa, they are not representative and their views are not representative.”
Of course there is ample room to criticize Trump’s approach and his lapse into sloganeering where substance is needed — as I have done on many occasions. But if NR rejects the Trump voters, it will be reversing the decision by Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, and others to welcome blue-collar voters, Democrats, and independents into the conservative fold. Whatever that means for the country, it will do major damage to conservatism. If the conservative movement devotes itself to defending the legacy of George W. Bush at all costs, it will become irrelevant to the debate over how to make things better for most Americans.
In the end, NR’s attempted hit-job on Trump won’t won’t matter much. Folks who like Trump will continue to like him. Those who don’t will feel reconfirmed in their views. One of the many reasons I loved Reagan is that he understood how important it was to grow the conservative movement.
“Conservatism,” Reagan biographer Craig Shirley said, “transcends any individual or organization, because it’s ultimately about the God-inspired belief that we are destined to be free.”
“Carterization” has a specific meaning in American politics. In 1980, Ronald Reagan delivered an August speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Chicago, just as he was starting his campaign to unseat Jimmy Carter, trapped then in the Iranian hostage crisis.
“The response from the administration in Washington” to foreign threats, said Reagan, “has been one of weakness, inconsistency, vacillation and bluff.”
“Our allies are losing confidence in us, and our adversaries no longer respect us,” he said. Our partners “are confused by the lack of a coherent, principled policy from the Carter administration.”
The characterization stuck, helped by Mr. Carter’s foreign adventures after his presidency. And in truth, Mr. Carter’s team included sterner ballast in Defense Secretary Harold Brown and National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. Nothing similar exists today in the Obama administration.
The consequences of Mr. Obama’s Carterization overseas are coming so fast it’s hard to keep track. Ukraine, though important, is the tip of the iceberg. Here’s what else happened in the week Mr. Putin captured Crimea.
-Israel on Wednesday intercepted in the Red Sea an Iranian shipment to Gaza of dozens of Syrian-made surface-to-surface rockets. These are our new Iranian negotiating partners.
–North Korea last Thursday test-fired four short-range ballistic missiles and another this Monday. Then on Tuesday it deployed a new multiple-rocket launcher that fired four missiles with enough range to hit American and South Korean military bases near Seoul.
-In Moscow last Wednesday,Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia plans to use military bases in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua for its navy and to refuel strategic bombers.
-Three months ago, Secretary Kerry ostentatiously announced in a Washington speech, “The era of the Monroe Doctrine is over.” Naturally the Russians took this as a green light to return to one of the Soviet Union’s favorite playpens. The next day, a Russian spy ship, the Viktor Leonov SSV-175, slipped unannounced into Havana Harbor.
-Then this Wednesday, a news bulletin: “China announces 12.2% increase in military budget.” That boost comes within 24 hours of the Obama budget proposing a decline in U.S. defense spending.
This is all in one week!
Ah, one more thing happened. With Ukraine, in Vladimir Putin’s word “stabilized,” Mr. Obama went to Connecticut to campaign for an increase in the federal minimum wage and from there to Boston for a Democratic fundraiser. What, me worry?
Our allies have noticed. In December, Saudi Arabia separated itself from a decades-long alliance with the U.S. to arm the Syrian opposition because the Obama administration would not. That same month Vice President Joe Biden made a trip to Asia to reassure our allies there that the U.S. “pivot” to the Pacific is real. In February Secretary Kerry went to Asia to say it all again. This is unprecedented. Until now.
Democrats spent years trying to dig out from under the Carter foreign policy image and the blame-America-first Vietnam Syndrome. Because of the Obama determination to lead from behind—which is modern Democratic foreign-policy doctrine, not just one man’s whim—they are politically vulnerable again on handling the world.
But Hillary Clinton, who has managed never to articulate anything resembling a strategic vision, may get lucky. Because opinion polls say Americans have foreign-commitment fatigue (the actual number in the oft-cited Pew poll is 52%), Republicans have gone into a defensive crouch over the U.S.’s world role. Every prominent Republican commenting on Ukraine felt obliged to disavow military action. That disavowal is dangerous. Any Republican thinking of being a successful U.S. president should read that Chicago speech.
A realistic hope for peace, Reagan said, is possible only if the U.S. maintains “the vital margin of safety.” The margin of safety wasn’t about public threats of war. It is about the marginal advantage gained when an adversary negotiating with a strong U.S. believed we might act militarily. If friends and foes conclude no one in the U.S. believes this in 2014, the margin of safety is gone.
President Obama struggled to explain today whether his health care reform proposals would force normal Americans to make sacrifices that wealthier, more powerful people — like the president himself — wouldn’t face.
The probing questions came from two skeptical neurologists during ABC News’ special on health care reform, “Questions for the President: Prescription for America,” anchored from the White House by Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson.
Dr. Orrin Devinsky, a neurologist and researcher at the New York University Langone Medical Center, said that elites often propose health care solutions that limit options for the general public, secure in the knowledge that if they or their loves ones get sick, they will be able to afford the best care available, even if it’s not provided by insurance.
Devinsky asked the president pointedly if he would be willing to promise that he wouldn’t seek such extraordinary help for his wife or daughters if they became sick and the public plan he’s proposing limited the tests or treatment they can get.
The president refused to make such a pledge, though he allowed that if “it’s my family member, if it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.[“]
It is is quite likely that you have either seen or heard about the next video. It is an Illustrated version of his famous radio expose’ on universal health care. Listen to his words carefully as you will see how closely the script was followed by liberals to hide the real socialism they were aiming for. Now watch video.
Finally, You may be asking yourself , What can I do about this anyway? The answer is plenty. Obamacare is very vulnerable and is already showing some signs of imploding. Do not be afraid to voice your opinion to your congressman on why you oppose Obamacare. Do not be afraid to explain your dissent with the Obama agenda to friends and acquaintances thoughtfully and courteously. Most of all, join me in prayer for a miracle to stop the systematic destruction of our freedoms.
Reagan’s home could become a parking lot for Obama’s library
CHICAGO, Illinois, January 25, 2013 – A new Cold War is brewing here in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood and it has nothing to do with the frigid temperature.
The apartment building at 832 E. 57th Street was once the Chicago home of a boy who would become a President.
No, it’s not Barack Obama of Hawaii. It was at the apartment’s first floor window that a young Ronald Reagan looked out upon the world.
But some powerful Chicagoans are planning to demolish Reagan’s historic home. Is it politically motivated? Is Mayor Rahm Emanuel behind the move?
It was a different world back in 1915. Reagan’s family had moved here from Tampico, Illinois. His father had gotten a job at the famed Marshall Field’s – now only a memory. A coin-operated gas lamp was the only home’s only source of heat.
But it didn’t stop a young “Dutch” Reagan from dreaming.
Young Reagan would watch the horse-drawn fire engines galloping wildly down the streets to save the day and he decided that he, too, would become a firefighter. It was here, too, that he survived a bout with pneumonia – he had the fight in him even then.
You can almost imagine him skipping down these streets, playing with his brother Neil, whose nickname was “Moon.”
What makes a man great? And what makes a great president? Historians pen large tomes about that. Every man is the sum of his experiences – his loves, his losses, his achievements, and failures. How he sees the world and how the world sees him.
And this place – this place was a part of Reagan’s formative years – what he discovered and experienced here in Chicago helped him on the way to greatness.
Now, the University of Chicago Medical Center has announced plans to turn Reagan’s Chicago home into a parking lot.
In 2012, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks denied Reagan’s home landmark status. The University of Chicago set demolition for January and the bulldozers quickly moved in. The wrecking balls are ready.
A “plaque” could mark the historic spot instead, say university representatives.
In January, Reagan’s home was granted a last minute stay of execution by the City of Chicago, at least for now. But the clock is ticking and it could be 90 days or less before demolition begins.
While the university is planning to kill Reagan’s home, University of Chicago is also aggressively lobbying to be the site of President Barack Obama’s presidential library.
Could the Reagan site become a parking lot for Obama’s library? Opponents of the demolition say yes.
There is good reason for them to be suspicious.
First Lady Michelle Obama and the president’s close adviser Valerie Jarrett are former top executives of the University of Chicago Medical Center. President Obama was a lecturer at the law school for twelve years. And let’s not forget, Obama’s Hyde Park home is here too.
This is still Chicago. Barack Obama’s Chicago. Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago.
It is safe to say that Democrats don’t want any reminders of a Republican president named Reagan and his glory days a stone’s throw from a future Obama Presidential Library.
Better to raze the building now, than later. But do they have the right to erase Ronald Reagan from Chicago history?
Only time – and that wrecking ball – will tell.
William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. He is a native from Chicago’s Southside.