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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pat Buchanan and the Neoconservatives

BookTv ran a fascinating program in which Pat Buchanan spoke about his new book, Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency. It was somewhat startling to hear him say he disagreed with the Bush foreign policy, trade policy, Iraq policy, and immigration policy yet decide to vote for him anyway because he disagreed with Kerry on everything else. I'm not quite sure what else is left (pun intended.)

Buchanan argues that free trade is destroying the industrial base of the country and that we need a return to the Hamiltonian principles of little taxation on anything except imports. He says that built and will rebuild a stronger economy in the United States. Instead, corporations are shipping jobs overseas because goods can be produced more cheaply there and American short-sightedly think on of satisfying immediate desires. The result will be a debasement of the currency (already occurring) and a lowering of the standard of living. NAFTA is good only for the elites. Why Kansas voters have consistently voted against their economic issues is one of the more interesting features of the last election. See What's the Matter with Kansas.

Some of his points resonate correctly. Others are more problematic. He argues that the courts have taken over the legislative function and that executives need to be more forceful in declaring what is and is not constitutional. The example he cites is the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision that gay marriage were constitutional. If governor, he would have simply said nonsense and overridden the decision of the court. It seems to me that would mean Nixon should have decided that executive privilege was constitutional and ignored the decision of the Supreme Court, a path to chaos. And how about ignoring the decision of the Supreme Court in the 2000 Bush election?

Buchanan gets a little flaky on the social issues, but he is articulate and well worth listening to, especially when he describes Bush as a Great Society liberal, big government advocate and Wilsonian imperialist, the antithesis of a conservative.

"Terrorism is the price you pay for empire." Pat Buchanan
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