Legendary conservative columnist and author Pat Buchanan joined SiriusXM host Alex Marlow on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily to look at President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office and consider the state of the conservative movement.
Marlow referenced a new profile of Buchanan published by Politico in which he explains that he approaches politics from the perspective of a historian. Marlow proposed that the historical ignorance of so many voters on both left and right is dangerous.
“I have to agree with you, Alex,” said Buchanan. “One thing that bothers me is really the lack of knowledge of history not only going back into the history of the country, back to its founding and what happened up in the 19th and 20th centuries, but you talk to a number of folks – even good friends and political allies, young people – and they don’t understand what you’re referring to. The examples you use, they know nothing about.”
“I think this depriving America’s young people of the knowledge of the history of their country and the political battles left and right, everything going back into the 20th century and the 19th century, I think is a real injustice to American youth because they don’t have the real ability to base what they’re saying in examples in history,” he lamented. “Most of these battles we’ve seen before.”
Buchanan said he was gratified and “astonished” that Donald Trump picked up on so many of his own key issues during the 2016 presidential campaign. He believes these issues helped propel Trump to victory, even though “everyone was writing him off as a joke.”
“I said that these issues, which we had raised in the 1990s – mainly the results of quote ‘free trade,’ globalism, also of open borders immigration, of failures to secure the borders, and also of the Bush I/Bush II interventions and wars in the Middle East – that these were going to come back to haunt the United States of America,” he said, referring to his own presidential campaigns in 1992, 1996, and 2000.
“The truth was, we raised those issues back in the nineties, and we said this is what’s going to happen: you’re going to lose half your manufacturing base in this country if you go along with NAFTA and GATT and MFN for China and these other trade policies which basically were giveaways of American industry,” he recalled.
“What Trump had going for him was he had the results of America having taken the wrong course on all of these issues. We left the borders unprotected. We enacted one after another of these trade deals to the benefit of communist China and Mexico and Japan and other countries. And of course, we plunged into one after another of these wars in the Middle East, not looking at where we were going to wind up after we put our flag over the Capitol. So Trump had the benefit of the consequences of the United States having failed to take the right course in the 1990s under Bush I and Bill Clinton,” said Buchanan.
Marlow said he was concerned that “who has the president’s ear inside the White House are not the populists and the nationalists and the conservatives that got him elected.”
Buchanan said he shared that concern.
“I do believe this, Alex: once Trump won, he was the leader of the Republican Party,” he added. “Now, there are many issues on which I remain a solid conservative Republican as I’ve always been. On the Supreme Court, for example, on the slow growth of government rather than these big programs, on belief in the private sector, and belief in cutting the corporate tax rates and making America more competitive in the world.”
“But at the same time, there are these new issues: securing America’s borders, protecting the sovereignty of the United States,” he continued. “Stop forfeiting our sovereignty and independence of action that was won for us, back 200-and-some years ago. Stop forfeiting that to some new world order and globalist decision-making. So on all these issues, I felt that you had a marriage, a potential marriage here between the Republican base, the conservative base, and the new populist-nationalist conservatives – and that these two forces together, if they stayed united, could get a tremendous amount done. We’re not going to agree on everything.”
“My concern has been that it hasn’t really come off as smoothly as one would have hoped. Quite frankly, there’s an awful lot of forces in this city of Washington, DC, where I was born and raised, that really want to cashier and dump the populist-nationalist agenda. Excuse me, but that’s the future of the world. You take a look at countries all over the world. Populism, ethno-nationalism, economic nationalism, sovereignty concerns, identity concerns – these are what is moving mankind. With all due respect, the European Union is yesterday,” Buchanan said.
Marlow invited Buchanan to define “nationalism,” one of the most contentious terms in contemporary political discourse.
“Look, all of us are American citizens, everyone here who has taken the oath of loyalty to the government of the nation of the United States. But in the world arena, it means that we look out first and foremost for the national interests of the United States of America. We are not acolytes of some ideology, some globalist ideology that dates back to Immanuel Kant and people like that, where we’re going to create some new world order and we’re going to fit ourselves into that,” Buchanan replied.
“Also that we are a country, a unique people with its own culture, with its own identity, with its own history, its own heroes, its own holidays, its own cuisine,” he continued. “We are a separate nation, a different nation from other nations, and in looking out for this, we look out for basically what is our own national family first.”
“This is why governments are formed,” he argued. “If you go back to ‘Federalist 2’ and read what John Jay wrote in there about us sharing various principles and histories and memories, that we are unique and we are separate, we’re not just citizens of the world. I reject that. The nation-state on this earth is about the highest or largest entity to which human beings can give true love and allegiance.”
Buchanan laughed heartily when Marlow noted that the mainstream media routinely denounced such views as bigotry, and those views were even more aggressively vilified during Buchanan’s national political campaigns of the nineties.
“I think we defended ourselves fairly ably,” he recalled. “We certainly got mussed up a little bit. In the ’92 campaign, for example, I came off a Crossfire television show where I articulated my views then. In 1991, ten weeks before the New Hampshire primary, we closed a 65-point gap with the President of the United States to 15 points, and it was something of a sensation then. In 1996 we won Alaska, and then we won the Louisiana caucuses, came in second to Dole in Iowa, and then we won the New Hampshire primary. I think these were successful campaigns. They were not triumphal campaigns, obviously. But we were able to make our case through the national media.”
“If you go back to when it was really the Dark Ages, I was the author of the Agnew speeches. If you read my new book, Nixon’s White House Wars, Nixon undertook a counterattack on the media when they trashed his great ‘Silent Majority’ speech in 1969. That was a great battle back in 1969, but at the end of 1969, Richard Nixon was at 68 percent approval and 19 percent disapproval. Spiro T. Agnew, whose speech in Des Moines just savaging the networks as unelected elites imposing their agenda on the nation, was the third most-admired man in America,” he noted.
“Now, if you stood up in those days and made these statements and said what you believed, you could find tremendous echoes out in America. That is what some of the new media, conservative media have discovered,” he said.
“They’ve been very successful. They’ve been created basically in recent years; I remember speaking with Mr. Murdock about Fox when he was just starting it up. These were ideas that we had back in the sixties, creating a conservative media and creating conservative institutions. It was sort of the beginning. It’s not a bad thing to be out there on the lines, in the earliest days of the cause, and then to see many of these ideas succeed,” Buchanan said happily.
As to whether he was optimistic about the future of the Trump administration, Buchanan professed he was a “historical pessimist.”
“If you go back and look at the great arc of history and Western civilization, and you see its extraordinary accomplishments, and the fact that the West once really ruled the world, and now the West itself is being colonized and invaded by folks from its former colonies who are changing the character of Western civilization, and, frankly, who disregard many of the traditions and things that we have built, it is hard to be an overall optimist,” he explained.
“But in terms of the shorter term, I was elated with Donald Trump’s election because he ran on these issues: preserving the nation, securing its borders, preserving its independence out of this new world order, getting out of all these Third World wars and the rest of it that I thought was really best for my country,” he continued.
“I think he’s really making an effort. There have been some stumbles, obviously, in the early days. But I’m delighted that I voted the way I did, that I supported him and his causes, and I wish him well,” said Buchanan.
“In the longer term, if you take a look at the demographic change taking place in Europe, as I wrote in Death of the West almost 20 years ago, there’s not a single European country that has a birthrate that is going to enable it to replace its native-born. That’s especially true on the Mediterranean coast. As these places empty out, you have new people who come from destitute countries all across the Med and from the Middle East who are going to cross the Med into Europe,” he predicted.
“I don’t see the national will there to stop this invasion. I see a lot of blue-sky talk about how wonderful it’s going to be, but let’s just say I’m not optimistic. My late friend Clare Boothe Luce once said that there are two kinds of people in this world, the optimists and the pessimists, but the pessimists are better informed,” said Buchanan.
Buchanan said he was not surprised by the campus left’s growing hostility to free speech, as manifested in riots and blocking conservative speakers from universities.
“I don’t think the future is going to be very positive in terms of relations among Americans,” he said. “I think, quite frankly, many Americans dislike and detest each other, as I’ve written many times, and really regard the ideas of their opposites as ‘neo-fascist’ and all the other names we’ve been called.”
“I think what is happened here is that an ideology, a political religion, has taken hold among America’s elites and especially among America’s young, where they regard statements and expressions of traditional conservative values and beliefs as really intolerable,” he warned. “They’re racists, they’re sexists, they’re homophobic. They shouldn’t be tolerated because they’re precursors of some sort of fascist future.”
“Therefore, we have to stamp them out, in the way folks in schools would not want people coming in and selling the idea that drugs are good for you and things. … These ideas are evil, and we should have no compunction – frankly, we should have moral certitude – about erasing these ideas because we know the horrendous things they’ve resulted in,” he said.
“So they’re doing this in quite good conscience. I think they’re fanatics, but they’re doing it in good conscience because they sincerely believe what they say about us,” Buchanan observed. “When they call us those names – what did Hillary say about us? – you know, a ‘basket of deplorables,’ racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, Islamophobes, bigots. That’s what they think about us.”
“I think you can expect, quite frankly, if people believe that about you, and they don’t want you to take power, and you’ve taken power, and you’re going to advance your ideas, then you behave the way they’re behaving. It is not unpredictable what is coming,” he said ominously.
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Listen to the full audio of the interview.